Electronic Thesis/Dissertation

 

Creating Online Space for Offline Brands: A Warby Parker Retail Store in Washington, DC Open Access

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Online-only retailers have begun to experiment with physical locations, due to the fact that there are certain items that customers will always want to touch, feel, and try-on. This cannot be replicated online. This creates new obligations of space for the brands that were initially conceived to occupy virtual space only. These companies have discovered that physicalretail stores, showrooms, and pop-ups are where every dimension of their brand comes alive. Such is the case for Warby Parker, an eyewear company that was launched online in 2010. By subverting traditional channels, Warby Parker sells their vintage-inspired frames for a fraction of typical designer costs, prescription lenses included. They've seen tremendoussuccess in their two years of existence and have become a highly disruptive brand. This thesis will explore the ways in which brands like Warby Parker can and do manifest physically. It draws connections between the act of wearing a pair of Warby Parker's vintageinspired frames and theatrical performance, and exploits and distorts the traditional program of a theater space to create a totally new kind of retail experience for Warby Parker customers.

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