Zara is a designer brand now

Zara SRPLS ss24

Everyone’s talking about Rachel Tashjian’s Washington Post deep dive into the cult-like allure of Zara.

From its 1975 Spanish origins to its current position as global gateway to high end aesthetics, it’s certainly the brand of the moment for those who aspire to The Row, Bottega, Loewe et al on a non-luxury budget.

Tashjian spoke to a number of A-list fashion creatives who have worked with or are working with Zara. Think Fabien Baron, Narciso Rodriguez, photographer Craig McDean, hairstylist Guido and even Linda Evangelista, who modelled for Zara’s collaboration with Steven Meisel last autumn. “There’s no shame in [wearing Zara] — there’s pride in it. It’s not, ‘Oh I have Zara today, let me bang it out.’ There’s effort that goes into it,” says Evangelista.

Her quote reminded me of the mid-2000s ‘Primarni” years, when wearing Primark was a ‘savvy shopper’ badge of honour amongst fashion editors. Tashjian doesn’t mention this but instead refers to the high-low mix of pairing Phoebe-era Celine with Zara. While it was applauded at the time, by the eco-conscious mid-2010s, that thinking was out of favour.

Interestingly, I’ve never been a Zara girl and don’t think I mentioned Zara in my 2016 book The New Garconne* (which was all about those sartorial styling dualities: luxury x utilitarian; masculine x feminine; casual x formal). While I featured high street brands in my recommendations, they were the less trend-driven ones, because Zara was still considered to be unethical fast fashion and directly copying catwalk designers was not something one championed.

These days however (and despite its churn of product) Zara has successfully rebranded itself for the eco-minded fashion industry-savvy consumer. Thanks to founder Amancio Ortega’s daughter Marta Ortega Perez, who now runs the show, Zara is seen as stylish, aspirational and even somewhat ‘sustainable’, with a variety of sub-collections catering to the whims of every type of niche fashionista.

With creatives such as Steven Meisel, Joe McKenna and Karl Templer heavily involved, the details are as on point as your favourite luxury brand. “The evolution has been from good taste neutralism, almost like going to an amazing department store and you find all kinds of sub-collections,” says stylist Templer, who creative directed the latest SRPLS collection (above). I mean, even hairstyling royalty Guido has launched his own Zara haircare line. As he declares, “Zara is a designer brand now”.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Zara SRPLS collection/Craig McDean
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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