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SOUNDS OF SILENCE: Selfridges is stepping quietly into the New Year with "No Noise," an initiative aimed at getting frazzled shoppers — and the general public — to slow down, breathe deeply, and sit still. Today, the store on Oxford Street opened The Silence Room, a dimly-lit carpeted studio with soundproofed walls and benches where anyone can sit and meditate during store opening hours. Guests have to take off their shoes — and leave their mobiles in lockers — before entering the space, which is on the store's lower ground floor.
"We're all suffering from overload, and we wanted to offer up a slice of silence as an experiment, but we didn't want to do it in a heavy-handed way," said Alannah Weston, the store's creative director told WWD. She said she's expecting a variety of people to stop by the space: "Shoppers who want a bit of peace, and people coming in to pray or meditate. We're asking people to take off their shoes — which is not a very English thing — and put away their phones, so it will be interesting to see how they will react to that. I am hoping it will help us all slow down a little bit and refresh us all — it's the right time the year to do it," she said.
Selfridges has also dotted private meditation "pods" throughout the store — including the staff canteen — where people can sit and take part in a guided, 10-minute meditation session wearing headphones. Meanwhile, on the store's ground floor, Selfridges has opened the Quiet Shop, which is stocked with famous products that have been stripped of their branded packaging. Products on offer Creme de la Mer face cream, Levi's jeans, pots of Vaseline and Muji face masks. The store has also done a special edit of unadorned pieces from the spring ready-to-wear collections of brands including Raoul, Maison Martin Margiela, Yohji Yamamoto, Jil Sander and Ann Demeulemeester, which sit alongside the de-branded products.