Wherein Zara Wins

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by Leandra Medine
August 6, 2013
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Is the real luxury of shopping in Zara?

From a distance, it’s somewhat difficult to ascertain the difference between that flared denim skirt in slideshow image #2 vs. that of say, the imminent denim Balmain skirt sure to drop any moment now. (Notable, of course, is it that the Zara rendition will likely cost half the tax of the Balmain version). Consequently, too, I find myself wondering if the pale coat (slideshow image #7) cloaking a white, mid-length skirt, complimented by heavy black boots could have been Rochas in a different life. Or maybe it was Givenchy? That closing black jumpsuit probably is still Stella McCartney according to some factories, and is it just me, or has Rosie Assoulin already been bequeathed the highest form of compliment in the shape of that white cropped long sleeve blouse in image #6?

I don’t want to support intellectual property theft, but Zara just makes it so damn easy. In the case of this hard-hitting ceaseless series of identity crises, sometimes the fast fashion chain does it even better than its bountiful assemblage of unwitting advisers. But then, the clothes never look quite as good in store as they do online. Is it just me, or has the integration of ecommerce slightly bastardized what can be best described as Zara’s “cheap thrills experience”?

If I didn’t know that this denim mini skirt might sit a little lower, wider, or fall a little less graciously than its high-touch inspiration, I probably wouldn’t care. It’s still close enough. If I didn’t conjure up a dream fabric for that pink coat or white turtleneck (I’m mentally feeling Loro Piana cashmere), the reality of their materials wouldn’t have affected me at all. They still do the job they need to, don’t they? And yet, I find myself somewhat reluctant to take the bait. It’s a case of meta-label-blindness wherein you’re so blinded by the emulated label, you can’t even discern whether you like the object you’re looking at. You think you do, and sometimes that’s enough. But what happens a month later? Does it even matter?

Several shopping-related and self-doubt fostered experiences can unfold when you shop at Zara.

You may find that you’ll wear the item you’ve purchased so many times post initial inception that three weeks later, you can’t even look at it anymore. Or maybe you’ll buy an item that you think you’ll wear so many times, it will yield the same result as the last one but becomes convoluted by your having seen the new garment in question on everyone else, so even though you’ve only worn it, lets say, two or three times, you still find yourself sick of it three weeks later.

Or maybe you’ll buy something you like, shelve it, and three, four, fives week later find that you haven’t worn it all. You may feel defeated and at a slight deficit but if you give it enough time (I’m talking months, maybe years), you may become re-enchanted by what’s at hand. This is when you can start the wearing/getting-sick-of process. That’s kind of an inevitable condition.

The thing is, any of these scenarios are palatable simply because Zara provides the fiscal buffer to allow some wiggle room for us to change our minds through the course of proprietorship. The real question is in what happens when you opt into the “higher fashion,” designer versions of these particular items that assume a larger sense of irrevocable commitment?

If choice is a luxury and Zara purports a sense of choice, is the real luxury in shopping fast fashion?

REPLIES
  • andrieya

    Just this weekend i saw FOUR people wearing the skort in the first slide. and THAT’S the turnoff for a store like that.

    • Karen Chou

      Yeah unfortunately I also tried that skort on and it did NOT look as good on the model as it did me so luckily I didn’t buy it.

      • andrieya

        well i’m glad you weren’t the FIFTH person wearing it! :)

      • marinacasapu

        I don’t like the skort either. It visually shortens the legs. One needs to have a long pair of legs to rock them. Am I the only one who thinks so?

  • Molly Oberstar

    Genius.

  • Susy

    Unfortunately not all of us are born with trustfunds. Hence the choice is not a choice, it’s the only way to get access to fashion forward clothes.

    • Meh

      That seems like a really bitter comment in response to a really thoughtful piece

      • Catita

        not sure what is so thoughtful about this except that designer pieces fit better and Zara’s copies although a bargain will be forgotten in the closet…nothing new here and Susy is right, I mean if I could splurge on clothes, of course Zara would seem uninteresting compared to all the designer clothes…
        Either way, I am more into smaller design houses such as Sandro or Maje, different than what everyone wears but more or less affordable (well compared to designer pieces)!

        • Leandra Medine

          Zara riffs off of those guys too, though!

          • Cat

            Abso-fucking-lutely. Last fall in a trip to Europe, I decided my “investment” piece of the season would be this beautifully made Sandro jacket: Navy wool, buttery black leather, a detachable fur collar, kind of moto style… Perfect. I spent a significant portion of my year’s savings on it. I’m a grad student (read: broke) and I basically save every last penny I can to spend on nice clothes.

            Well, to my dismay, a rack full of my-sandro-jackets was staring back at me on my next Zara visit (minus the fur collar). Guys, it was not “inspired” or “riffing” on my jacket. It was EXACTLY, down to every last button/zipper placement, the same coat. Of course I don’t like my coat any less. Upon close inspection, it was obvious that mine was better made, and the materials just feel better. But I definitely felt cheated out of something that day, though I haven’t thought about it enough since to explain exactly what.

          • Katja

            Sandro and Maje are slowly (or even quickly) becoming just as commonplace as the rest of the mass market, quick fashion brands. Perhaps not so in US yet because they are fairly new and expensive there but in Europe (UK and France) the stores’ looks are also becoming easily reogniseable on people around me. Also, not sure why no one has mentioned that some of Sandro’s and Maje’s pieces have started to feel like Zara quality-wise in the last two years but sadly prices remain. The choice now is, to pay 175GBP in Sandro or 45GBP in Zara for a 100% atrocious polyester blouse! Actually if you kind of squint, you wouldn’t be able to tell anymore between a Marant collection, a Maje or a Zara – and that’s a bit of a sad state in fashion. Yes there is choice, but it’s a small one if you consider the looks are all the same.

          • Cat

            I am quite sad to hear of a quality decline in Sandro :( I live in Canada where those brands are rare enough, and I really like to pick up a piece or two when I travel. The few pieces I own from Sandro have been of excellent quality AND materials, and look like they will definitely stand the test of time. I only own 1 Maje top and I have to say I was disappointed with the quality of that one. Anyways, I was in the Sandro store in Brussels this summer and I don’t think I saw a single piece of clothing made of polyester there though…

          • john

            i dont see what’s wrong with me for wanting to buy something at zara that costs $50 instead of being a broke person spending half of my year’s salary on an article of clothing. you can’t take it with you.

        • G.

          Zara teaches to all of these people who think Maje and Sandro are design houses what to look for on these “exclusives boutiques”

          Viva ZARA!

        • Ana

          Forgotten in the closet? Where are YSL arty rings? (they were a plague worse than the Zara skort). Fluor satchels? Furla Candy bags? I love the beautiful, nice leather bags I bought in Zara, Massimo Dutti and Su-Shi. I feel they´re way more unique than trophy-bags.

    • Leandra Medine

      Hey Susy. Fair enough–though I’m positive that those with trust funds are not the only people who have access to high fashion clothes–especially in the age of The Outnet, Yoox and so fort. Either way, though, there is still an element of choice at play. You’re deciding to participate vs. not.

      • Salma Matin

        Leandra, are you kidding me? You cannot be that out of touch with how “the other half live.” Even The Outnet, Yoox, and so *forth* are out of reach for many, many people. “Either way, though, there is still an element of choice at play. You’re deciding to participate vs. not.” Yeah, said like a true-and-true trust fund baby. There is no decision when you are faced with your socio-economic bracket and even as you are working your way up to enjoy certain luxuries, tis still a tough life. Many of us do not have the opportunities or buffer afforded to us by the wealth of our parents, which is crucial to increased success and eventually your purchasing potential. Do you think you would still be as successful as you are if you did not have at your disposal a certain “class” of persons to propel your career. And your interviews are fickle with regards to information. It’s now, “Oh and a few days later refinery29.com picked up my blog,” and in other interviews you disclose, “I had a FRIEND working at refinery29.” And I say this as a fan of your writing, but to be completely devoid of realities that are faced by many others is your privilege and I won’t knock you for it. I will knock you for it when you do not recognize it. Furthermore, would your younger brother have it so easy peasy with the now often advertised “Khai Khai” on your website if your father had not been a very successful, money makin’ jeweler? So, seriously give me a fucking break and go hang out with the real rugrats of the UES/LES who are trying to make it. Realize you have it good, real good, and that’s great. But when you say some ridiculous shit as you did above, that’s some bullshit and you alienate A LOT of your readers. I have grown increasingly dissatisfied with your blog because I feel alienated. But that’s my problem, not yours.

        Signed,
        No longer a fan

      • Salma Matin

        The universal truth is we all wanna live well. You wanna live like me for a day? That’s not a choice, love. It’s called life.

      • Charlie

        Most Americans can’t even afford Zara, let alone The Outnet. Let’s not kid ourselves, these clothes are only cheap to people who are upper middle class or above. For someone lower-middle-class, a pair of Zara pants (on clearance) may be one of their only purchases of the season so it’s too bad that these things become unwearable after one or two washes. For people who can afford more expensive clothes it’s a choice, but people without money don’t have a lot of choices.

        • Salma Matin

          Ditto, Charlie.

          I wish she would actually respond to these thoughts. Kinda infuriating she hasn’t already. She can take her UES upbringing and shove it. I’m over this blog.

          • Leandra Medine

            Hey Salma–and Charlie. I appreciate that both of you are engaging in the conversation and am sorry that I don’t have a good enough answer to respond in the wake of this comment but j want to make the distinction that I am NOT referencing Zara clothes as cheap. I absolutely find the ability to indulge an absolute luxury and if that was misrepresented, I apologize.

          • Janet

            I am SO glad we are having this discussion! I read just a few choice fashion blogs, and class NEVER comes up. It needs to. Fashion is as much about money and power as it is art and fantasy.

            Granted, talking about class is painful in America. Class privilege, structural economic inequities, systemic economic injustices, these are threatening topics for most Americans. The fact that these realities intersect with long-term structural racial and gender injustice makes it all the more painful.

            I don’t know ANYONE who buys something without thinking through the price; fashion is tied to economics, period. And, at least in America, discussing personal finances is often taboo. Discussing structural economic disparities is even more taboo. It strikes at the heart of “the American dream”. The dream is that if each one of us JUST WORKS HARD ENOUGH, we can have it all; the myth that we will be judged according to our merits or efforts rather than our race, sex, or connections. To challenge these ideas is to threaten the basis of American culture and our shared cultural identity. Afterall, if America is a place where no matter how hard you work you can still end up poor, would we be the nation of immigrants we are? Would our grandparents or parents have come here? Would they have worked as hard as they did, sacrificed as much as they have? Just so we can work as hard as they did. . . Its heart-wrenching to live these questions. But, its even worse if we don’t talk about them.

            Economic disparity follows the exception (example: Obama in terms of his education and career trajectories) that proves the rule logic, I think. If we take Obama as an example: he was raised by a single mother and her parents in the working/middle class, went to public schools and then to Harvard, earned his law degree and was elected President, the first African American President at that. Obama’s story is the story of the American dream; and there is no question that Obama is the exception. In terms of his education/career trajectory, he is remarkable. It’s not what usually happens. (Studies show that most Americans think of themselves as middle class; in fact 90% of Americans identify as “middle class”. If we look at income levels and households: 30% of us are lower middle class and 15% of us are upper middle class; only 45% are in the middle class yet 90% of us think we are)!

            Back to Obama growing up in public schools and ending up President. That is remarkable, not normal. It is OUT of the ordinary. He is the exception who makes the the American dream appear real. (If we just work hard enough . . . ) And, our cultural refusal to acknowledge this dream’s exclusivity keeps it alive. If you don’t “buy” this, look at America’s stats in terms of class mobility. A number of recent, large studies show that America ranks lower than most “developed” nations in social mobility. We have growing inequality that is calcifying into class immobility according to most non-partisan studies.

            This is long, I know. But, this has SO much to do with fashion. Fashion is not only about art; it is also about fantasy, freedom, and non-necessities. Fashion is about buying shoes, for example, because I choose to, not because I have none. BUT, THAT CHOICE IS CONSTRAINED BY MY SOCIAL and ECONOMIC REALITIES. What shoes I buy is not just about what shoes I need or want; it is also about what shoes I can afford given my circumstances. Just because its a choice, doesn’t make it equal. NOT ALL CHOICES ARE MADE IN EQUAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

            So, when I buy those shoes, my imagination gets to play. I get to express myself. And, at the same time, I establish my place on the social hierarchy. People judge me according to my appearance (including whether or not my shoes are “in”). These are all intertwined: the whimsy of fantasy AND the reality that some of us can afford the full fantasy and others can’t. Fashion is a place where fantasy and reality meet; it is a place where the mythic American dream and the mundane American injustices are joined.

            Its such a relief to talk about. Because I love fashion. And, I love America. But, goddammit if I don’t want things I will never be able to earn.

          • Natalia Lara

            ::Drops mic and walks away::

            What you just said… Was so reminiscent of the moment when Miranda Priestley give Andy Sachs about “cerulean” and the fashion industry…

            Epic.

          • Natalia Lara

            *correction: give Andy Sachs the speech about…

          • lace

            yeah this is so pretentious. she should go post with gwenyth. this is ridiculous. ‘zara makes copies’ blah blah blah. who cares? it’s just clothing. get over yourself.

        • Adrianna Grężak

          I agree! Zara is not cheap! That’s the main reason I don’t shop there, the quality does not match the price. $80 is a lot of money for an casual summer dress that I can’t even wear in my daily life to work (http://www.zara.com/us/en/woman/dresses/printed-dress-with-lace-trim-c269185p1381062.html)

          I grew up shopping in the clearance racks and I still shop at TJMaxxx and Marshalls as an adult. I still can’t bring myself to spend more than $40 for a pair of jeans.

      • anon

        I love the idea of this piece and your writing but you gotta let this one go. You simply can’t tell your audience that they have the same type of access to high fashion clothes – it’s simply not true. I get to buy one high fashion item on clearance once every two years about. Even Zara is expensive too, you could walk in there and spend $100 easily and then that puts you out for your power bill that month. I wish I could just decide to participate… I would gladly choose to be able to afford high fashion even just one great piece a year. But no, I get to buy the less fabulous, non-sold-out version a year after the craze is over, but I’m ok with that at least. And sure you can pull the “quality” card but you can’t go to work every day of the week in one skirt.

        • liv

          The point about easily spending $100 at Zara is so true. Last time I was there I purchased a skort and a thin-strapped tank and it cost $97. They are pricey to the average person!

      • Nadine

        Forgotten in the closet??? what an extreme statement. It will only apply to a few items in my closet, regardless of what brand they are, it all depends on what I am inspired to wear or keep.
        When you understand that it might take 3 years of savings to buy a Celine coat to some people (and all they care is to be warm and wear a creative coat), then you will appreciate having a fun store to get clothes from. I dont buy Zara (dont find it cheap) or any items because they look like so and so, it’s all in the design and will never think of my purse “better than” just because it is YSL.
        Things either fit us or not, regardless of the brand. I wouldn’t wear something just because it’s Alexander Wang or Balenciaga…

        And designer items aren’t exclusive of “uniqueness”, it’s hard to find a well-off person or celebrity who doesn’t own a Chanel purse, is it ok to say then, how annoying everybody is has it?, No, because it is Chanel and a it is a “classic”.

        • Thesnobette

          The Issue here ladies is that there is a hole in the retail landscape. It’s not about knocking those who can afford couture or high end. If you have it you have it. but striving to support brands who are unique and make clothing that have style and quality. Garment quality has gone downhill in the past couple of years fed by our obsession to follow trends and have things right away. The idea of having quality classics is not popular. Everyone wants to look current and cool. There was a time when a r woven white shirt from the gap , Club monaco or jcrew would last years. Not many seem to challenge quality and price standards. That is my Big issue with fashion currently.

    • Alice

      Actually, I have bought clothes from luxury brands in outlets that cost me less than Zara-prices (most recently, Dior wool trousers for 50 euros and Equipment blouse for 60) so what you’re saying is entirely irrelevant. Also, there is the question of quantity vs quality. Most people (not all) who say they can’t afford high-quality clothes most of the time buy 10 disposable pieces instead. It depends on your priorities: is endless choice or cashmere a luxury for you?

      • Charlotte

        As a student with very low income I couldn’t agree more with either Alice or Leandra. You do have a choice. Many friends choose to buy an insane amount of clothing, at for example Zara, each season. I always prefer quality over quantity…therefore I save money for classics and one ‘in fashion item’ each season. I guess it depends on the person….trust fund or not.

    • Gabby

      Completely agree with Susy. Guarantee everyone disagreeing probably has the funds to support their argument. I love fashion and have a great amount of respect for designers and their art, but I’m not ignorant enough to think that $860 “sale” price is affordable.

      • Gabe

        Suzy and Gabby,
        Fashion is an expensive distraction, whether your coat is Céline or Zara. It isn’t inclusive, democratic or even fair. If your comment is that most Americans can’t afford neither of the mentioned brands, you are ruining the forum for those participating in it.
        If you feel have no choice but shopping at Zara, you need to improve your fashion knowledge. There’s PLENTY of choice, from outlets to vintage and even good sales (How many Zara items will you give up on to invest $860 on a sale coat?).
        I’m a guy, I work in fashion and I live on my earnings (no trust fund). My latest splurge was a GBP (I live in London) 500.00 on a Lanvin coat that used to cost 2,300.00. I bought it because it’s my choice not to make small purchases of fast fashion. See? Choice. Now repeat the line of thought within your budget (lipstick? scarf? jeans?)
        Rebelling against prices on a fashion blog is just silly…

    • http://clickwatchwrite.com/ Hannah M.

      Yeah, and I don’t like when people advise to just “buy less, but buy nicer”. If I only bought designer clothes, my wardrobe acquisitions would be limited to, like, one item per year. That’s why fast fashion and thrifting are my clothing sources. I’d say I shop about 50/50 from those two sources.

      • Gabe

        Choices, dear… Good for you, but the advise to buy less and nicer is great advice. One great moment a year is better than a closetful of crap.

        • http://clickwatchwrite.com/ Hannah M.

          It still depends on what individuals appreciate. I don’t appreciate brand names or notice expensive materials much, so the stuff would be wasted on me anyway. Let designer clothes fall into the arms of someone who will appreciate them. I DO, however, appreciate the feeling of getting a bargain, or of finding some unique thing at a thrift store.

    • Poe

      came to this country as a poor immigrant who put myself through university working two jobs. I remember clearly the times when designer goods were out of reach (and seemed quite obscene). At some point, the price point for shoes crept from $20 to $1,000 but I still often buy pieces from Forever 21 and Zara because no matter how much more I could afford, I will never see a need to spend $X on a blouse that my cat will inevitably destroy with a claw or to splurge on the latest trend that will be over before you know it. I love my Jimmy Choos but feel no shame in *choosing* to buy the Zara wedge sneakers rather than the Isabel Marants because… we’ll probably feel stupid if we’re still wearing those in 2014, but I want to spend 2013 a few inches taller!
      The thing we must not forget is that original fashion is wearable art, it is decadent. Zara is a compromise on that decadence… and I am so glad it exists!

    • WeAllHaveAChoice

      I do agree that it’s about choosing to participate and priorities. For instance, if you’re a grad student who’s struggling financially, should it be a priority to buy expensive or non-expensive clothes to be with the current fashions, or work hard and finish school and try to achieve whatever it is you felt was worth spending all that time and money in school for. I don’t know, it’s not my place to make judgements about people’s choices, but this is just an example. I am not saying you should be wearing rags, but don’t be angry at someone who is privileged and can afford and supports luxury fashions. There are many ways to get beautiful, versatile and even on-trend clothing and you don’t have to have a trust fund in order to. You can browse thrift shops, consignment stores, clothing swaps, eBay, or even choose quality over quantity (think of the “Cost per wear” concept) the choices are endless. Or, if you’re still griping about the lack of affordability, just don’t participate. Don’t make expensive high fashion a priority in your life.

    • luisa

      i agree. if you can’t afford it, what are you going to do? i don’t think its bitter. it’s realistic to agree that if you can’t afford givenchy, which most of us can’t- then you probably will shop at zara, forever 21, or h&m if you like fashion. i suppose that does mean your fashion is ‘fast’, but some of us actually try to hang on to those pieces for years. people say ‘pay more and you will keep your piece for 10 years’. i have had some $50 gap jeans for 6-7 years. i think it’s all a scam to sell $200 jeans.

  • Bri

    I dunno, but I’m going to lose it if I see that skort one more time.

    • jas

      haha agreed. it’s sad because it is actually a really nice piece and quite well made (a rarity for zara). i own the skort, but have not wanted to wear it at all – i have been put off it from its saturation in the market.

  • http://eileentheooer.blogspot.com/ Eileen

    I agree! I feel bad for returning so many of them (I don’t live at a place where a Zara store is accessible), but most of the time the ones I order don’t meet my expectations. It’s not that they don’t make good stuff…you just really have to go to a store and see. Good point on fast fashion. I look at Zara and think about whether I actually like the piece instead of thinking about the price too much. My best way of testing that is having it bookmarked somewhere and to see if I still like it weeks later! I also love Zara’s fall winter campaign. Looking forward to see some structured/Celine-like coats and plaid/Stella McCartney-like ones.

  • Jane
  • http://alcessa.wordpress.com/ alcessa

    Well, in general terms: don’t we value (and by extension: use, feel good with, tenderly appreciate) expensive things more?

    I mean, maybe even more than the price difference between the Zaraesque and the real things?

    I tend to stick to basics when shopping at … you know, now the next great thing in the US: Online Swedes! and would probably buy things suggesting long years of wear and tear if I was into haute couture … and then wear them and wear them and wear them, since I care more about good things than fashion and trends. You cannot do that with Zara & Co., because things get used up faster :-)

    As it is, I care about “high fashion” so much I don’t go and buy any of it: as a stay-at-home freelancer I’d suffer too much when closing the wardrobe doors on my precious expensive pieces of art (no irony intended, I mean it), only to never wear them.
    So I buy clothes made from organic materials as befits a little typing freelancer (they feel great, btw.) and think about Big Bucks clothes as I think about so many other things in life: watching is high enough a pleasure.

  • Poppy’s Style

    I adore Zara for it’s fast disposable fashion – I can buy something without remorse even when I know it is a one season wonder…

    • Ivania carpio

      People like you are killing the businesses of the real creatives who Zara is ripping off. And while you’re at it, killing the planet with all the waste you’re producing and keeping the low-wages-bad-working-conditions factories in business. No remorse.

  • Flo LaBrado

    Regardless of cost or how many others wear a garment, the luxury is really in individual interpretation and styling. A unique take is rich and priceless.

  • Alice

    Al though Zara is “fast fashion”, my tactic with the brand is to take it slow. I wait until the end of the season in order to understand what pieces are exceptional (my leopard print coat) and which ones are a big fat no (the skort, yikes). I have also learned to religiously ignore tags that say “100% polyester”; those never work out.

    • http://eileentheooer.blogspot.com/ Eileen

      omg I hate the material so much. It’s like…Hello staticy.

  • Chelsea

    My shopping strategy at Zara is no different than my strategy at any other store. I have to think of 5 different ways to wear the piece before I consider purchasing it. This usually keeps me away from those pieces you’ll wear once and forget about.

  • Elizabeth Stilwell

    I love fashion as art and expression, but this conversation forgets that it is all manipulation by the fashion industry – high or low end. Without getting too political, I’ll remind you that we are constantly being bombarded by shiny new things so we will forget about the real issues. We forget to wonder, “How does Zara make so many clothes so cheaply?” or “Are the people sewing these luxury items making a living wage?” We get busy pinning and liking and shopping and forget to ask how our decisions are affecting the lives of others. I urge you to shop sites like Ethical Ocean and Fashioning Change – what better way to stop the self-doubt and feel good about your commitment?

    • Thamsa

      Great addition to the conversation. Fashion is a huge distraction and as Gabe mentioned earlier, “It isn’t inclusive, democratic or even fair.” Thanks for sharing those sites!

  • Anna Maria

    As a former New Yorker, now living in Barcelona, I was thrilled to fin Zara’s all around me. In the last years Zara has begun to receive increasing amounts of attention on fashion blogs and I have celebrated the Catalan group´s successes. HOWEVER, after the fall of the factory in Bangladesh, multiple firms came together to sign the Bangladesh Worker Safety Accord, acknowledging that humane and safe work conditions must be a priority- a greater priority than cutting production costs. INDITEX (Zara) has refused to sign that agreement. I have found Manrepeller to be more than a blog of pretty pictures- for me it has been the “thinking woman`s” fashion blog. For that reason I am urging you to consider boycotting Zara products, or at least acknowledge how horrible it is that they were remiss in signing. It sucks- I too love their clothing- but it isn´t worth more than human lives.

    • http://alcessa.wordpress.com/ alcessa

      Agree. I haven’t shopped at Zara before but there’s a picture that holds my credit card hand locked firmly these few weeks … It turns out it is possible to hate clothes when they do this …

    • Jane

      Exactly, this is what I posted before without comment. It was eye (ear?) opening to listen to. Leandra, take note! Many chicks needing a fashion leader rely on your advice. Best to be cautious before promoting such dangerous fast fashion.

    • laura

      zara isn’t a catalan group, it’s a galician group. just saying. ps: i’m spanish, i know.

    • http://sundaydesire.blogspot.com/ Sunday Desire
    • ni ni

      I never buy Zara or even step into the store, it is just one of the many modern tragedies to me. I was in Tokyo last week, ended up going in, and bought a jacket, that was just too hard to resist. I can’t believe I did. Living with the guilt. Arrgh.

  • Molly Oberstar

    If they could bump up the quality just a titch I would be a loyal Zarain.

  • Karen Chou

    I could afford those high end luxury clothes if I wanted it enough and liked it enough. However I don’t like showing labels because I don’t want to be someone’s billboard b*tch. I love Zara for the fact that most of their clothing lasts longer and many of my HM and Forever 21 purchases and because I love the material not because it looks like a luxury brand.

  • tory

    I like Zara, yes their clothes is not durable nor well-made but for trendy items i believe it’s a reasonable choice. As for clothing that i find classic and must in my wardrobe, i have been leaning toward more expensive and well-made choices. I mean, i have even found myself looking at materials recently. Anyway, i’m only 20 right now so i can’t really afford to buy many expensive things and i would prefer to reach that weight and body that i will have for a long time before really “investing” in some great pieces.

  • laura

    as i’m wearing the unfortunately famous skort right now (and wore to clean my apartment, which isn’t very flattering) i vote for choosing zara for the “in” fashion and designers for timeless pieces… hence: i don’t mind spending on a gucci regular bag or salvatore ferragamo flats, but i won’t ever spend money in the isabel marant sneakers even though i like ‘em… did i make my point?

  • Tatiana

    Unfortunately, here in the south hemisphere Zara clothes costs twice as much as in the states or even Europe. And sometimes the prices are ridiculously expensive and the quality is hideous. Its just infuriating buying a blouse for over 150 dollars at the store and then go online and find it in the website for 30 euros.

  • anya

    God I do love a pinstripe skort though!
    http://Www.world-edit.blogspot.com

  • a.n.a.l.u

    For the price, you get more than you paid. The quality of Zara is not good at all but for fast fashion, Zara is offering the latest trends and the best knock-offs. Is it legal? Not exactly. Is it good? For us who can´t buy all the Balmain collection, it feels great for a while… at least until the first wash when the magic is over.

    LAZYCATSTYLE

  • http://www.anorexicescapades.com/ BougieHippie

    What I love about this site, the comment section be better than the post it self. Keep it up guys, I’m not off for another hour.

  • Janie

    Being able to choose not to buy Zara is the greatest luxury of all.

    • Young

      Haha clear.

  • Maria Inês Ribeiro

    this is just… brilliant!

  • Guest

    two words: BEACONS CLOSET

  • petitececile

    Zara is an illusion, you think it is real but it’s not. if I could have my closet full of designer clothes, surely I would but at least Zara give us the option to be a little closer to that.

    • petite cecile

      I mean, Zara is a copycat brand with disposable quality, in Spain is affordable, sometimes cheap and that allows people to buy it in their daily basics. It’s curious because even people with money has the lastest Zara’s clothes but I must say not everyone knows that this clothes are ripoffs, that’s why is a great illusion (or a big fat lie). Some people just think they have beautiful clothes and some other knows what you or we are talking about here.

  • Dana

    The only good about Zara is that it provides fashionable or clothes that are latest in trend for very reasonable prices. Nothing else is good about Zara. The quality is just the best of the bad…disposable income = disposable fashion purchases. No Zara purchase I’ve made lasted me more than 6 months-1 year.

    Also, Zara wins because like TopShop, it’s somewhat the melting point of fashion. You see everyone from celebrities to college students shop from Zara or mix and match an outfit with a luxury brand items. Zara just goes well with expensive fashion.

    I believe everyone should invest in quality shoes, jackets, pants and everything else is what Zara is good for.

  • http://sundaydesire.blogspot.com/ Sunday Desire

    Bad quality clothing and knockoff has always existed, Zara didn’t came out with the idea. When Zara landed in my country, almost ten years ago, it was considered as an expensive and exclusive shop. Still now it’s much pricey than our retailers, but it has better quality, i mean the sews, the zippers, the fabrics, are much better than all the chinese clothing we’ve been getting at the mall. So at least for me and my fellows, Zara is a better choice.

    http://sundaydesire.blogspot.com

  • kirbybee

    I’m such a fence sitter on this issue. Is it ok for Zara to do what they do? Could anyone stop them even if they wanted to? There are so many shades of grey here, and Zara isn’t the only fast fashion chain doing it. And might it actually be our own desire for fast fashion that fuels this situation?

    But another interesting angle, which I first read on BOF and then riffed about myself, is if the digital world we live in does in fact make it easier for the designers themselves to take inspiration from an era in the past and do what could be considered a direct copy. You could make a case, as the BOF piece does, that the nineties grunge movement so ubiquitous right now is an example.
    Perhaps it just comes down to your own idea of what constitutes inspiration as opposed to imitation. And if you find it a good or a bad thing.

  • Caroline

    I have such mixed thoughts about Zara. Of course I love the price, and their clothing items (and shoes!) are usually really cute. On the other hand, the skirt in the first slide is one of those skirts that I’m definitely “sick of looking at.” It seems like every fashion blogger or at least anyone with a remote taste for fashion owns that skirt. I always find myself shopping at Zara because I don’t have a lot of money to spend and I still feel fashion-foward in their clothes; I just always steer clear of their items that seem to be worn to death (like that skirt).

  • LA Shoegirl

    I totally agree! Zara does not look good when I go to the shops. It’s called photshopping the shit out of the clothes to make them look lux!

  • Olivia

    I always worry about where the clothes come from, are the workers fairly treated etc. Zara had been in the news a couple of times for poor labour conditions.

    http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/fashion-beauty/zara-hit-by-slave-labour-allegations/story-fnet01u7-1226612247996

  • Aisha

    I agree! The whole purpose of Zara is its affordable, on trend and globally available clothes. What ruins it is the fit of the clothes. As you mentioned, they are one thing on the models and another in real life. But you wouldn’t want to buy something really expensive and wear it a few times and suddenly get bored of it, with your mother constantly forcing you to wear it, then it becomes that garment that you try to wear but can’t get back the feel of it. It then becomes this really undesirable object in the end of your closet that brings you regret. On top of that, you cannot throw it out or give it away.

    What makes you want to buy that piece is its branding, you don’t see Zara in Vogue magazine worn buy Kate Moss or Natalia Vodianova.

    I think buying things on trend that come for a season and go should be bought from Zara and buy iconic, classic and everlasting things from high fashion stores. Just like those Wang heels from last season that sold out instantly before I could get my hands on one.

  • jas

    on the one hand, shouldn’t designer fashion be available to everyone? are high end designers doing it for the money or for the love of fashion and design? if i were a designer i would consider it a win if stores like zara copied my designs. it means you have made an impact and that people want to wear your designs.

    on the other hand, one gets the feeling that zara isn’t trying to make fashion accessible, it’s just selling out. while zara gets the nod for being able to pick up early on the latest fashion trends, it really is just in it for the money i feel. ie product placement – you can’t deny that zara and even asos product place with celebrities and popular bloggers. hence 99% of bloggers own and have photographed the skort.

    i guess i’m a bit on the fence about this whole thing too, being someone who shops regularly at zara when i can – the price is the thing that does it for me. however, i am super picky about what i purchase from them – staples/classics only. that is what they do best.

    reckless abandon blog

    • Charlotte

      The interesting thing here is that Zara doesn’t dabble in product placement with bloggers (at least not to my knowledge), so what you’re picking up on is that there is some sort of desire within all these people (celebrities or bloggers) to obtain what’s trendy at what can seem like a steal of a price in regards to the original. While yes, public figures wearing an item like the aforementioned skort only perpetuates the popularity of these too-real replicas, I have to ask what is fueling those people to flock to Zara and buy them in the first place?

  • Claire

    I think this conversation is kind of pointless. High designers know that only a portion of the people can afford and will purchase their clothing. They never intended to capture this target audience of Zara’s.

    If you have the money to buy a $300 t-shirt, go ahead. But most people cannot afford that. If Zara wasn’t the one to do it, somebody else would.

    Besides, everything is a copy of a copy of a copy.

    And personally, I look for quality. Is everything at Zara quality? Probably not. That’s where style comes into place, being able to shop and pick out key quality pieces.

    Trendy things never stay in fashion. Choose wisely.

  • http://www.fashionsnag.com/ Fashion Snag

    That denim skirt! Too bad the quality is not so good.

    http://www.FashionSnag.com

  • http://www.looksharpsconnie.com/ Look Sharp Sconnie

    Have to agree; though I’ve always been the “more is more” type.

    I also sometimes I think a piece from Zara will be considered ‘fleeting’, while one from say, Rodarte, will be “timeless” – even when they look identical. Is “timeless” just slang for impractically expensive and in need of infinite justification?

  • http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/ Newborn Fanatic

    I love Zara. That being said, I think there are a lot of items which don’t look as good in real life and when I try them on just doesn’t sit right. Serously admiring how so many bloggers really make it work for them. Sometimes I think that they just don’t look that great but somehow they look awesome in pictures. *shrug* But of course there are so many that are just SO DARN CUTE!
    Oh and I always love Zara footwear. I need to stop myself from buying them!

    https://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/

  • Thesnobette

    you are simply Brilliant!

  • s

    Zaras supply chain and logistics is amazing! practically a month or so from design to floor selling. I love it because it democratizes fashion. maybe not the quality, but definitely the high-end design aesthetic.

    xx

    http://spoonfulofdiamonds.com
    http://www.facebook.com/SpoonfulOfDiamonds

  • Luciana Safdie

    In my opinion and experience: Zara is a double edged sword. I personally can’t afford to buy designer pieces whenever I want to, that doesn’t mean that I approve or support other stores copying those styles (if I can’t afford to buy 800 dollar tops or pants, I search for affordable things that are still original and on trend – not a knock off of whatever it is I can’t buy). That being said, I am in fact a Zara fan. However, I like to go to the store and browse myself, yes a lot of times they copy an item exactly, but sometimes the inspiration is just that, and they provide good quality finds: you just need to learn to look (= don’t shop online, basically).
    I’ve even had people stop me on the street to ask me where I found some of my most cherished Zara pieces. In my opinion, the key to a store like Zara is avoid the high-selling items, and to wear one piece at a time, mixing it with other things from your wardrobe to take it out of context. Then, it can be a great way to find inexpensive on trend pieces for the season.

  • Paula McClelland

    Wow – Look what you’ve started Leandra! My only purchase from Zara was a white blazer (on clearance – HOLLA) that I cannot wear too often as it picks up every little bit of dirt/stains and it’s DRY CLEAN ONLY – GAH! Having said that, it is holding up nice because I am not wearing it!

    ♥ Paula Shoe Fiend.
    http://shoe-fiend.blogspot.co.nz/

  • AnnaIrena

    And then, similarly to Zara, when i see Isabel Marant’s pieces live i am so disappointed about quality if fabrics, cuts and generally average look of the items… Since around 2 seasons i find it quite a joke for its very high price. I used to love it and I have quite plenty of her old collections’ items but now I’d rather buy at Zara

  • Alejandra

    Some of the comments scare me.. In my humblest opinion when it comes down to it: if you’re saving money to buy fashion clothe(thigs you don’t need but you do need).. Buy trend pieces at Zara (see: skort) and key pieces you should invest on a better made high quality brand(see: leather jacket).. My friends and I go on trips and our combined closet looks like a rack at Zara.. ZARA IS OUR DRUG. (See: http://twitter.com/AleeeMarr/status/364239594969001984/photo/1 )

  • http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr/ Mafalda

    I’m glad Zara exists! I can’t afford designer pieces, and they have such a great collection this year!

    Mafalda ❤
    http://www.mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr

  • Nefer Ferreira Monteiro Nunes

    Very interesting point you’re making. I agree with it.

  • H3
  • H3
  • http://ravenmaidenmaven.blogspot.com/ Lydia Teo

    Loved reading the comments on this post….thank you Man Repeller for constantly challenging me to reassess my views on fashion (ie. that Zara is God’s gift to women)

    ravenmaidenmaven.blogspot.com

    • SF

      On the comment above, there’s a picture of people working at corporation for Zara slaughtered and treated like worthless pack of meat (http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/bild-900487-497057.html )

      When Suzy Menkes says that it’s unethical to have new clothes with price less than expresso, I think she got the point that ‘inexpensive’ fashion is likely resulted by unethical production. Some fashion brands are approaching more fair trade and manufacturing process, but Zara is definitely not one of them. Oh, and workers in Bangladesh who died by far-from-feasible condition pushed by companies like Zara were mostly women.

      Still think Zara is God’s gift to women? Which women you mean?

  • Tess Harrison

    My goodness the painful banter below! To quote the immortal Abba, “Money, money, money – must be funny, in a rich man’s world.”
    How wonderful would life be if Zara were my go to cheap-stop-spot?
    But even more wonderful if Rosie Assoulin were within even mental attainability.

    There is no reason not to be absolute and transparent about the economic brackets wherein fashion exists. The cleverly phrased, accurate passage above is more a reminder that once you step below Assoulin herself, your clothes will fall apart.
    I bluntly and determinedly understand this truth, and have resigned myself to Forever 21 basics and Urban Outfitters sale rack jeans. All this said, the fiscally forbidden face of fashion is my crack and one day I too will trash some Zara. <3

  • LNA

    even though I loved the article, I have to agree with you. I cannot afford high fashion clothes (even though my whole family participated into getting me the acne pistol boots for my high school graduation) I don’t WANT to spend crazy amounts of money on something that will not last. I mean, 200 bucks for a classic cashmere sweater, or something that suits your personal style perfectly is a good investment, but I could never even think of spending several thousands on something that is clearly trendy. And that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to look the part, and there Zara gives me and people like me the possibility to buy fashionable clothes and look fashionable even without having the necessary cash.

  • Lo

    Personally I think those who buy really expensive clothes, purses, shoes just give more powers to designers that can keep upping their prices because they know wealthy women will buy something trendy from of a designer just cause everyone in that class range has “Designer Blindness”. Maybe if women took a stand saying that they want quality clothes, and designer brands at reasonable prices then the middle class would have more ability to buy overly price stuff.
    If you are rich enough or choose to save up your money to buy a 2k purse (for example) then aren’t you kind of dumb for believing that this 2k leather purse is any better than one at another store that looks exactly the same plus it’s leather for 200? You can get the exact same leather Chanel purse for 200 (really good knock off) in New York and it’s pretty good quality and who wants to spend 2k on a stupid purse when you could spend it on a trip, to debt, school, or about a hundred pieces of clothing made out of the same material.

    I like fashion, I read about fashion, and I would eat fashion but I find it kind of dumb that we (women) believe these designer pieces are better quality then some less expensive brands. Zara provides cheaper options for some groups of women in their price range. I feel people who shop there are kind of the smart ones since they are basically getting the same outfit (trendy) for a lot less. I mean…….don’t you feel a little silly buy a pair of pants for $800? Does anyone even remember a value of a dollar?

  • emma

    I love reading all the comments! I was just wondering when I read some comments about copying from designers. My grandma told me that my mother used to come to her with pages from fashion magazines and asked her to recreate the clothes from those pages. All of her friends did the same thing. Were those handmade clothes knock-offs or were they just inspired by the designer pieces?
    I used to buy a lot of ‘fast fashion items’ which I wore two/three times and now I’m 20 and I already have far too much clothes which I almost never wear. So I decided to throw out most of the clothes and now I try to invest in quality. I’m a lot happier now with the items I own.

    (sorry for my bad grammar, I still need a looooooot of practice, especially with writing)

  • Ivan Aranega

    All of them steal from each other, Zara is just one of them

    http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/4086508/balenciaga-did-it-first

  • isaobeso

    I think you have a very valuable case in point here, but I think on the latest note you may be missing something, which, in my opinion, is that Zara is a choice, not of luxury but of accessing the trends. If someone has access to paying more luxury and chooses Zara, then there may be something else in hand: the choice of wearing something to get tired of it and paying less for the trend is the option Zara brings and if someone wants a piece of more quality, wanting to wear it for years, or even if the case is wanting exclusivity, they they might pay more for it if they can.

    Visit me at http://www.peoplewearfashion.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/monavernon Mona Vernon

    I value timeless quality in luxury, now that all is made in cheap fabric that disintegrate in a season then I loose the distinction. For me luxury is something timeless like Hermes, quoddy in Maine, J.W. Hulme in MN, Brora in the UK…. and what no longer exist, quality silk, wool cashmere in designer brands ….not wacky synthetics. Zara for me means itchy lousy fabrics. Sadly I have very few places to turn that give me great style and natural gorgeous fabrics.

  • Mish

    Well, the choice is always good but if you cannot afford a bus ticket- walk. Same with rags, not having money for designer pieces cannot be an excuse for supporting cheap knockoffs. The Zara’s overall (lack of) ethics should finally be brought to justice.

  • marie a

    I’m not too worried about someone who has tons of money to spend on designer clothes feeling “cheated” that they saw the same thing pop up at zara for a fraction of the price (sorry I’m not sorry to the commenters who complained about this). There are bigger problems in the world.
    And what’s wrong with making fashion accessible to the average person?
    Of course, there are ways to be fashionable that aren’t about copying exactly from a runway… but then there are ways to be fashionable that don’t require spending thousands on an ‘authentic’ designer piece.
    For those that are complaining about this, either be content with your ‘better cuts’, ‘higher-quality fabric’ and shinier buttons, or join the rest of us at zara.

  • Tamera

    I can’t even afford Zara.

  • Dalmat

    I think it’s totally healthy to have a Zara in this world and keep the bigger brands on their toes, and ensure the offer a quality which is worth the money. That being said, a lot of the times the production and quality can be very similar, made in the same country (such as India or the like), but the brand can justify a huge margin because they have to in order to keep the brand in a certain league and ensure its ‘private club’ status. Zara most of the time offer similar products to a different market segment (those who wouldn’t be able to afford the big brands anyway) which is fantastic, or offer the ones who could afford the bigger brands an experimental option for things they wouldn’t invest in because they are uncertain. It totally levels out the playing field. I think the big brands are becoming just as mainstream – and talking about seeing the same outfit of piece on the street numerous times after having just bought it, that’s almost just as likely to happen with large production pieces from the large designers these days unfortunately. My advice the next time that happens, shelf it, and look at it again in a year, you might want to wear it then when everyones forgotten it or chucked it already.

    Power to the consumer – it’s their duty to judge quality on purchase nowadays, and in turn get more lax return terms than they ever did. Also – it’s about being able to make the right picks. How good does it feel when you are stopped at a large event and everyone is wearing break-the-bank outfits, and people stop you raving about what you are wearing and begging for where you got it from… and you get to say ‘Zara’.

    And lastly, to escape the Zara Copycat vs Designer Originals showdown, I think its all about 1) vintage and 2) discovering the lesser known designers from around the world with whom you can ensure you’re risk of a me-too incident is much lower, and add a fresh brand name to your wardrobe. We will hopefully try to achieve that with TROVEA (www.trovea.com) with brands from India, Dubai, Bahrain, Spain, France, Germany, and Egypt already signed on to be revealed on launch, hopefully will give access to many to something that is finally ‘different’. Hope you’ll check it out.

    • Leandra Medine

      Thank you for taking the time to share these really, really interesting points, Dalmat.

  • J

    “But then, the clothes never look quite as good in store as they do online.”

    So damn true. I always love the pieces when I view the clothes on the website, but when I head down to the store I can’t really find a piece that I like.

  • innaboxx

    I just got the multicolor woven jacket online. It’s made out of repurposed car tires but looks great!

  • Tatiana

    omg could agree more. so easy to talk while youre sitting in a pile of cash!

  • Tatiana

    couldn’t*

  • JLMCGO

    I love Zara. Beautiful clothes for amazing prices!
    Im putting this into my WiShi closet. Please check it out!
    http://wishi.me/r/JM

  • Kat

    I could’ve sworn fashion was about your own sense of style. I mean, that’s why I love fashion so much; it is an art. People have made valid points about the choice to purchase an expensive, high quality piece vs purchasing a “fast fashion” piece of the same style but with a lesser value. And yes, fashion has a lot to do with the economy, but what happened to the days where we bought items because we actually liked them? Even if the cost was out of the question, we would save every last penny just to experience that satisfaction of knowing you own the jacket or shoes that you longed for. Or that feeling of finding a rare necklace in a vintage shop. Fashion is about self-expression, not how much money you can spend on a skirt. If you want it, do what you have to do to get it…regardless of the price. And if you’d prefer purchasing the more inexpensive version, do it! But do what YOU want to do.

    Fashion is supposed to bring us together, not split us up. Trust fund or not, designer or not, luxury or not, style is style.

  • Ashley

    What we are really talking about here is time. Whereas in the past, trends spread at a slower pace. Today, digital communications diffuse trends in an insta-second. Zara, and other fast fashion retailers, have been able to keep the pace with their fresh-off-the-boat reiterations of both runway and street inspired looks. Meanwhile, large houses and independent designers (especially) can’t quite keep up. This is where the inequity lies: the unfair advantage that strips the designer goods of their value.

    Yet, real luxury is not a question of choice, but one of restriction and elitism. The ability to wait, to personalize, to own the genuine item, to purchase investment pieces, and to stand beyond mainstream trends will always remain the true signs of luxury.

    http://www.tonpetitlook.com/en

  • Angelina S

    I recently broke a 6 month Zara hiatus because it offered a quick fix – and affordable- solution to fashion cravings – which is exactly what it’s there to offer. Personally I’m undecided on just how validating the experience of shopping there really is. I own a 5 year old orange and grey victorian tailored jacket which I love and always get complimented on- and still wear might I add (due to careful maintenance, infrequent wears and dry-cleaning) and then there’s the disposable items that never regain their shape after washing. But with smart and careful styling – and the acceptance of style intruders – the clothes can be made to work. And as for their disposable nature – well maybe small investments in temporary fashions should be short lived.

  • The Trendstop Team

    Oh we just love the black jacket in the fifth slide, it’s such a classic piece!

    The Trendstop Team
    http://www.trendstop.com

  • Gabi

    The intellectual theft is not what concerns me, not when the very humans being paid almost nothing to assemble these garments are forced to work such long hours in such harsh and dangerous conditions. Bangladesh anyone? And as others have said, the speed at which trends spread around the globe makes it impossible to retain any claim to originality. Who’s to say who designed what or wore what first? All that to say, I generally avoid stores like Zara because I value human rights over the hottest new skort.
    *dismounts soapbox*

  • bubblesarah

    It is like Topshop vs Primark (In the UK), sadly very few people have access to the kind of designer luxury you speak of. I do agree about is the idea of having something close to that luxury good enough? or will you get fed up of it quickly. I have personally never understood the idea behind fast fashion but that is because I have never personally been into trend driven fashion. It is interesting to learn where trend develop but that is about it.

    I have read many saying about class and being able to afford the luxury as well and I see that was not the point you were making.

    In answer I do not think fast fashion is worth it because there is only short lived satisfaction in items that will inevitably end up being sent to charity or forgotten and thrown out.

    It feels like outside of the cat walk and the designers when it gets to the street, there is no room for personality in chain stores

  • UgetWhatUPayFor

    Sorry, no matter how cute the outfit it’s made with cheap fabric. Rather spend the money on quality.

  • Weir(d) Style

    If your idea of real luxury embodies insatiable consuming, pollution due to the production and decay of synthetic materials, and constant pressure to avoid socio-economic inferiority then yes, this is true luxury. Fast fashion feeds into a very sad state of the retail cycle where people have forgotten how to purchase things they truly love, things they find wholly reflective of their personal style, and things they want to take care of and make last (does anyone go to a cobbler anymore?). That is the luxury of fashion if you are one of many who cannot afford quality in vast quantity. Very disappointed with this post, but then everyone needs to fill their box with stuff. Gross.

  • elisa

    I’ve had my Zara studded sandals (http://gingerstyle.se/en/studded-heels/zara-studded-sandal/) for over a year and worn them with vintage silk dresses, to charity events (where I was working the registration desk, if that helps situate me classwise) and to a whole bunch of other stuff. No regrets– except learning about Zara’s human rights track record.

  • Vera from Bucharest

    Zara isn’t fast fashion. At least not in my country. They sell just crap office kind of clothes colourless, odourless and with no design, at very high prices. I prefer to buy fakes by renowned designers. If you want to pass by fashion and never be fashionable, buy from Zara. These years there were very little if any spikes at Zara, very few if any skulls at Zara, so Zara sucks. It is a shop for grannies maybe. I prefer to buy Louboutin and Jeffrey Campbell fakes.

  • Grace

    i know i’m late to the party, but i had a few thoughts to share. i agree with Leandra, on one hand. Right now i am a college student/aspiring stylist from a middle class family and one of my few passions in life is fashion. If you are like me, and your passion borderlines obsession, it becomes a priority to you. That is the choice Leandra is talking about. Although it is clear that she has a privileged background, I’ve also read many times in her articles that she has on several (or maybe more) occasions stressed about the state of her finances after splurging on something she may or may not have had the funds for. So i don’t necessarily have the extra money to be choicey but instead of blowing my money at the bars with my friends or constantly eating out, i save my (believe me) meager paychecks and buy myself the items i lust after for long periods of time. I don’t own a single thing from Forever 21 or Zara but over the past six years I have (in my opinion) cultivated a lovely wardrobe. Keep in mind that i make slightly over min. wage and i’ve never been able to afford a true high-high end designer piece, but thanks to Shopbop’s amazing sales, working in retail and getting discounts, and saving and scrimping (and sometimes choosing clothes over food, tbh… don’t judge…) i wear Rag & Bone and J Brand and other contemporary designers and I’ve bought most of my clothes myself and it is incredibly satisfying to me because that is what excites me and inspires me and gives me a reason to wake up in the morning. So while I do agree that MOST regular ass people can’t afford to shell out $500 + on a pair of shoes, but they probably also can’t find a good enough reason to. I have a reason to choose fashion. Thanks for bringing this up, Leandra!

  • Katja

    I’m confused about this whole discussion. I’m someone who shops at thrift stores, and does not have the money to buy high end. I felt lucky when I scored a Margiela collab from H&M (which, I couldn’t afford until it was on sale). It’s not people like me destroying the fashion industry by ‘buying’ Zara – It’s the fashion industry itself that will implode if there is a class war (or actually, the class war has NEVER gone away as the rich depend on the poor to clean their toilets). I could only afford a single item from Zara this year let alone from some high end brand, and bought it because I needed new clothes to wear to work. I’m a huge fan of Ivana from Love Aesthetics, but I’m so insulted by her comment that we are ‘destroying the fashion industry’ by being poor people who are supposed to wear ‘new’ clothes to work (Yes, by the way, try going to work in a stained white shirt, won’t work), that I’m boycotting her blog. There is a reason why only the Bourgeoisie could wear white and grey before dry cleaning.It’s because our progress based society insists on ‘newness’ both in terms of not having stains or wear on your clothes, and by only wearing the newest fashions. I’m glad Zara is ripping off the fashion industry, they deserve it for not seeing how bad things are for people living in shacks in other countries, or even the poor in the country I come from – the USA. Take a visit to the projects in Queens sometimes, you might all feel like (*%&-holes for blaming the poor for wanting what the rich have.

  • Samantha

    If you don’t have the ability to be exposed to quality clothing, you wouldn’t bother paying for it either. Up until recently have I started to realize how much clothing I have gone through because of the idea of fast fashion.

  • jaklin hammam

    Sorry, no matter how cute the outfit it’s made with cheap fabric. Rather spend the money on quality.

    here

  • reversecommuter

    Disposable fashion makes my tummy hurt.
    I hate the word BUDGET but I think disposable fashion might be more hated. My husband (captain spreadsheet) is going to be deliriously happy about this statement.
    I absolutely thought that white number was very Rosie-esque (sigh, I have SUCH a designer crush on her gorgeous creations!!)