Pop-Ups: Why Are They So Pop-ular?

To be honest, when I first heard of pop-up stores, I thought the idea was completely silly. What was the purpose of a store that would only be around for a few months max? But based on the slew of pop-up stores appearing left and right, it seems that there is a certain appeal about them.

For retailers, the advantages could lie in the cost. Especially for up-and-coming brands, it could be more economically advantageous to rent out a small space for a short amount of time rather than invest in a traditional brick and mortar store. Additionally, pop-up stores have shown to be incredibly effective. For instance, Nike hosted a pop-up event in Paris which resulted in them selling out their Air Max 270 colorways. Even well-known companies, such as Louis Vuitton, Google, and Stüssy have followed suit in setting up pop-up stores, indicating that perhaps the stores of the future may have a lot in common with the pop-up stores of today.

But what exactly is the appeal of pop-ups to customers? Is it the Instagrammable aesthetic of these pop-ups? Is it the fact that we think we’re going to see some new and exciting product? For me, merely a cool Instagram picture would not be enough to go to a pop-up store. It is not the new shoes or clothes that excite me about pop-up stores. Rather, it is the uniqueness of items in the pop-up store, matched with a highly Instagrammable experience that makes the pop-up exciting.

I associate fashion with self-expression, thus also my identity. As a result, I desire clothing that uniquely tells my story. In this world of mass production, that is often hard to find, but pop-ups offer us an alternative. Because of their exclusive nature, in that they only open a certain number of stores with several items, we can find pieces that have a much lower chance of becoming extremely common. I feel that on some level this desire for uniqueness is largely what drives the success of pop-up stores. They offer us a venue: a fun, Instagrammable venue to explore, to enter the world of the pop-up, and hopefully, discover a little bit about ourselves.