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Invented by Thomas Burberry in 1879 for sportsmen, the water-resistent, tightly woven Egyptian cotton fabric was worn not only by society’s elite, but explorers all over the world. Sir Ernest Shackleton wore Burberry gabardine during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition between 1914 and 1917. Gabardine is described as an ideal weatherproof fabric for coats, which led to the making of the infamous Burberry trench.
The unique activation on Jeju captures the essence of gabardine. It was recently redeveloped to be woven in a compact twill with an increased lightweight hand. A new range offers an outerwear collection including the latest trench style and puffer jackets for curious explorers, emphasising that these pieces suit any continent, rain, hail, or shine. Additional items include T-shirts, skirts, and trousers.
Inside, Imagined Landscape is an entirely curated experience that incorporates multiple spaces, blending the physical and digital realms. As people meander through, they are surrounded by cinematic films from French digital artist Maotik, artist and coder Cao Yuxi, and Lia Jiayu. The films are displayed on interactive screens celebrating nature.
Imagined Landscape offers a social media experience in partnership with TikTok, featuring everything from large interactive screens to smartphone apps. Visitors scan a TikTok QR code to activate an augmented-reality lens, creating a scene filled with sharks across the sky. But the site inspires consumers to embrace the outdoors as well. Visitors can access a viewing platform on top of the sculpture, taking in Jeju Island’s beautiful surroundings and the majestic Hallasan mountain.
The practice of extending a brand’s identity and characteristics to spaces and places goes deeper than positioning a logo on a wall and incorporating furniture in the brand’s colour scheme. It’s the art of designing an immersive experience encapsulating a brand’s essence.
Imagined Landscape is a stunning example. The structure is inspired by a topographic map, there are physical and digital touchpoints for connection, and visitors can peruse the full collection in the temporary retail space.
A stone’s throw from the pop-up is a luxe cafe aptly named Thomas’s, where visitors can either start or finish their Imagined Landscape experience. Patrons choose from an assortment of locally inspired treats amidst subtle brand references, such as the ‘TB’ initials dusted on top of a latte and the Burberry-branded tableware. “The cafe’s design reflects our house codes, with a light beige colour scheme and Burberry animal kingdom motifs throughout,” Burberry states.
Burberry successfully traverses new ground that switches between real and unreal. The endeavour proves the heritage brand can sustain technological disruption while working to make a positive impact on the environment, communities, and people. Seems almost a completely different brand, compared with a few years ago.
From burning unsold stock to saving the planet
In 2018, Burberry made global headlines for burning unsold stock. The luxury house quickly made a public statement announcing it would focus on expanding its existing efforts to “reuse, repair, donate or recycle unsaleable products”. Soon after, Burberry pledged to become climate positive by 2040, stating that it believes “luxury and sustainability go hand in hand”.
After great failures, even greater improvements can be made. Imagined Landscape is an attempt to do just that. Burberry has shared news of a five-year partnership with the non-profit Jeju Olle Foundation. The heritage brand confirms that it “will invest in maintaining the island’s scenic trails to allow continued and safe access for the public while supporting waste elimination programs to help preserve the island’s natural beauty”.
Burberry also stated that “this immersive experience will be certified carbon neutral in line with our commitment to reducing the environmental impacts of our presentations”.
Imagined Landscape seems like a huge endeavour for a luxury brand, similar to the effort put into major Fashion Week events. However, this is retail in the 21st century. Experiences must be holistic, multi-sensory, memorable, and sustainable. It’s a constant effort to capture people’s attention.