Beauty, clarity, functionality and sustainability are the four cornerstones that define the sleek and spanking look of the newly reopened Zara in Rockwell, Makati.
“As far as you can see, the customer can interact very easily with the products. It’s basically an open store, a very nice store in terms of spaces and the way you can interact with the clothes,” said Victor Herrero, managing director for Asia of the Inditex Group. Inditex is the Spanish multinational clothing company that owns Zara.
Herrero was the special guest of Stores Specialists, Inc. (SSI), Inditex’s local partner in the Philippines and Zara’s exclusive distributor here, when the popular fast-fashion shop gave an exclusive media tour Tuesday just before it reopened at PowerPlant at Rockwell Center in Makati. The Rockwell store is Zara’s first in the Philippines when it opened almost 10 years ago.
Herrero said it was important that the customer enjoys “a direct contact with Zara’s products in an interference-free and beautiful environment.”
The revamped look was first introduced in Zara’s flagship store in Fifth Avenue, New York, Herrero said.
With the new look taking over the store at Rockwell, spaces between displays are wider, there are more mirrors, and merchandise is easier to try on.
Herrero stressed that the customer is expected “to enjoy as never before the experience of feeling, touching, looking at, trying on and interacting with the merchandise.”
The revamped Zara now occupies levels R1 and R2 of the mall and encompasses more than 1,650 sq m, where the store’s latest Autumn/Winter collections for Woman, Basic, TRF, Kids and Man are displayed.
Each section is subdivided into boutiques with specific themes. The Man or Caballero section on the second level, for example, has Moda with the trendiest basics and staples; Gold features faux leather in blazers and jackets and tailored brocade, velvet and satin; and in Sporty, the key item is a quilted bomber jacket in navy and black.
Also on the second level is the Kids section that offers irresistible miniature versions of adult clothes. The Nino collection has a biker theme ensemble for toddlers that drew “oohs” and giggles from reporters.
Understandably, the Woman section on the ground floor has the widest choices, including the Blue and Gray theme that focuses on the normcore trend; Black Romantic featuring kimonos, romantic blouses and black dresses; and Holiday, which is heavy on teal and brocade, among others.
The ground floor has the Trafaluc line of clothes and accessories meant for the younger and trendier set.
There is now an escalator at the entrance so visitors can have easier access to the second level. There is also an elevator at the far end of the store so customers do not have to go back all the way to the front just to go up.
SSI executive vice president Anton Huang recalled standing on the same spot inside the original Zara when it opened in the Philippines nearly 10 years ago.
He noted that the fast-fashion market was just beginning to open up when Zara arrived in Manila in 2005.
“Zara was really the first to (come to the) market as far as the fast-fashion industry is concerned here in the Philippines,” he pointed out.
Huang added that the influx of fast-fashion brands coming into the country “is a testament to the fact that the Filipino consumer has come of age and it’s now at the stage in its life cycle where it is an extremely sophisticated market.”
He described this sophisticated client as “someone who knows what he/she wants and the kind of fashion to have on a daily basis.
“With growth in the market overall, the kind of offerings that Zara and its different peers have for our consumers, this is now the new norm. Fast-fashion is something that people look for, and want to wear regularly… It speaks for the increasing affluence and sophistication of our local clientele,” he reiterated.
Not a hindrance
Huang said that the absence of colder seasons in the Philippines is not a hindrance to self-expression or simply dressing better.
He noted that the sophisticated local shopper smartly distills coloration and silhouettes, for example, of autumn and winter ensembles in other hemispheres and adopts these to everyday wear in a tropical environment.
Huang said SSI’s successful initial public offering and the market’s earnest response to Zara and other brands that it distributes in the Philippines are reasons for more aggressive expansion plans.
“We will continue (to grow) our existing store network. We have 700 plus stores already in our network, covering 106 brands,” he said.
“We will make sure we have our ears to the ground and our eyes wide open in terms of new opportunities,” he added.