By: Ashley Barclay Fashion Design Major
On the NYC trip, we had a lot of time to pass before we all had to meet up to visit the colleges, Mavi etc.. A major portion that took my time up was shopping. I tried not going to stores that were easily accessible to me back home like Lush or Express and granted I ended up gravitating to those stores and purchasing items. Recently, I’ve only started caring about what kinds of fabrics my clothing is made out of due to the wear and tear I put them through along with trying to find comfort while looking stylish so I’m not forcing myself to be kept in a scratchy, textile cell all in the name of fashion. So, I’ve been trying to scout out more stores (online) that I’ve heard sell quality and fashionable clothing. Recently, I found that many online public figures I’ve watched have done clothing hauls on Zara (men’s, women’s & kids clothing store) where they have all talked about what they liked about the style and fit, but not so much the material. I’ve been interested in their garments, but never had a store I was able to go to and physically assess the items; not a fan of shopping online for clothing. So when I found that there was a Zara on 5th, my main goal was to pay attention to the material they use for items, the prices they stick on them and the overall layout of the store to look for any kind of strategy to encourage customers to purchase items. Walking through the front doors had a large gap for people to get in and out with their business-clothing placed on the sides. As you got further towards the back of the store it got more cramped with shelves and racks with clothing surrounding the perimeter. I think the goal was to work your way around the perimeter of the store then the shelves and racks in the middle encourage you to work your way through the maze. I understand that they didn’t necessarily have the biggest space for the amount of clothing or the fact it was based in NYC, but I wasn’t impressed how many times I bumped into someone within a span of three seconds. The front of the store was fine and had a high variety of items and styles of clothing in that area, but that high variety seemed to escalate out of control once you got to the back of the store. The prices were also moderately high depending on the item you’re interested in. For example, a heavy coat would be $80 and a crop top (depending on the amount of detail sewn in) would be $30. I would say that the outerwear, knitwear and a mix of ready-to-wear items were priced correctly as the material used for that item was soft, breathable, had stretch etc.. But there were some items like a collared shirt priced at $40 that had the texture of those $5 rompers you try on at Forever 21 that aren’t breathable, irritable to sensitive skin and hard to maneuver in. I wasn’t surprised that Zara had 1/3 of their products like this as fast fashion has been the most adopted way of keeping up with each new trend that occurs at a cheap price. I also doubt most of their customers pay that much attention to the material; I mean I used to be like that too, I wanted to look nice and thought it was worth it to be uncomfortable throughout the day as long as the price matched the style of the item. Throughout this experience, I mainly paid attention to the women’s section/floor because I was shopping for myself and more familiar with the styles. All in all, I thought Zara knew their target market, how to work their location into an advantage, displayed a high variety of styles, and had mostly quality items priced correspondingly.