Foreign fashion brands coming in. Love ’em or hate ’em?
Ashley Gordon from Clayfield says, “The idea of Brisbane keeping up with the rest of the world with fashion is great, but I’m also very supportive of Australian brands – like Cue, Witchery and Country Road (which all sell relatively affordable but quality pieces) and designers like By Johnny for something more special.”
Talks about Zara and H&M coming in to Brisbane have been going on for a long time. An internet search will show you conversations about this as far back as 2011. And then last December, Topshop set up shop changing the face of Albert Street.
Before the arrival of the British brand, no one really knew how local fashionistas or even local business owners would react to it. At the VIP launch night, I spoke to one of Brisbane’s most talented fashion designers, Gail Sorronda who said, “I’m curious to see how it affects us. But Topshop has different customers. It’s a different world.”
The next morning, hundreds of young boys and girls lined up with several Topshop fans waiting 17 hours on the pavements. But on the other hand I could also hear chatter outside the shop saying, “Oh, just can’t be bothered. It’s another fast fashion label.”
Recently, Australia’s first Armani Collezioni store and Queensland’s first Ted Baker opened as part of Indooroopilly Shopping Centre’s $450M redevelopment. “I have been looking for the perfect location in Brisbane for some time now and the new extension of the Indooroopilly mall is the perfect home for Ted,’ said Ted Baker. Indeed, more and more foreign brands are heading this way.
Will the influx of foreign brands hurt the local labels? Gordon adds, “Sometimes in the past it’s felt like Brisbane is a bit “behind” than say Sydney and Melbourne! It provides more competition for our local brands, but I think again the strengths of some of our retail stores like Witchery are evident,”
Photographer Taylor Perren says, “I think the Brisbane fashion scene would really benefit if we had the likes of Zara, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Acne Studios, Selfridges, Primark and Saks”.
I’m leaning towards what Perren and Gordon said. Brands like Sportsgirl and Sheike seem unfazed by all this. And definitely local gem Designer Archives have been doing (very!) well, they just expanded their shop space to double that of the the old store in the prestigious Wintergarden Queen Street Mall. Princess Polly and Latin Clothing Company insiders also shared with me that they are not afraid of big brands coming in because what they are offering is unique and more personal. In fact, it could add excitement to the whole shopping scene.
Luxury lover Ronny Nahas from Mt Ommaney says the arrival of foreign brands “excite me because Brisbane is finally embracing more culture in the form of fashion. (Brisbane is) still a conservative dressed city so hopefully these stores will help break that boundary. I think we need more department stores like Barney’s or Saks or make David Jones stock more international brands.”
What do you think of foreign brands coming here? Love ’em or hate ’em?