Every once in a while, I like to try to see things as if I'm seeing them for the first time. It's fun to remember the wonder and excitement that accompanied my first meal in Seattle, for instance. We ate at the Triangle in Fremont. Built to Spill was playing and I had just seen the sign in Fremont claiming the neighborhood as the "Center of the Universe". Built to Spill on the speakers, reference to one of their songs on the sign, it was meant to be. So every once in a while when I drive through Fremont, I try to imagine that this is my very first time seeing the sign and the bridge once again. I can almost hear the music.
Where am I going with this? Zara, Dear Reader. I am going to Zara. Tomorrow, you'll be able to go on your own. But today, I'll do my best to take you with me and we can both experience Seattle's very first Zara — a flagship store, in fact — for the first time.
At the press party this morning, my friend Ritzy, stylist for local eyeglass company, Rivet & Sway, told me that every time she visits a city with a Zara, she MUST visit the retailer during her stay. You'll soon see why.
Totally on trend, Zara has a unique system focused on listening to customers and having them (that means YOU) drive trends. EVERY DAY, the managers call Zara's headquarters in Spain to provide the day's feedback on what customers like and don't really care for. Then, the designers take that information and run with it.
Small production batches give the brand a "constant ability to change," in the words of CCO Jesús Echevarría (he presented at this morning's event.) Designers never repeat the same garment twice and the company doesn't advertise because, let's face it, by the time the ad posts, the garment could be gone. In less than two days from the call to Zara HQ, driven by customer feedback, the new garment hits the stores.
It's incredible. Zara's parent company (home of 9 brands) is the world's largest clothing retailer, so it's equally incredible that the company is also committed to sustainability. The Seattle store is a "smart store" that saves 30% on emissions.
There's simply too much to include for one blog post, so I'll break the information down in an additional post or two.
Here's what you need to know to hit the store first thing tomorrow:
Slim, affordable suits for men. On-trend fashions for women. Something perfect for the adorable urban kid. It's all there. Plus, there are shoes. Believe it.
2. Follow the lines.
You'll notice that there are lines along the ceiling of the store. Those are intended to guide shoppers. Take advantage of this subtle analog navigation system.
3. Shop the trends.
Zara focuses on specific trends and color stories for each season. The store is divided into cubes and each cube includes items from only one trend. Every item in the cube can be paired together. No need to figure out how to mix and match, the good people at Zara have done this for you.
4. Get it while you can.
Every 18 months the layout of the store changes and as I mentioned, the company relies on small production batches to keep things fresh so inventory is constantly shifting. Short story- if you like it, buy it. It may not be available the next time you visit.
Tonight I'm headed to the cocktail reception for the store. Waking up to Zara and then falling asleep post-Zara. A day of dreams, indeed. The store opens to the public tomorrow at Westlake Center. Let me know what you find!