The New York City department store scene is in the midst of tumultuous times—just look at the recent bankruptcy filing from the iconic Barneys, not to mention the closing of Henri Bendel. But it’s getting a major boost this fall thanks to the arrival of a long-awaited player: Nordstrom.
Ahead of the store’s Oct. 24 opening, Nordstrom is dropping a new campaign that’s all about the city called “An Open Mind Is the Best Look.” Shot by Gus Powell and with a concept created by Joel Meyerowitz, the campaign showcases male and female models alongside ordinary New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds around the city—all clad in clothes you can find at Nordstrom, naturally.
Olivia Kim, vice president of creative projects at Nordstrom who led the campaign, said that with the store opening just as the weather will be starting to change, setting Nordstrom’s annual fall fashion campaign in New York City was a no-brainer.
“We wanted to use this campaign as a way to say hello to New York and be really excited about the spirit of New York,” Kim said. “It’s the most energetic, amazing, incredible city in the world. To be able to celebrate all the highs and lows of a city is really important for us.”
The campaign takes on a street-style vibe, with the models strolling around Manhattan including down Broadway, the avenue that Nordstrom’s new store will call home. Kim wanted to capture the “democratic” nature of the city by mixing models and “everyday people” in the shots, to give the campaign an overall feeling of “warmness and an approachability.”
“What I love about New York is there are these amazing, magical moments that happen every single day in the click of a camera flash, and we’ve done a really good job of trying to capture that,” she said.
That same inviting feeling is what she hopes people get when entering Nordstrom. Kim believes quality is especially important in New York, where Nordstrom is joining a crowded field of department stores—one where even the most established of brands isn’t safe.
“That more lifestyle approach to what [fashion] is, in this warm, inviting environment, feels really different than the way some of the more established department stores in New York are,” Kim said, pointing to Nordstrom’s product assortment—a blend of high fashion designers as well as more affordable everyday pieces—as a differentiator.
Despite the store being based across the country in Seattle, she said the Nordstrom product offerings feel reflective of New York City, an epicenter of all fashion no matter its price point.
New York has long been without the Pacific Northwest’s premium fashion retailer until earlier this year, when Nordstrom opened a men’s-only store near Columbus Circle in April. The women’s store, however, is Nordstrom’s major NYC project: more than 300,000 square feet across the street from the already-open men’s store, complete with multiple restaurants and coffee shops. It’s Nordstrom’s biggest-ever investment in a single project, according to CNBC.
“We’ve been wanting to open up a store in New York for a very long time; we’ve just been waiting for the right time and the right location,” Kim said. “This campaign in particular highlights what we do: It represents the high-low of fashion, it represents super high-end designer brands as well as more wearable mainstay brands, and I think that is a unique proposition for New York.”
She added: “We’re bringing a little bit of the Pacific Northwest to New York, which I think is really interesting.”