Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Copycat store


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.

7 comments:

Dandy Andy said...

The ZARA management thinks: This is China, a country, that doesn't give a rats s about originality, so we expected something like that. But Chinese have money, so screw the lack of democracy, the high rate of corruption, if we can turn a buck, that's fine to us.

Anonymous said...

Ok. So there's a store in the US called Urban Outfitters which is pretty popular. And then when I googled Urban Renewal there's a Phil Collins CD that uses THE SAME design of the UR logo (the CD came out in like 2003). Can these people come up with one original idea? Sheesh.

Don Tai said...

LOL I've never seen the layout and fixtures of a store copied. That would be extremely odd. Still, the clothing speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

typical of the chinese(in China) of having a group mentality...and no originally...

Jonna Wibelius said...

Hey all, we still don't even know who's behind this store... maybe it's an international owner? Although... I don't think so. Laughable, still. And yes, like Don Tai said: the clothing speaks for itself.

WoAi said...

Jonna I saw this a few months ago and took a photo and sent it to my brother in England. The reason is, I bought the UR CD which is a very good R&B tribute CD to Phil Collins - basically R&B artists like Deborah Cox and Brandy singing Phil Collins songs. The logo is identical so there's no way it's just coincidence. It reminds me of when I was in a small twon in Sichuan and I saw a Wayne Rooney clothing store.

Chrissie:Bear said...

Haha! This article is funny but good observation. I had my first visit to Shanghai this past 10-20 Dec, to me, even though I'm of Chinese-descent, the city is fascinating to me. And actually if you know the history of Zara, it's pretty the same as Urban Renewal. UR's logo is a direct rip-off of BANANA REPUBLIC, not Zara. As for the visual merchandising of the store, the "racks + bags on top shelf + shoes on bottom shelf" formula is Visual Merchandising 101 that high and low brands use (so it's a formula, rather than UR copying Zara). And darling, Zara's quality is equally poor AND Zara is a brand that replicates runway looks from brands like Celine, Calvin Klein, Proenza Schouler and many more. :) if you guys don't believe me, just google "Celine lookbook", then open up Zara.com, you'll see the website features coats, dresses, pants, blouses, shoes AND bags that are copied directly from other high-end brands like Celine or Chanel. ^____^ sorry to break your bubble!