New Zealand high street fashion is great – no doubt about it, although anyone who has travelled semi-extensively (or even to Australia) has for years lamented New Zealand’s lack of Zara.
When Topshop hit Queen Street, (amidst lines on the footpath and intsa-mania), there were whispers that Zara must be arriving soon after. Cue an announcement from Kiwi Property – the owners of Sylvia Park – late last year heralding the arrival of not only one, but two multinational high-street heavyweights.
Who What is Zara?
- Founded in Coruna, Spain in 1975
- Inspired by (read: recreates) selected runway looks and is a favourite high-street brand of several major players in the fashion world, as well as Princess Kate!
- Operates 2000+ shops in 88 countries!
- Huge overseas. HUGE.
- They reportedly have a 3 week turn-around from sketches to shop floor, which is intense, to say the least.
And what is H&M?
- Swedish based fast-fashion brand
- Operates 3500+ stores in 80 countries
- Occasionally collaborates with high-end designers to produce affordable capsule collections.
So what does the arrival of these two fashion giants mean for New Zealand stalwarts, like Glassons, Cotton On and the like?
Simply, more choices for consumers mean increased competition, both on price points and product quality. While Topshop was expected to increase New Zealand prices to offset the cost of transporting the clothes, they kept prices relatively low and offered the much-loved student discount! In an age when it is nearly as easy to purchase a dress online as it is to pop down to the mall, these multinational companies will be challenged by their own online presence and forced to keep their prices even (with the exception of currency fluctuations).
Zara also has a tendancy to have smaller runs of garments than their competitors with a higher level of style turnover, meaning there is a much smaller chance of running into someone wearing the same outfit! Additionally, Zara and H&M both also have menswear, kidswear and homeware lines.
How the industry will react to the arrival of Zara and H&M, no one can quite predict. However; we can’t wait for November…(and can’t decide whether going to the opening day of either of these shops would be awesome fun or terrifying to say the least).
Images from Zara.com and NYmag.com