For years, Zara used to be one of my favorite places to shop at. Especially, back in the days when I was a student I used to buy most of my clothing there. Prices were cheap and as we all know, cheap clothes can be really hard to resist. So, I fell into the fast fashion rabbit hole. I must admit that at that time I didn’t really care about the consequences of buying fast fashion, and quite frankly, not many people were speaking out publicly on the subject just yet. However, in the current age of the internet and social media, information spreads incredibly fast. In 2013, the Fashion World has changed in a blink of an eye, after the Rana Plaza Clothing Manufacturing Complex in Bangladesh collapsed, killing over a 1,000 garment workers. That’s what made consumers start questioning the true cost of their $5 t-shirts, forcing the dark side of the fast fashion industry to be finally revealed.
Don’t get me wrong, I still shop in Zara, but these days I am doing it consciously. I carefully think over my purchases. There are also several categories of items in Zara that I don’t shop from. You know, over the years that I’ve shopped at Zara I’ve accumulated a lot of shopping experiences. Many of them were positive, while others weren’t so good. Today, I would like to share with you the top 5 things that I believe, you should not buy from Zara.
Disclaimer: This “no-buy” list is just my personal opinion. In no way I am insisting that you shouldn’t be purchasing these items from Zara. In fact, some of the items I mentioned might be among your favorites and totally work for you. I am just mentioning the things that unfortunately, didn’t work for me.
Probably, the most obvious category of items that you shouldn’t buy from Zara, or from any other fast fashion retailer, is jewelry. I must admit, most of Zara jewelry is very eye-catching and appealing. Zara is known for taking inspiration from luxury designer brands and it really shows in their designs. However, when it comes to fast fashion jewelry, it’s not the same kind of quality. If you want to sell something cheaply, you must produce it cheaply. That being said, fast fashion retailers often compromise on the quality. Fast fashion jewelry is made from cheap metals like alloy, nickel and brass. These metals degrade very quickly. It is very likely for fast fashion jewelry to fall apart after just a few wears. Then, nickel and brass are the metals that often cause allergic reactions. Hey, I am actually allergic to nickel! Would I risk wearing something that can be potentially dangerous to my health? No, thank you. I’d rather invest into better quality jewelry that would last me for years. Talking about the better quality jewelry: there are a plenty of affordable high-quality jewelry brands out there. Two of my favorite are Missoma and Monica Vinader.
2. Trousers (pants)
I used to buy trousers in Zara. However, I cannot recall a pair that I wouldn’t have to take to the tailor. There was always something wrong with the trousers. They were either too long, too wide, or something simply wasn’t right with the fit. These days, I truly believe that there is something weird going on with the sizing of Zara trousers. I tend to wear the size XS (extra-small). Zara’s trousers in XS are always too small for me, while their trousers in S (small) are always too big. Luckily, a good friend of our family is a tailor. Actually, she mentioned multiple times, that I am not the only person bringing her the trousers from Zara for alterations. I guess, that’s good to know!
It is incredibly frustrating when your favorite piece of clothing gets stained. Unfortunately, denim jeans are often the ones that we blame for staining our other clothes. I wouldn’t recommend that you buy denim, especially, the darker-colored denim in Zara. One of the older pairs of dark blue Zara jeans that I own (bought them several seasons ago), still leaves a lot of dye in the water every single time that I wash them. I always sort clothes by their colors before washing them, as well as, follow specific wash guidelines if there are any. I am also aware that washing dark-colored denim in lower temperatures might help with preventing color fading and transfer. However, this advice doesn’t seem to work with my dark blue Zara jeans. Perhaps, the dye they use for denim at Zara is simply too strong!? By the way, I also own several pairs of dark blue jeans from Levi’s and Wrangler and they behave absolutely fine during the wash. However, both Levi’s and Wrangler are the brands that specialize in denim. Which brings me to another thought. Maybe, when it comes to denim, instead of shopping for it at fast fashion retailers like Zara, we should go for brands that specialize in it?
Another quite obvious category of items that I wouldn’t recommend you to buy from Zara or any other fast fashion retailer, are shoes. While fast fashion footwear is a really attractive buy due to its sweet price tag, it has several major disadvantages. Obviously, these shoes are very cheaply made which means that they are very likely uncomfortable and will fall apart after just a few wears. Comfort is a decisive factor for me when shopping footwear. If the shoe isn’t comfortable enough, I am not going to buy it. Materials also play a very important role. In the fast fashion world, shoes are often made from really cheap, synthetic materials that don’t last and simply, aren’t good for your feet. If you are going to buy fast fashion footwear, make sure to do your research. First, pay attention to the materials. If you are shopping online, then definitely, check the reviews. Also, don’t buy classic shoe silhouettes at the fast fashion retailers. Basically, any pair of shoes that you are planning to rely on for longer periods of time should be purchased at the retailers that you know you can trust. Everlane.com is one of my go-to places to shop for the classic shoe silhouettes. Every item from Everlane is made in an ethical and sustainable way. You might want to check them out!
5. Designer-inspired Bags
I’ve never bought a handbag from Zara, or from any other fast fashion retailer. To be honest, I don’t think that I ever will. Here is why. Fast fashion brands are ruining our perception of luxury. I’ve been buying “designer” for years and it hurts to see how easily fast fashion is ripping off famous designer brands. Yes, I know, dupes are legal. However, some handbag dupes look nearly identical to their “real” versions. In Zara you can find cheap dupes for the popular at the moment designer bags. I heard many people say that buying a designer-inspired handbag in Zara is a great way to test out the design before committing to spend thousands on the “real” designer version. Really? How many people actually went on to purchase the designer version of the bag after trying out the dupe from Zara? A dupe in no way is going to give you an accurate impression of the designer item! Why do we buy luxury bags? We buy them not only for the brand name and design, but also for the craftsmanship, which is synonymous with premium quality and longevity. The craftsmanship is exactly what the fast fashion industry lacks. This is why I believe you shouldn’t buy designer-inspired bags from Zara or from any other fast fashion retailer. If you cannot afford “designer” yet, check out brands like Coach, Kate Spade and Tory Burch. They offer fabulous bags at somewhat affordable prices. Actually, the Coach Cassie bag (the bag retails for $350 in the United States) has received great reviews from the luxury fashion communities both on Youtube and Instagram. It’s a bag that many designer handbag lovers own and wear. It’s also in my wishlist!
I hope this blog post has been helpful!