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Zara: ABlueMilitaryCoatRole of Design in theFashion Industry2FMM502.1Emily Wiley
Emily Wiley Zara: A Blue Military Coat Table of Contents 1. Introduction 2. Retailer: Zara a. Market position b. Operations c. Competition d. Core Customer 3. Garment 4. Colour Pallette a. Zara’s process for finding key colors relevant for their target customer. 5. Yarn and Fabric Fairs a. How Zara employees choose fabrics that are relevant for their target customer. 6. Presentation of Trends/ Mood Boards a. An explanation of how Zara researches trends. b. An example of what a Zara trend board might look like. 7. Garment Design a. Garment sketches from Zara b. The design process 8. Sample Collection a. The process in which Zara creates and decides on a sample collection 9. Buying a. An explanation of how Zara presents their customers with their sample collection. b. Customer profiles 10. Delivery a. The Delivery Process 11. Sales a. Zara’s past sales 12. Media Impact a. Media coverage of similar products 13. Conclusion 14. References2 Wiley 2FMM502.1
Emily Wiley Zara: A Blue Military Coat The first time I walked into Zara on Oxford Street, I was officially in love. As far as Iknow, there isn’t a Zara near my hometown in Texas, so this was a rare treat for me. Once Istarted my classes in London and started to learn more about this retailer, I knew they wouldbe my first choice for this assignment. They are one of the largest international retailers, andthey belong to Inditex, also very large, and an international distribution group (Zara). Inditexwas founded by Amancio Ortega Gaona, a clothing manufacturer who grew the business overa decade until he owned many factories and distributed merchandise all over Europe. The firstInditex store was Zara, which is originally Spanish, having begun in A Coruna, Spain in 1975.It has now spread to over 400 cities in Europe, both North and South America, Asia, andAfrica. Shortly thereafter, due to Zara’s success, more stores are opened in some majorSpanish cities. Inditex and Zara approach fashion with “creativity, quality design, and rapidturnaround to adjust to changing market demands,” which is just one of the reasons Zara is sosuccessful. Their business model is fully focused on being innovative and flexible, alsoattributing to their success. Throughout this report, I will be exploring the design process ofZara, and how they probably created a royal blue military pea coat. Zara’s position is in the middle to high end of themarket, due to the fact that it is affordably priced, but notnecessarily based on value. This is proven by Zara’s price,which is between $6.90 for a pair of socks to $399 for a coat.It competes directly with Benetton, The Gap, The Limited,and Top Shop, along with many others as you can see on theLondon high street (Sovereign). As for its operations, Zarasticks to the term fast fashion. It takes 4 weeks for an idea to3 Wiley 2FMM502.1
Emily Wiley Zara: A Blue Military Coathit stores, with feedback from store managers sent back to the corporate office to let themknow how their products have been selling, and what would make the customers happier.Spain, Zara’s founder, is under control of all its stores, keeping the lead times shorter,avoiding issues that can arise from importing and exporting from a different country, andallows Zara to keep to its roots (Lariviere, 2011). These are just a few of the reasons why Zarakeeps such a large client base. Zara’s core customer tends to be a sophisticated, fashionconscious woman aged 18 to 35. Zara also caters to fashion conscious men of a similar agerange as well as kids. The coat that I chose is a royal blue military coat, definitely a stand out item that embodies the current military trend as well as the color blue, a newer trend for the Autumn/Winter 2011 season. It is a part of the Zara basic line, and was positioned with the rest of this line against the back wall near a similar coat in black. It was made in Morocco, has a black lining and gold plastic buttons. The composition of the coat includes an outer shell made out of 60% polyester, 34% viscose and 6% elastic. The black lining is made of 100% acetate, giving it a satin-like feel. The fit is similar to a pea coat, with a slightly higher, stand up collar with buttons going all the way to the top, as well as a slightly fuller skirt. The vibrant blue color of this coat is one of the reasons I was drawn to it, and I was curious as to how Zara chooses which colors to use for their customer base. Looking at the color palette for Zara, I noticed a lot of beige and nude colors, as well as pops of burnt orange,different shades of sage green, black, dark and a slightly lighter purple, and gray. Brightcolors appeared shortly thereafter, with blues similar to the blue of the coat, reds, purples,4 Wiley 2FMM502.1
Emily Wiley Zara: A Blue Military Coatyellows, greens and pinks (Color Hunter). Colors like those listed previously are chosen byZara are not only based on their customer profiles, but also on the moods of their customers.Retailers are beginning to choose colors to create an environment, also known as colorpsychology, in order to enhance the likeability of the garments and increase their chances ofselling. By creating the desired environment for customers to shop in, which includes thegarments for sale, customers feel comfortable, and the store will then reflect the typical Zaracustomer (Retail Customer Experience.com, 2009). Like colors, Zara chooses fabrics in order to create garments that will reflect theirtarget customer best. However, they also have to keep up with their fast fashion model, whichis why they choose fabric that is less expensive. Zara chooses about 10,000 designs to go intostores, of which they have to make in possibly “five to six colors and five to seven sizes,”creating a realm of approximately 300,000 units in stock (Ferdows, Lewis, & Machuca,2005). Zara’s design team gets their fabric from their parent company, The Inditex Group,who completes the marking, cutting, and final finishing of the garments. External suppliersare given the fabric and other necessities from Zara when creating garments for Zara (FashionGear). These fabrics need to entail the typicalcustomer of Zara: sophisticated, fashion consciousand high quality. This is why Zara takes production offabrics into their own hands, and when not producinggarments on their own in Spain, provides all of thenecessary ingredients to their suppliers to creategarments that they know would sell. Next in the design process is mood and trend boards. Zara would create these afterresearching trends to decide which trends their customers would be looking for, and how toput a unique spin on them. Zara’s design employees attend “trade fairs and ready to wear5 Wiley 2FMM502.1
Emily Wiley Zara: A Blue Military Coatfashion shows in Paris, New York, London, and Milan” while also referring to “catalogs ofluxury brand collections” in order to decide which trends would be best for their customers(Ghemawat & Nueno, 2006). From this research, Zara designers would then be able to createinitial sketches based on what they think the typical Zara customer would like to see in stores.Creating trend boards is another way Zara would present ideas to managers as well asorganize their ideas for production. AZara trend board would probably looksomething like this:(The Attic People, 2011). Trend boardshelp designers to visualize their ideas,and put all of the trends that they wouldlike to incorporate in one place. Also,trend boards are useful when it comesto presenting ideas to a manager or customer, helping them to get an idea of what the designerintends to create, and what the basis for the design is. Next in the design process is the actual design of the garment. The design processbegins with researching of the trends, color choice, fabric choice, trend board creation andpresentation, garment sketches, sample collection creation, buying, delivery, and finally sales.This is all done by Zara’s team of 200 buyers (Harvard Business School, 2005). After creatinga trend board, Zara begins to create the initial sketches for a garment. In these sketches, theywill include the trends that they have researched, with a Zara twist to them, in order toembody what the typical Zara customer is looking for. A garment sketch from Zara wouldprobably look like this:6 Wiley 2FMM502.1
Emily Wiley Zara: A Blue Military Coat(Garroni, 2011). It is sophisticated, while still being fashionable, and is still in its first stages.Garment sketches could have notes explaining the fit, what it should be worn with, productionideas, color ideas, and possibly swatches of fabrics, or at least an idea of which fabric shouldbe used. This helps the designer to visualize their ideas, and to show the production team whatit is that they are looking for and how they the coat should be created. After this, the coat goesinto production and a sample is created. Sample collections are necessary due to the fact that the designer needs to see whatthey garment would look like after it is created, in order to be able to make adjustmentsnecessary to make the garment sellable. Also, the sample of the garment can be shown tobuyers as well as managers in order to be sure that the garment, in this case a blue militarycoat, is acceptable to be sold to customers. A sample is a good way to provide a prototype ofwhat will be in stores in the coming season. Without a sample of the coat, the designer wouldnot know if there are any necessary changes that need to be made, such as color, fabric, trim,and embellishment alterations, as well as changes in the shape and fit of the coat. After thesample is produced and approved, it can be presented to buyers and orders can start filing in.7 Wiley 2FMM502.1
Emily Wiley Zara: A Blue Military Coat The buyers from Zara play a large role in selecting products for stores in Zara. Theyhave to consider “customer demand, market trends, store policy, financial budgets,” fashiontrends, and what their customer wants in order to choose the right products for their customersand increase sales (Prospects). Zara’s buyers review current collections and bring in newproducts by deciding which ones are appropriate for their target customer. The designer ofthis coat would have presented to buyers of this nature in a meeting, and the buyer decidedthat it was appropriate for sale and purchased the sample. Shortly thereafter, the coat wouldhave been mass produced and put on the sales floor. Since Zara only sells their products intheir own stores, there are not buyers from other stores attempting to buy Zara’s products.Zara’s buyers are solely there to decide which items are appropriate for the target customerand whether or not they will sell well. They have been quite successful at this, given thatInditex “recorded a 9% increase in sales to €2.21 billion in the first quarter of its financialyear” (Keeley & Clark, 2008). Once these goods have been approved for the sales floor, they are mass produced, andthen delivered into stores. Zara has a reputation of bringing new products into stores everytwo to three weeks. Zara products are primarily manufactured by their corporate headquarters;therefore delivery lead times tend to be shorter, since a lot of their products are manufacturedin Spain. This makes replenishing the store with faster selling items easier. Stores receivedeliveries at least twice a week of new goods to replenish sold out products or simply to beput on the shelves for the first time. Goods are sent from the manufacturing hub to stores to beprocessed by the employees in the store and compared against what the corporate office hadordered. This process has to happen quickly and relatively often in order to keep up withZara’s reputation for changing their products so quickly (Casium, 2010). Customers lookforward to walking into Zara and seeing all new products every couple of weeks.8 Wiley 2FMM502.1
Emily Wiley Zara: A Blue Military Coat Zara’s sales tend to be very high despite the problems with the economy due to theirhigh popularity with customers, but have also showed signs of wavering every now and then,due to some customers cutting back and showing concerns over spending (Wallop, 2011).However, in the first quarter of 2011 Zara did extremely well, showing an 11% rise to €2.96billion. Zara is now worth “an estimated €32 billion,” which is amazing considering it was“founded on just €30” (Hume, 2011). Zara’s great design isone of the main reasons it manages to be so successful,simply by providing the customer with what they like. Media coverage is another secret to Zara’s success,simply by promoting the products and getting the word outabout new products and advertisements. Media coveragefor products similar to the blue military coat that caught myeye include Polyvore, a website that allows you to put lookstogether in a way similar to a trend board (Polyvore).Zara’s fall campaign for 2011 also included a coat similar to the one I chose, showing theluxurious coats that Zara offers for an affordable price (Fashionizers.com, 2011). Researching Zara’s design process for this coat gave me insight into what is involvedin designing for a major retailer, from choosing the right colors and fabrics to putting theproduct on shelves. The design process for this coat involved a large amount of research, andallowed me to see the amount of work that goes into one garment. The fact that Zaramanufactures their products themselves was an interesting fact as well, proving Zara’sproducts are worth the money.9 Wiley 2FMM502.1
Emily Wiley Zara: A Blue Military CoatBibliographyCasium. (2010, June). Retrieved January 3, 2012, from Fast Fashion:http://casium.fr/component/kashyap/bc_detail/111Color Hunter. (n.d.). Retrieved Janurary 3, 2012, from Zara Color Palettes:http://www.colorhunter.com/tag/zara/4Fashion Gear. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2012, from Zara:http://fashiongear.fibre2fashion.com/brand-story/zara/manufacturing.aspFashionizers.com. (2011, November 15). Retrieved January 3, 2012, from Zara The Mood Fall/Winter2011-2012 Campaign: http://www.fashionizers.com/fashion/zara-the-mood-fallwinter-2011-2012-campaign/Ferdows, K., Lewis, M. A., & Machuca, J. A. (2005, February 25). Harvard Business School . RetrievedJanuary 3, 2012, from Zaras Secret for Fast Fashion: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/archive/4652.htmlGarroni, L. (2011, April 11). Afingo. Retrieved January 3, 2012, from Sketches: Concept to Illustration,Ideas on Paper: http://www.afingo.com/articles/sketches-concept-to-illustration-ideas-on-paperGhemawat, P., & Nueno, J. L. (2006, December 21). Havard Business School. Retrieved January 3,2012, from Zara: Fast Fashion:http://www.carlospitta.com/courses/negocios%20internacionales%20y%20e-business/readings%20and%20papers/parte%209/zara%20%28harvard%20case%29.pdfHarvard Business School. (2005, February 2). Retrieved January 3, 2012, from Zaras Secret for FastFashion: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/archive/4652.htmlHume, M. (2011, June 22). Fashion. Retrieved January 3, 2012, from The secrets of Zaras success:http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/article/TMG8589217/The-secrets-of-Zaras-success.htmlKeeley, G., & Clark, A. (2008, August 11). The Guardian. Retrieved January 3, 2012, from Zaraovertakes Gap to become worlds largest clothing retailer:http://guardian.co.uk/business/2008/aug/11/zara.gap.fashionLariviere, M. (2011, March 14). The Operations Room. Retrieved January 3, 2012, from SomeNumbers on Zara: http://operationsroom.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/some-numbers-on-zara/Polyvore. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2012, from Zara Coats 2011:http://www.polyvore.com/zara_coats_2011/thing?id=45287467Prospects. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2012, from Retail buyer : Job description:http://www.prospects.ac.uk/retail_buyer_job_description.htmRetail Customer Experience.com. (2009, March 20). Retrieved January 3, 2012, from The Psychologyof Color at Retail: http://www.retailcustomerexperience.com/article/3517/The-psychology-of-color-at-retail10 Wiley 2FMM502.1
Emily Wiley Zara: A Blue Military CoatSovereign, R. (n.d.). Ezine Articles. Retrieved January 3, 2012, from Key Business Issues in SupplyChain Management: http://ezinearticles.com/?Key-Business-Issues-in-Supply-Chain-Management&id=1263097The Attic People. (2011, February 17). Retrieved January 3, 2012, from Suno Fall 2011:http://theatticpeoplevintage.blogspot.com/2011/02/suno-fall-2011.htmlWallop, H. (2011, September 21). The Telegraph. Retrieved January 3, 2012, from Zara owners salesgrowth slows after strong first half:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/8779181/Zara-owners-sales-growth-slows-after-strong-first-half.htmlZara. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2011, fromhttp://www.zara.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/home/us/en/zara-us-W2011Zara. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2012, from Company:http://www.zara.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/category/uk/en/zara-W2011-r/11112/Company11 Wiley 2FMM502.1