The ultimate sneaker and sportswear destination across Italy and Spain has opened a flagship store in Singapore for its first ever debut in Asia earlier last month in November.

Perched in Suntec City mall, the multi-label spans across a whopping 2,630 square feet, carrying a wide assortment of popular sneakers from brands like Nike, Adidas and Diadora and fast-selling models from limited edition collections which need no introduction. These include the ones from the Fenty x Puma collaboration and Kanye West’s Yeezy Boost by Adidas.

 
 

Having hit the ground running back in 1997 as a brick-and-mortar store under the name Athletes World, the multi-label sneaker retailer from Italy rebranded to ‘AW Lab’ in 2011 before rapidly expanded to over 200 stores opening across major Italian cities within a span of three years.

Such dynamic, fast-paced growth in the market has to be commended. AW Lab has crafted a name for itself as a formidable leading retailer when it comes to trendy sneakers and athleisure clothing. We’re not surprised — the retailer has its marketing strategies down to a tee.

According to Mr Giuseppe Nisi (Head of Asia, AW Lab), AW Lab positions itself as a notch above the rest with placing its consumers at the core of its focus.

“Millenials are our main target consumer, [with about] 90% of our focus [channelled unto] them,” said Giuseppe.

 
 

All sneakers and products carried by the brand has been culled with millennials, as well as the teenagers of Generation Z, in mind. You can also expect to find exclusive collaborations and colourways that are unique only to AW LAB in stores. Referred to as “special makeups” by Giuseppe, these exclusive sneakers and apparels will be designed in collaboration with big name brands such as Adidas, Superga, Nike, and PUMA according to the brand’s predicted trends of the season. Encapsulating both AW Lab and the collaborator’s DNA, the special makeups offer customers “the best silhouette of the season with a touch of fashion styling”.

 

Photo: Giuseppe Nisi posing with AW Lab’s special makeup collaborations with Puma.

It’s clear to see what he meant. In stores, Fenty x Puma’s iconic creepers can be seen fashioned in a stylish black velvet iteration with gold specks of glitter while your classic Adidas Superstars get glammed up in feminine rose gold stripes — AW Lab is simply tweaking our classic favourites with chic details that’ll seamlessly gel with the season’s biggest fashion trends.

Not only that, you can also expect new arrivals every single week. And just like its stores in Europe, the AW Lab store in Singapore will switch up its key collections of special makeups every month. Talk about fast fashion.

The way Giuseppe sees it, establishing a presence in Singapore is crucial to the AW Lab business.

“Singapore is a strategic destination, we consider it as a ‘gateway’ to the Southeast Asian market. Many of the main brands (such as Nike, Adidas, etc) have headquarters in Southeast Asia, and in order to improve our collaboration with them, we need to be here and closer to them to develop something interesting.”

Recognising the opportunity to expand its outreach to consumers with highly trained service staff, Giuseppe assented to the cardinal importance of training the staff here in AW Lab Singapore by flying them over to Europe for training.

“Communication with our consumers [is important]. We want to create an engagement with the consumer; we want to treat them like our friends. In Europe, we are recognised as one of the best shopping experience because of our service staff, and we want to do the same in Singapore.”

By planning large scale marketing activities and events in collaboration with youth-centric organisations such as Zouk, AW Lab also aims to engage their consumers beyond the peripheries of its store.

 

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Speaking to us about an imminent launch of AW Lab’s e-commerce in Singapore circa May 2018, Giuseppe said: “We did so much research. It’s clear that millennials prefer to shop in a physical store — the shopping experience you can have in a physical store is completely different from shopping online. We want to operate in a big space to give our consumers (60% being women) the ideal shopping experience with a variety of assortment. But, it’s also real important for us to have a 360° shopping experience; the journey the customer has to [go through], starting from [browsing] online to coming into stores. We’re building an omnichannel experience.”

The online store will carry all the AW LAB products available in-store as well as some online exclusives.

One of the ventures he’s excited to embark on with respect to the AW Lab business?

Expanding its business by opening more brick-and-mortar stores in Malaysia and Thailand.

Giuseppe also teased at AW Lab’s plans to open more stores in Singapore in 2018. “Maybe one… two, three more [stores]? It depends, who knows?”

We certainly won’t shake our heads at the idea of having more AW Lab stores in Singapore. All our favourite big name brands and sneakers in one place? Our inner sneakerheads cannot be contained.

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