Fast fashion is adorned with luxury attire

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Coat from the new Zara Atelier line, photographed by Paolo Roversi.

On this December morning, a stone’s throw from the Paris Opera, at 2 rue Halévy, the Zara store welcomes its customers with a new installation: at the entrance, a space with immaculate white ground and adorned with mirrors. been fitted out. In its center, couture mannequins are dressed in luxurious coats: embroidery of sequins, fringes of feathers, colored brocade, jacquard of metallic threads, cross-stitch details… The label of the pieces praises the craftsmanship and presents the new concept of the Spanish brand called “Zara Atelier”.

A special team of designers came up with this first collection of essentials. Six overcoats, ponchos and capes published in limited series, sold between 299 euros and 399 euros – prices three times higher than those usually charged by the brand. To top it off, the famous fashion photographer Paolo Roversi, more used to working for luxury houses and magazines, signs the visuals.

In mid-December, the Spanish giant also unveiled a forty-three-minute Christmas film signed by director Luca Guadagnino, a regular collaborator of big names in fashion such as Dior and Ferragamo.

“These brands are starting to move upmarket, seeking to change the way we perceive them. »Gachoucha Kretz, associate professor of marketing

In September, already, Zara surprised by collaborating with the sharp German label Kassl Editions. A month later, the other Spanish fast fashion brand, Mango, unveiled with great fanfare its line of classics created by Danish designer and influencer Pernille Teisbaek at the chic Louise Roe gallery in Copenhagen. “By communicating on know-how, by developing more qualitative materials and timeless models in limited quantities, these brands are borrowing the codes of luxury. They are starting to move upmarket, seeking to change the way we perceive them ”, emphasizes Gachoucha Kretz, associate professor of marketing at HEC Paris.

This year, Stradivarius (Inditex group) launched its artistic sponsorship project – here again, a well-established luxury label strategy. The idea? Giving visibility to emerging talents by exhibiting their works in stores and transforming them into ” Art Galeries “ – according to the words of the brand.

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At the moment, four artists are thus propelled on the front of the stage: the painter Agnieszka Kostka, the embroiderer Cécile Davidovici, the illustrator María Melero and the mural artist Francesca Guicciardini. As for H&M, the Swedish brand is now associating itself – at odds with the collaborations that made its glory with world-renowned designers such as Isabel Marant or Karl Lagerfeld – with confidential names such as Sabyasachi Mukherjee, the Indian designer, or Toga Archives , the Japanese brand.

Silence the critics?

Regularly denounced for their anti-ecological practices, accused of reproducing the silhouettes of the parades of luxury brands even before they are in store, little talkative about their manufacturing methods, would the fast fashion brands seek to silence the reviews? “It’s as if they wanted to redeem their legitimacy through a creative consciousness. With these initiatives, they are positioning themselves as creators capable of producing something new and not just as copiers ”, emphasizes Morgane Pouillot, strategic planner at Leherpeur Paris, a forward-looking and creative strategies consultancy agency.

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Selon Gachoucha Kretz, “To operate their responsible transformation, these brands are forced to ask themselves the question of reducing production volumes. By going upmarket, they are betting on limited editions and increasing their prices to maintain their level of profitability. However, we can regret that this movement is not accompanied by transparency over their entire value chain. ”

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These historic brands are also increasingly overwhelmed by what is called “fast fast fashion”, embodied in particular by the Chinese brand Shein, which manufactures even faster and at lower cost. Faced with such competition, they have no choice but to reinvent themselves. Will the customer follow?

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Fast fashion is adorned with luxury attire