Many Fashionistas already know what Bershka, the latest ready-to-wear brand from Spain to hit the Philippines, is all about: cool, trendy and affordable “fast fashion” pieces for teens and young adults.
But not many know how it started.
Tessa Encarnado, Stores Specialists Inc.’s merchandising GM for Zara, Stradivarius and Bershka, shared the brand’s origins during the launching of Bershka’s first store in Manila at the new Glorietta 2 in Makati.
Like older and more expensive brands such as Zara, Massimo Dutti and Stradivarius, Bershka belongs to the Inditex Group.
“The brand was born in 1998 soon after the youngest daughter of Mr. (Amancio) Ortega complained to him that she couldn’t buy anything from Zara,” said Encarnado.
The doting dad, now the third richest man in the world based on a recently released list by Fortune magazine, saw an opportunity that would not only make her fastidious daughter happy, but also expand Indetex’s growing retail empire.
“Mr. Ortega thought of creating a brand that would cater to his youngest daughter’s age range,” said Encarnado. “Bershka was born. Now an adult, that same daughter has joined the family business.”
Bershka caters to young people from their early teens to their early 20s. Older women with a knack for combining youngish styles with more formal, mature-looking clothes can still find stuff they like at Bershka, said Encarnado.
Apart from BSK, the brand’s tween line for girls 11 to 13 years old, Bershka has the Chica and Chico lines designed for clubbing. Young men can also get their hands on more casual daytime pieces such as denims in various silhouettes, jackets, shorts and eye-catching T-shirts.
For spring-summer 2013, Bershka offers a number of looks for ladies such as skinny black pants paired with a bolero and accented by a bandana. Thanks to light fabrics and floral appliques, masculine staples such bomber jackets are transformed to become everyday ladies’ wear.
Soft tones such as nude and baby pink contrast and sometimes complement such shades as anthracite and champagne. Jewel tones like coral and yellow compete with fluorescent pops of color found in not a few pieces in the brand’s current collection.
Bershka also offers “retro-style” urban wear in the form of bleached denim pieces. Ethnic influences also abound in tops and dresses with ikat-style embroidery and metallic appliques.
Vinyl and acrylic jewelry pieces and bags echo and enhance the geometric cuts of certain pieces. Bershka also caters to young women’s playful side with boho dresses accented with pleats, lace trimmings, sequins and iridescent animal prints.
They go well with flats, wedges and high-heeled sandals with spikes, studs and metal fixtures. To ensure the footwear’s durability and comfort, Bershka uses such soft materials as Napa leather, suede and vinyl.
“Compared to Zara and Stradivarius, Bershka doesn’t only appeal to a younger market,” said Encarnado. “The brand is definitely more edgy. And since it also falls under the category of fast fashion, everything changes fast. Like Zara, Bershka has two deliveries per week. If you find something you like, you better grab it because it might not be there anymore when you come back.”
In keeping with its market, Bershka invited young celebrities and achievers to its recent launch party. Featured DJs Eve Speciall and Prince Pelayo took turns spinning a string of fast and remixed tunes that effectively transformed the entire store into one huge dance floor.
PHOTOS BY ANDREW TADALAN