Wherein Zara Wins
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?