By Renae Leith
Years ago, and not that many years, it was so exciting to go just about anywhere outside Australia as everything was so different. From food to culture, there were new experiences and adventures at every turn.
Ok, so the adventures are still there to be had but the thrill of shopping outside Australia has just about evaporated.
Global brands like Sephora, Zara and Top Shop held such wonder, as we scoured their foreign stores like tigers in Africa, hunting our prey, finding the best buys at the best prices, and returning with bulging suitcases and the latest designer fashion items way ahead of the Aussie trends.
It was so much fun. It was a way to be unique amongst our peers, and a way to wear designer rip offs (often better than the designer originals) with style.
All of that is over now.
The internet was the first obstacle put in the way of our international shopping trips, as suddenly we could purchase international designer labels at the click of a mouse, and have them delivered in days. But we couldn’t feel the fabrics, or try things on, so often the ASOS, Balmain, YSL, or Michael Kors packages arrived only to be sent back as the size, colour or style wasn’t what we’d hoped for.
But once the stores opened here, they took even more of the chase away. Many shoppers – including me – have had negative experiences at Zara in Australia, as the quality doesn’t seem the same as the garments on offer in Europe and the US. Popular opinion is that more of the garments in Australia are manufactured in China and India and less in Spain, meaning we often get inferior product.
That stat is yet to be confirmed, but what is certain is that the zips on Zara product sold in Australia stick and break at twice the rate of the European garments, at least they do based on my own circle of Zara fans. It’s disappointing.
But what is even more disappointing is to travel all the way to London or New York, pick up a stunning piece from Zara or Top Shop there, only to see it in our stores a month or so later, and in every bar and shopping mall within weeks.
So here comes H&M with a super store. They dabbled with a small store out at Macquarie Park, but this sounds like the real deal. We can now wear exactly what our friends are wearing all over the world – possibly at the exact same time. Maybe we should create a Facebook page “Global Fashion Snap” where we all pose in the same stock in our respective cities.
It reminds me of prison uniforms We are all just same, same.
Maybe I am old or heaven forbid, getting old, but I miss the days of the corner store, and the gift from a girlfriend just back from Europe with a never-before-seen bracelet to bring me that tiny bit closer to the mystique of foreign adventures. Now there’ll be 4 on the wrists of girls in the restaurant we are sitting in.
The best advice I can give you is to wear all of you H&M gear right now, before it’s too late, and hail the local Aussie designers slaving away for small profits – time to check them out again and give them our cash.
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