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What’s Old is New Again – NikeLab Chicago Re-Creation Store Opens

In good company, Nike and creative genius Virgil Abloh recently opened the Re-Creation pop-up in Chicago as a destination for sustainability, workshops, give back programs, product exclusives and local influencers. The store goes well beyond traditional retail and shows the true meaning of redefining the retail experience.   The focus on community engagement and sustainability is unique and goes to show where the future of retail is headed:  Stores are still relevant, product may be less relevant, and experience is everything.

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Less than half of the store space is used for retail, and what makes it unique is the Mentorship and Reuse-a-Shoe programs.   The Mentorship Program brings in design students, hand-picked by Abloh for an eight-week experience where they work alongside other Nike creatives and local artist/mentors. Mentors include an impressive list of local artists like Chuck Anderson for Graphic Design, Paul Octavious for Photography, Thomas Kelley and Carrie Norman for Brand Identity and Ann Lui and Craig Reschke for Architecture expertise.

The Reuse-a-Shoe, known here as “Nike Grind” transforms worn-out athletic footwear contributed by customers.  Nike Grind is Nike’s sustainability program that has been around for over two decades and is used to create new facilities. This time around, the shoes will be used to build a basketball court in the local community in advance of the NBA All-Star game hosted in Chicago next year.

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Sustainability is becoming a more prioritized component of retailer transparency among consumers worldwide. According to the 2019 Global Consumer Report we published in conjunction with Ebeltoft Group, sustainability, and social responsibility are becoming top of mind, forcing brands and retailers to practice and communicate responsibility through the entire value chain. The report noted that a staggering 84% of consumers across 14 key international markets feel it is important that brands and retailers care about sustainability and offer services like recycling and re-use.  More than 4 in 5 of the 13,000 consumers surveyed also agree it is important that retailers and brands employ social responsibility initiatives.  Nike has taken note. How are you integrating sustainable practices into the retail experience?

The Nike Re-Creation pop-up is open until July 28th at 673 N. Michigan right next to the Nike Flagship store.

Download a copy of the Global Consumer Report here.

Alex Timion

Alex leads McMillanDoolittle’s global communications work and is the primary point of contact for Ebeltoft Group, McMillanDoolittle’s international partnership with over two dozen retail consulting member firms around the world. In this capacity, Alex coordinates collaborative project work, assists with original global studies, runs point on Ebeltoft Group’s annual publication Retail Innovations, and provides comprehensive event planning assistance for bi-annual international conferences. As a Senior Associate, Alex provides planning and presentation support for the company’s retail focused study tours and speaking engagements, including NRF’s Big Show.

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