Madrid — While major industry leaders here say nobody does it better, there are some heirs apparent nipping at Zara’s heels. How close is the competition?
Mango: Spain’s second-largest apparel exporter (women’s only) after Inditex, with 600 stores in 68 countries and forecast retail sales for fiscal 2002 of $1.6 billion. The chain, which manufactures the majority of its merchandise like Inditex, is currently targeting the European market, especially the United Kingdom and France, according to Salvador Vallés, of Mango’s expansion department. "These countries have a potential not yet exploited," he said. In addition, openings are scheduled this year in Bulgaria and Estonia. Last June, the Barcelona-based company opened its first Australian unit for a retail presence on five continents. As for the United States, "We plan to open stores in major American cities by 2005. But nothing is clear yet," said Vallés.
Sfera: a new division of El Corte Inglés, Spain’s only department store chain, officially launched earlier this month. Its product mix is similar to Zara’s, with trendy Gen-X women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, innerwear, accessories, cosmetics and a fragrance line at what it claims are "the most competitive prices on the market." To date, nine Sfera units have opened in Spain including three in outlying Madrid malls. A fourth store is planned for the end of this year on Calle Preciados, a shop-heavy thoroughfare in central Madrid, where retail neighbors include Zara and Bershka. Some of the new stores are previous Marks & Spencer locales. El Corte Inglés took over the M&S Spain locations in December of last year.
Cortefiel: Spain’s giant apparel manufacturer and retail conglomerate with seven divisions including Cortefiel, women’s/men’s; Springfield and Milano, men’s; Pedro del Hierro and Don Algodón, womens; Women’Secret, lingerie, and Douglas, beauty. Cortefiel operates a worldwide distribution network of 726 stores, plus 169 franchises and 24 retail "corners." There are no U.S. retail outlets, and none are planned — yet. "While we won’t close any doors, our current strategy is to consolidate the European market. So far, nothing is pending in the U.S.," confirmed a Madrid spokesman. On the other hand, Cortefiel has been struggling of late, with a 72 percent drop in net profits in the first nine months of fiscal 2002.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia