Saturday, 7 December 2013

Why I love Kate Middleton and Zara.

Kate and ZARA dress
Kate Middleton wearing a ZARA dress
As Individuals. . 

ZARA and Kate - both in total comfort with themselves that whatever they do, they just make perfect sense. 

Zara may have been slammed for replicating catwalk designs and selling them at a much lower price but what it ultimately strives for, is to be fashionably relevant , which they undoubtedly achieve. They do it by taking it beyond the runway - to the streets, where it actually matters. And then we have Kate - another fashion powerhouse who has huge mass appeal despite the fact that she is a royal. She can pick up any dress from high street to high fashion, and next thing we know - we have a top seller and already sold out.

As a Team. .

So when these two giant trendsetters come together, expect nothing less than 'mass appreciation'. Don't get me wrong. Kate would never do a paid advert for ZARA. I'm in fact referring to those times, when Kate would pick up a ZARA something, and give it the treatment it deserves - the royal kind. One such occasion was last night , when Kate wore a £19.99 (~ Rs. 2000) ZARA necklace to the UK premier of Mandela: Long walk to Freedom. She looked dazzling. Who cares about the fake crystals! I'm sure the necklace is out of stock by now. 

Check out her look. What do you guys think?

Kate wearing ZARA necklace
 Kate wearing ZARA necklace

Kate wearing ZARA necklace
Kate and her ZARA necklace - Dec 2013

I did go online <>  to check..but no luck. No surprises there! Nevertheless, I found some really gorgeous accessories. Here is a look at what you can get at ZARA - India.

Zara necklace
Also spotted:

British food writer Mary Berry 78, wore the same necklace on the Graham Norton Show. 
The necklace is sold out..unsurprisingly.
Mary Berry and Kate with same Zara necklace

After several weeks - look what i spotted in a Zara store in Mumbai! :)

Monday, 6 May 2013

Single Brand Retail FDI : Brands I am excited about!

FDI in retail in India
With all the noise around FDI in single-brand retail and the line up of exciting (and excited) brands entering the Indian market, I admit I am quite thrilled! But before I share my favourites, let me give you a list of the brands that have applied for entry so far (Yummy list!)

FDI in retail in India
Coming to the brands that I am most excited about, I would say H&M tops my list.On my recent visit to Kuala Lumpur, I finally got to shop from H&M and I was amazed at their endless collection of all things trendy! But the real deal was the price - super reasonable! I would say H&M hits the sweet spot between Zara and Forever21- Affordable price and fair quality.

Some of the things I purchased :
H &M bag -
Bag : RM (Malaysian Ringgit) 79.90 ~ INR 1500
H&M Shoe
Shoe : RM  110 ~ INR 2000
H&M Skirt
Maxi skirt with high slit : RM 79.90 ~ INR 1500
My next fav has got to be Topshop which I discovered way back in 2007 when the very vogue Kate Moss did an exclusive collection for the brand. So I was super excited when I spotted the store in KL. I bought a skirt and a vest from there : Pics below.
Topshop skirt
Grey Marl Dip Maxi SkirtRM 110 ~ INR 2000
Another brand that I am really curious about is Massimo Dutti of Inditex (parent company of ZARA).What I hear about the brand is that, it is more high-end and "..offers basic, contemporary styles in next-generation fabrics ". It would be refreshing  to buy a really nice dress that is still affordable. But I have no clue how much they would actually cost here in India. Hmn.Let's wait and watch.
Long Halter Neck Dress: Massimo Dutti
And how about a few from the very fashion forward Japan! I did hear some murmur from the Japanese fast fashion retailer Uniqlo . So when I spotted the store in Kuala Lumpur, I had to take a peek (I didn't buy anything from the store). It mainly focuses on mass producing affordable basics in dozens of colors. As their founder puts it, "UNIQLO clothes are MADE FOR ALL– highly finished elements of style in clothes that suit your values wherever you live. This unique concept of clothes sets us apart from apparel companies whose sole purpose is the pursuit of fashion trends”
Uniqlo: Is India ready for some colors?
So I predict that if you are addicted to all things trendy and affordable like Zara and H&M, you may get addicted to Uniqlo for all things basic yet Uniquely stylish. In short, they will co-exist beautifully... in your wardrobe.
So which brands are you excited about?  

Saturday, 24 November 2012

What are your thoughts on 'Fast Fashion' in India?

So what is ‘Fast Fashion’ ?

According to Wiki, “Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to acknowledge that designs move from catwalk to store in the fastest time to capture current trends in the market”

Fast fashion brands and keywords
Fast Fashion : Brands & Keywords

Fast Fashion in India

It is no revelation that Indians love fast fashion brands like Zara and Mango just as much as the rest of the world. Or maybe a little bit more than the shoppers in America, where trend forecasters are calling for  ‘fast fashion fatigue’ and  Bloomberg Businessweek was heard quoting the same with two industry experts claiming that the era of disposable fashion is coming to an end. Of course, the opinion is divided with many still of the view that fast fashion will survive ....“I have found wonderful inexpensive things and awful quality very expensive pieces”

and that gives me a thought over another question, “Are people willing to pay premium for quality for their fashion buys?”  For me personally, not really. Especially when I can buy trendy clothes with acceptable quality at affordable prices....and besides if I really wanted to invest in ‘lasting fashion’, I’d rather invest in a timeless piece from Dior or a Chanel. But that can wait.
For the moment though, I am loving the ZARAs, the MANGOs and anything that says ‘International’ ‘Affordable’ and ‘INR’ (custom charges, high shipping charges, long delivery period). Yes there are quite a few online stores that stock great international brands.
So my verdict is,  fast fashion is and will be hot in India. Along the way, I also see a lot of Indian retailers/individual designers trying  their hands on fast fashion via private labels.


Also wondering how the 'Elle' store (opened through a licensing agreement between French couturier Elle and Arvind Lifestyle brand) is doing. Earlier this year, they had spoken about their ambitious plans of foraying big into the Indian fast fashion market across the country and had hoped to introduce a new collection every 15 days(!) though I am guessing they are still battling it out with the giant ZARA... and other factors like 
  • Establishing Elle as a fashion apparel brand
  • Getting the pricing right
  • Nailing their replenishment strategy ( 15 days!)
All the best and may the best one win. Though we already have one clear winner here..the happy customer :-)
Elle store at DLF place, New Delhi
The Elle Store, New Delhi
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