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Thursday 22 October 2015

Happy Birthday Re:So!

Re:So has just celebrated its first anniversary at its latest site and we thought it would be an ideal time to shout about all the great things it has achieved and let you in on the exciting plans for its future.

Launched in 2012, Re:So is the first fully student-operated retail initiative in a UK shopping centre. For those bored with the high street, it sells a unique mix of fashion, accessories, publications, furniture and art produced by the University’s creative students and graduates.

This brief history of Re:So showcases the project from the very beginning, when it started life as an experimental pop-up project. Sheer dedication and passion has made it what it is today – a place where students are provided with important stepping-stones to help them towards their career goals.

A photo of the Re:So team in its first location when it was launched in 2012.

The beginning

October 2012

Southampton Solent University entered the retail world by creating their first ever creative pop-up store. The store, with its interior of urban brickwork and decaying elegance, was where the magic began.

The key aim was to provide an embedded enterprise experimentation zone, a new way for students to learn in an environment that seamlessly blended retail and education. The increasing success of the project demonstrates the value of curriculum-based student engagement, as well as active involvement in a creative and retail enterprise.

“I’m really excited to showcase my brand in Southampton. It’s an amazing opportunity for the students of Solent University to be able to gain experience in a very difficult industry and for graduates to expose their brands to a wider audience.” – Gemma Aspland, BA (Hons) Fashion Promotion graduate.

So far approximately 850 students have worked alongside, for or within Re:So.

A temporary home

October 2013

The change in location to the Loft Ladder allowed Re:So to reach new heights. The move made the project more accessible to the general public; while always remaining in the hands of the student and staff team from Solent. The team were now even more determined to develop a bigger and better Re:So and set about working with the Marlands to find a bigger space in which to develop and expand the professional retail and creative enterprise model.

A bite of the apple

May 2013

Re:So received its first award – the BSCS Purple Apple Merit Community Marketing Award 2013. The BCSC Purple Apple Marketing Awards are the only awards which identify and reward effective shopping and town centre marketing within the UK retail property sector.

Photo from the opening of Re:So’s current retail space, located on the second floor of the Marlands shopping centre.

Bigger store, bigger opportunities…

October 2014

There was a great buzz surrounding Re:So when the doors opened to the new store, located in the Marlands shopping centre, in October 2014. There is a contemporary urban industrial feel to the shop floor and a gallery and learning space upstairs – available for use by Solent staff, students and local businesses. It aims to develop a more sustainable brand by offering more retail space for student suppliers, and closer industry and community collaborations.

 “Re:So is great! It’s the thing that’s missing from higher education. This kind of format is perfect. I can see how useful this is for students to learn commercial skills first hand – Excellent!!”  – Rob Drake-Knight, Co-Founder of Rapanui

More awards

September 2015

Lisa Mann, Principal Lecturer and founder of Re:So won a Higher Education National Enterprise Educator award at the 2015 National Enterprise Education Educator Awards (NEEA).

Re:So celebrated its first anniversary in its newest location in October 2015.

What next?

Re:So’s is set to become the first ever stockists of a range of products produced by a charity funded women’s group in Nepal in November 2015.

This year is seeing the development of a Re:So Creative Academy, allowing a younger generation to try their hand at becoming ‘mini-preneurs’.

Re:So is working with local and national businesses to develop breakfast clubs, networking events and pop-up opportunities, ensuring students learn by example and network with professionals while at university.

The introduction of an industry liaison panel will provide opportunities to gain industry insights, feedback and support for the project.

Re:So road trip

During December 2015, the Re:So team will be travelling to Birmingham, representing student products at The Clothes Show Live. Following that will come ‘Re:So on Tour’, with the team producing pop-up stores in cities such as London, Manchester and Bristol, promoting the creative work of Solent students and graduates.

Information compiled by:
Emma McGlade Level 6 – Fashion Management with Marketing
Lily Fitzgerald Level 6 – Fashion Promotion & Communications

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