Excitement for the opening of a Zara store in Melbourne is expected to peak in the next week as the retail giant opens its doors in Bourke Street on the 15th of June (a week from tomorrow!). I won’t pretend i’m not excited, I spent a semester studying in Vienna 2010-2011 and snapped up goods from Zara like they were going out of fashion- pun 100% intended.
However after seeing some startling facts on ABC’s Hungry Beast last week (see above- guaranteed to blow your mind), i’m a little nervous about Zara arriving on my home turf. Nervous about the impact it will have on local designers and stores and the environment.
The monopoly stores like Zara, H & M and Mango have in European cities is crazy. Often my Vienna friends and I would attempt to shop elsewhere, fail miserably and find ourselves back in line at a Zara fitting room or counter. Zara is like crack. And like no other shopping experience I’ve had in Australia (outside sample sales). The stores in Mariahilfestrasse and Stephansplatz (Vienna’s two main shopping districts) were so packed I felt it sucked the fun out of shopping. The aforementioned waiting in queues was a pain, and you can forget customer service. And start getting used to seeing your top/dress/pants at least 3 times a day on other people.
So while I can’t promise I won’t buy from Zara Melbourne (and wouldn’t dare ask others not to), go easy my friends! Don’t forget our local fashion heroes or buy their knock-offs at Zara, even if they are cheaper. Don’t forget that everything from Zara is shipped from Europe (they don’t even stock shoe sizes large enough to cover that carbon footprint). And keep in mind: there is not yet a known cure for Zara addiction.