March 5, 2020 /Trend

Retail For Resilience

This month, The New Scientist explored the concepts of ‘cool minds’ describing stress as a “psychological response to that allows us to quickly adapt to the world around us”. A chemical reaction. The article continues “If alarm bells ring, a distress signal is sent to the hypothalamus – a small nodule near the base of the brain – which activates two major pathways.” One releases adrenaline, aka our fight or flight mode, the other controls the release of hormones such as cortisol. Our ability to recover from this state of shock or distress is called ‘resilience’

“In 2018, the largest known study of stress levels in the UK showed that three-quarters of people had been so stressed in the past year that they had felt unable to cope.”

The New Scientist

Whilst the news hones in on singular events, economist and founder of Our World in Data, Max Roser, believes that “We live in a much more peaceful and inclusive world than our ancestors of the past.” In a world where war deaths are rapidly declining, suicide rates are rising. In the last few years, we have seen brands step up and react to medical, environmental, social and mental health issues. The next brand target?


We look at how fashion, tech, beauty and retail are working together to teach consumers about resilience.


The greatest levels of creativity come out of a reaction to hard times. Alongside colourful garments injecting joy into our environment as they are worn around the streets and into our offices, the fashion world is taking on the fast and wasteful mindset the industry and therefore the consumer has been forced to keep up with. With a ‘make do and mend’ mindset, stylists are looking at ways to reuse, upcycle and make things multi-functional. As colours and slogans cater to our mindsets, fabrics also become more resilient.

We spoke to fashion designer Maria Grachvogel whose atelier on South Molton Street is close to our London office “Fashion is necessary to our lives, not only to clothe us and keep us warm but as an expression of our identity and who we are. I believe fashion is there to inspire and empower us and therefore my responsibility as a designer is to create truly beautiful pieces that a woman will treasure because they make her feel amazing. 

As fashion has sped up, the price of clothes has stayed low compared to other goods and with that, both quality and love for the pieces we are buying has eroded. We are now beginning to look at fashion with a new lens, understanding that us, the consumer, has the power to change this. We are learning to value how a garment is made from start to finish and appreciate clothing again in a new way. As people are learning to find the joy again in what they buy, we are buying less, but more consciously, repairing more and wearing it for longer.


Last week we hosted Doollaly, a new platform to improve mental fitness, in our London office. Doolally, created by a Dr and a designer, is a proactive and rounded approach compared to other mental wellbeing platforms. They are less about introspection, more about proactive measures. The Resilience Institute has created The Resilience App to help organisations understand strengths and risks with enabling high performance.

Headspace was created by a former Buddhist monk, Andy Puddicomb, to help train your brain in 10 minutes a day. Building in everyday routines that help foster resilience, tech like Headspace, can help transform daily motivations and reframe mindsets to encourage long-term wellness.


Pollution, diet, stress and anxiety can all present themselves on the surface of our skin. Blemishes, rashes or an increase in skin sensitivity are all reactions that can feed-back into the cause.

‘Nearly 40% of UK adults agree that the impact of modern life makes it harder to have healthy skin’

according to an E45 report in 2018

The beauty industry has responded with one word, ‘calm’. Brands like Kalmar are supporting physical and emotional relief, others are normalising skin sensitivity. Centella Asiatica, CBD and mushrooms are all being used in skincare whilst brands reformulate typically agitating products such as makeup and providing more personalised service to their consumers.


The retail space poses a new opportunity to help people cope with burnout and build resilience. The experience-economy has driven brands to create physical spaces that aid consumers in tackling everyday stressors.

Holistic-help hubs like Reset NYC take a sleek approach to help personal growth and fitness brands like Nike and Lululemon are creating spaces that unite wellness and community. The DO Lectures and The School of Life is hosting classes are teaching skills required to handle failure and overcome perfectionist culture. With eight in 10 Americans unable to get through all they want to do each day, proactive brands are helping people to reclaim valuable headspace, redirecting responsibilities and handing over decision-making to bolster wellbeing in both the physical and digital realms.

People are rethinking the way they perceive conversations surrounding mental health, enabling themselves to open up and encourage others to do the same. Kindness is the new cool. This doesn’t indicate that the world is getting sadder, it indicates that we are becoming more open to acceptance. Acceptance is closely being followed by resilience.