Tuesday, October 19, 2010
On Saturday we were out walking, browsing the shops on Huaihai Lu, and I was just about to suggest a visit to Zara, when I saw something new in the corner of my eye: there, next to Zara, was a new (? –well at least to me it was) shop called UR –Urban Renewal.
-Hey, what’s that place? I asked my boyfriend. From the advertisement in the window, it looked quite nice (a nice looking camel coloured jacket a la 299 rmb –come to mama!). Also, it was located next to Zara where we were going anyway, se decided to do a de-tour and stepped inside for a peak.
Once inside it hit me that even though I’d never been in the shop before, everything still seemed so familiar. Same clothing setup with colour coded racks and then bags on top shelves and shoes on the shelf space on the floor. Independent racks with belts, low tables with knitted jumpers… all the working staff wearing black suits…. Hang on a minute.. it was exactly like… ZARA!
Once it hit us we couldn’t get over it. Urban Renewal was not only located next to Zara, but had copied Zara’s clean cut concepts entirely. The only difference was the actual clothes. The UR clothes lacked both in terms of style and quality and simply looked cheap.
I know that some years ago, this was a super common concept in China: successful western furniture store neighbours a Chinese copycat store with worse quality and cheaper prices. Still, I’ve never been inside such store myself, and it was something between amusing and weird to see it with your own eyes. I wonder what the Zara management thinks. On the other hand, they might not waste energy on being upset, because the two stores definitely don’t attract the same type of customer. After browsing aisles of cheap and tacky looking clothes at Urban Renewal, we headed straight to the “real” thing next door, where everything (at the first sight) looked kind of the same, but then, at a closer sight, looked so much better.