Attention Seattleites! Exciting news! A brand new shopping experience is now readily available to us and it’s right across from downtown Nordstrom! Spanish-based Zara (founded in 1974) boasts luxury and style that won’t break the bank.
This last week just before Zara’s opening to the general public, I along with other Seattle journalists and fashion bloggers were lucky enough to be given a private tour of the Seattle flagship store. After a short “mingle and munch” period (where cute fellas in white shirts and black aprons offered us appetizers) we were rounded up and divided into four groups for the official tour. As pointed out by our tour guide, when you first walk into Zara two things stand out instantly- the interior architecture of the building itself and the clothes housed within it. Split between two floors and divided by 4 different departments (two woman’s, a men’s and a children’s collection), the overall interior is clean and minimalist in design. As opposed to other retailers who use low lighting and distracting fixtures, the clean lines and elemental lighting allows the shopper to focus on the actual clothing.
Customer feedback determines the products and styles Zara will carry; by tracking consumer and fashion trends, Zara can have must-have items sitting on their shelves in record-breaking time. Each store carries merchandise that is applicable or relevant to the store’s physical location (i.e. Seattle might have more rain-related gear, while Moscow might carry heavier outerwear).
Our first segment of the tour started in the bottom floor which also happens to hold one of the women’s departments- the clean lines and lighting make it easy to distinguish between collections and each collection has it’s own name and style. An edgy collection featuring leather and leopard print is eye-catching to shoppers, especially with its accents of metal hardware, leather detailing and touches of crochet. A breezy yellow collection with jungle and botanical prints and pops of crisp white are not only fresh, but provide a sharp contrast to the gray weather of Seattle. According to our style guide, asymmetrical skirts, pleather tops and sheer accents are trending for spring, so those trends are incorporated into each collection. By far the most popular collection featured blush tones and touches of sparkle; pastel accents and textured fabrics complement and enhance the blush clothing. Also according to our style guide, Zara tries to incorporate every color in their collections in anticipation for spring trends and fashions.
Our tour of the children’s department came second and though it was very interesting and I learned that yellow, pink and gray is in for girls and turquoise, green and gray is in for boys, I found my attention drifting across the room to the men’s department. A sight to behold, the men’s department was larger than anticipated and housed at least 6 different collections. There is an African collection with leather jackets and animal prints; an eastern inspired collection has long tunic-like shirts and breezy fabrics. Of course, there is the conventional denim and tee shirt collection that can be found in most men’s retailers, but Zara also has an impressive suiting selections and our tour guide presented a couple suiting options that can be found only in the Seattle location.
After the tour concluded, the four groups dispersed to shop for themselves-I went back to the blush collection to see if there was anything I couldn’t live without (thankfully I was able to exercise some discipline!). My tour of Zara was informative, inspiring and exciting; if the featured collections are any indication, Zara is going to be destination hot spot for anyone coming into the city to shop.
So Seattleites: if you’re looking for something new to spice up your shopping experience or you happen to be on your lunch break from your job in the city- head over to Westlake Center. Grab a drink from the corner Starbucks and be inspired by what Zara has to offer.
**(And for those of you not residing in the Seattle/Washington area, with 49 stores nation-wide, I’m sure you can come up with some excuse to make a trip to Zara a shopping priority.)