Posts Tagged ‘fast fashion’
I sprinted through Zara at Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie, Ill. over the weekend – so close to an $89 buttery brown motorcycle jacket and $49 skinny green jeans, and yet, so swiftly interrupted by two little boys determined to get over to Marbles: The Brain Store.
No problem. Tomorrow, I’ll be shopping Zara.com from the couch after the boys are in bed. The Spanish fast fashion chain is launching online shopping in the U.S. on Wednesday, Sept. 7–with free delivery to all 50 states. You won’t miss a thing: Zara’s full range of women’s, men’s and children’s clothing will be available online.
If you’ve never had the chance to shop one of Zara’s 30 U.S. stores–there are 4,000 stores worldwide–you’re sure to be delighted. It’s a step up from H&M, but with similar nimbleness to transform runway looks into affordable street wear. Zara is known for quickly responding to customer demand–if red dresses are flying out of the store, expect more styles in stores within days. Zara has taken its move to online seriously–the site promises a consumer friendly shopping experience with multiple ways to search for colors, sizes, prices and more. Online returns will be free within 30 days. Here’s a peek:
A new BCBG concept, Lola, opened at Mall of America over the weekend. It’s the first storefront for this youthful fast fashion concept. Prices are extremely reasonable: $30 for a shirt dress or sweater, some tops under $10. The boutique is more manageable than competitors like Forever 21 or H&M, and more narrowly focused on cool-girl clubby trends. I’d go back for a fitted jacket, jewelry, perhaps some layering pieces, but I was disappointed not to find more BCBG-style dresses at lower price points. Then, I’m considerably older than Lola.
Print knit sheath, $38 at bby Style
BBY boutique will pop up for the first time at Southdale Center in Edina from Sept. 15-19 offering what owner Barb Dovolis describes as trend-right women’s fashions that won’t break the bank. Think Forever 21 for moms. Theses days, the youth market has ample access to the latest trends at reasonable prices, but Dovolis – a former senior buyer for Target and Marshall Field’s – believes there’s a void in the market for adult women. So expect clothes to skew more mature, but with an average price of $28. If it works, expect BBY to pop up in other locations around town. See what’s in store.
Fashion obsessed and broke, the local designers behind Rapport bags and accessories are opening a cheap chic boutique called Primp at Selby and Dale in St. Paul. They’re promising fashion forward women’s apparel under $100 – most dresses under $50. I’m there! No, doubt they’ve got their work cut out for them, competing in the fast fashion category against the likes of H&M and Forever 21 where volume keeps prices down. But I think a lot of women crave a boutique experience that doesn’t break the bank. Extra incentive for students: get 10 percent off every purchase with a student ID. Primp at 618 Selby, is scheduled to open Sept. 16.
Exclusive Uptown, Minneapolis boutique Intoto is closing after 21 years (sale details here). The economy is not to blame. Owner Karen Heithoff is 65, has five grandkids in New York and other interests to pursue on her bucket list. “It was just time,” she says. If you’re not familiar with Intoto, it’s probably because you couldn’t afford it – the store stocked luxury labels like Dries van Noten, Phillip Lim and Paul Smith and never apologized for it. “When we opened, our customer wasn’t shopping in Minneapolis – they would shop when they traveled,” Heithoff said. “We romanced those customers. They really trusted us.” Despite the coming of the Mall of America and the steady ascent of the Galleria, despite more recent high end boutique arrivals like OPM, and our more recent love affair with fast fashion from the likes of H&M and Forever 21, Heithoff believes there is room in the Twin Cities for another designer store like hers. Here are her secrets:
- Service. “We would do anything for our customers. We really became friends with them.”
- Have a point of view. “Our customers learned to appreciate our taste. We educated them. If you confuse your customers by switching directions all the time, it’s the kiss of death.”
- Don’t be ruled by the economy. If you’re a high end store, stick with it, even in tough times. “Of course it’s been challenging in the last 18 months, but if someone wants a $10 t-shirt, they can buy that elsewhere, not from me,” Heitoff said. “In our case, our customers are loyal and they continued shopping with us.” Her one concession, within the lines she stocked, she looked for a broader range of price points.
- Don’t underestimate the market. “There’s a refined fashion look in Minneapolis that could be worn anywhere. It’s very sharp.”
Anthropologie and Creative Kidstuff have some company at the slow-to-get-going new Shops at West End in St. Louis Park. Love Culture is open, and ready to give H&M and Forever 21 some competition. Did the sign on that t-shirt table really say $2.90 each??! This fast growing, fast fashion chain was founded just two years ago in Los Angeles and now boasts 23 stores in 11 states. West End is Minnesota's first. The store is big and bright with lots of trendy temptations for less than $50 – heck, many less than $30 – like buckle ankle boots, sweater dresses, long tops, leggings and plenty of basics and accessories. Just be sure to try things on: the return policy is not-so-friendly and some items, like the $35 boots, are final sale – even at regular price. Still, great to have a new player in town!