COCO CHANEL OR CREDIT CRUNCH?

Since the recession hit we see the letters CC and we no longer think of Coco Chanel. Desperate times call for desperate measures, as we take a look at what our favourite stores are now offering at a time when fashion is against the odds. 

A store always smells good… A store can awaken a lust for things you never knew you needed. And when your fingers first grasp those shiny, new bags.. oh yes!.. oh yes!.”

We hear this and realise that feeling we have, when coming face to face with those designer handbags is ‘normal’. I try to think of this when I take the long route home, avoiding retail therapy at all costs to prevent any impulse purchases. Even if I don’t need anything when I occasionally venture out, I still feel the need to buy something to feel that buzz of walking out being identified by the bags I’m carrying.

Every female is currently lusting after something new in the market. Whether it is a new Chanel bag, or that Dior lipstick in this season’s shade, we all have something in our minds to spend our next pay cheque on. H&M is the queen of designer collaborations, Matthew Williamson, Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney the list is getting longer.

Buying online is not an option when living in the UK leaving only one alternative, queuing outside in the December cold amongst the other eager women waiting to make your purchase. Is it worth all this when you could so easily browse online in the warmth of your home? Of course it is, their Jimmy Choos!

With fashion moving so quickly, we are at risk of losing all the traditional elements that we have grown to admire. With many of us now doing the majority of shopping online, we do not take in each brand individually. Walking into a designer haven, we admire the unique garments and we feel lucky to be there. It is only when we reach out to touch the soft cashmere and and our eyes glance to the assistant we let ourselves worry, do we look like we speak Prada? It is impossible to consume all these small important details, when you are looking at every store from the same minuet computer screen. Do we find it tempting to browse online at the new collection, rather than risk the vertical looks from the devil that wears the Prada?

We as consumers thrive off new experiences; as much as we are inundated with mundane stores, we are always looking for something exciting to surprise us. Many believe we just shop to feel good about ourselves or because we need to, I believe we do it to enjoy the whole retail existence. Great retail is an escape from our repetitive lifestyles, and due to the current economic climate we seem to be shopping less but demanding more from our experiences. We should feel overwhelmed when we enter a store, and feel like we never want to leave. Giving consumers a taste of the brand is how the addiction starts, it is like a drug. A new collection is released and we cannot sleep until we have had our fix.

Store cards are a great incentive for inviting consumers back into stores. Borrowing money from our favourite brands before the end of the month seems the answer to all our retail troubles, and these gold like cards can only be used in store. Fashion has gone digital, with many designers jumping on the bandwagon collaborating with technology. The Apple iPhone seems to be the most advanced and has now become the new accessory all Fashionistas should not be seen without. Shopping online has become so much more accessible as you can browse the rails of your favourite store right from your front room.

Psychology would have us believe that we are being kind to our bank accounts in this economic climate, by steering clear of stores. But does that not take the excitement away from the retail experience? We want to live and breath our favourite designer labels making us feel special and needed, a mutual relationship. Stepping into a beautifully merchandised store should be like finding a new world. You want to explore the merchandising and take in everything around you before you start buying. You find a new treasured pair of shoes that you feel you must have, and you want to be greeted in a fashion that makes you feel valued as a customer. Finally, you leave the store feeling exhilarated on a high, planning your return for that fabulous bag to go with your new Jimmy Choos.

 

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About Leanne Daisy Johnson

I am an aspiring young journalist currently studying an MA in Journalism with a background in Fashion Communication.
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