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Posts Tagged ‘Zara’

Zara Acts Fast to Pull Shirt That Resembles Concentration Camp Uniform

Zara has been trending all day for all the wrong reasons.

The retailer faced swift backlash to a striped children’s shirt decorated with a yellow star that looks like the uniforms worn in concentration camps during the Holocaust.

The company quickly took to Twitter to apologize individually to users who criticized the company for the item. The tweet above is repeated over and over and in a number of languages on its timeline right now.

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Garment Industry Opts for Makeover After Bangladesh Disaster

The factory collapse that killed more than 1,100 people in Bangladesh this April is by no means the first tragedy to strike the garment industry in recent years—but it does look like the culmination of an ongoing PR challenge that could reshape the way major clothing brands market their products. The earliest evidence of this change comes on social media, where companies that had operations in the factory have already begun responding to the demands of consumers and labor activists.

The New York Times reports that many businesses and industry groups now plan to follow the food industry’s example by offering the public more detailed information about how and where their clothes are made. H&M and Zara have agreed to sign a new “factory safety accord,” and major names like Disney, Nike, and Walmart may follow with campaigns designed to appropriate the “green,” “organic,” and “fair trade” themes favored by food and household goods marketers in recent years. The purpose of this material, of course, will be to highlight the brands’ corporate social responsibility efforts and distance them from horrific accidents like the one in Bangladesh.

It’s nothing new for fashion: upstarts like American Apparel began using their own “fair trade” practices as key selling points some time ago. Yet, despite AA’s success, retailers like Maggie’s Organics and Everlane (tagline “Luxury Basics. Radical Transparency.”) remain few and far between.

Not for long.

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Miss America Promotes All Canadian Brands at Public Appearances

Miss America Mallory HaganWe don’t follow the Miss America pageant too closely–we usually ignore it like we ignore Miss USA because we assume that Donald Trump is somehow involved.

We were pleased, on some level, to learn that the latest winner, Mallory Hagan, hails from Brooklyn (which is our longtime home, though we can’t claim it as our hometown), but we’re a little confused by her latest WWD interview

She confirmed that she won’t be attending FIT until another winner is crowned (OK, we get that) but refused to take the opportunity to promote some of her favorite designers, saying:

I will keep that to myself for now. When I’m done being Miss America, I will tell you a myriad of names.

…while listing Forever 21, Zara and H&M as her favorite stores (yeah, right). Then the interviewers asked her a more sensitive question: why will she be wearing only Canadian label Joseph Ribkoff at all of her public appearances as Miss America? We think this is a good question from a PR perspective, but she quickly shut the query down:

“It shouldn’t matter where the clothing comes from,” since her Miss America mission is more about broadening education and empowering women.

The answer: she’s wearing Ribkoff because it was one of the pageant’s main sponsors, along with cosmetics brand Amway Artistry. We don’t mean to go all nationalistic here, but isn’t it a little strange for a Canadian brand to sponsor the Miss America winner, much less the pageant itself? Surely there’s an American brand willing to step up and embrace a great PR opportunity like this one, right?

The World’s Greatest Brands: 2013 Edition

StarbucksNike Just Do It Welcome back, dear readers! We hope everyone had a great holiday and survived the crazy season in one piece despite hectic travel schedules, extended visits with the in-laws and borderline alcoholism.

The first of the many, many stories we accumulated over the break is an interesting one: a list of 2013’s 27 “World Champions” of the global branding game, brought to us by Citi and Business Insider.

According to Citi, these 27 brands have beaten all others when it comes to creating “significant and enduring business models over the long term”–and we covered quite a few of them in 2012. Our thoughts on some of the winners after the jump:

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How Zara Changed the Fashion World

Zara New York City retail branchYou know Zara. You’ve heard of Zara. You’ve seen Zara around. The mid-range Spanish clothing maker is now the world’s largest fashion retail brand. How big is it? Top rival H&M operates about 2,500 branches around the globe, while Zara’s parent company Inditex has more than 5,900–including more than 2,000 in Spain alone.

In the midst of a recession that’s proven especially severe in that corner of Europe, Zara rose to the very top of the fashion business.

Yet the most interesting aspects of the Zara empire are the things the company doesn’t do. It doesn’t create partnerships with top designers. It doesn’t try to label its products “upscale”. It doesn’t tweet very often, and it definitely doesn’t organize any one-off promotional stunts. Its founder, now one of the world’s richest men, refuses to give interviews.

The company doesn’t even create ads–that’s right, no ads at all. In fact, the PR rep who spoke to The New York Times during an extended magazine profile refused to give her name in keeping with her employer’s “modesty rules”. Not the kind of operation you’d expect from such a massive brand.

So how did the minds behind Zara create such a monster? To put it simply, they followed one rule: listen to your customers and respond accordingly by giving them what they want, not what you tell them they should want.

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