New territory
Carla Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - August 29, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - What or who is Zalora? The name has popped up more and more frequently in the past year. Those who are young, hip and in the fashion scene were the first to hear the almost lyrical and catchy name, which then slowly trickled into social media, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, reaching almost everybody who’s connected to the Internet (so, basically, everyone). The name rolls off the tongue, conjuring perhaps a woman’s proper name, both fantasy and fun, mystical and magical. And magical it is, since the very name Zalora is directly related to parcels discreetly arriving at your doorstep filled with treasure, a.k.a. clothes — and what is more magical than that?

The name has become a household staple, if your household happens to be one that regularly enjoys online shopping (and I know many YStyle households that do). As the Philippines’, and perhaps even Asia’s, most comprehensive online shopping destination, Zalora.com boasts a highly adept, easily navigated website boasting a collection of over 500 different brands including local and international fashion, shoes, accessories and makeup, becoming the quick, one-stop — and even one-day — delivery service of a fashionista’s dream.

Since starting in 2012, Zalora has been making waves not just in the Philippines but all over Asia as well. With exclusive distributing accounts tied to many local and international brands, going to the Zalora website is like going shopping in a giant mall encompassing around 10 countries, with an internal team for each country making sure that you get only the best of the best in fashion and lifestyle from all their hundreds of consigners, specially catering to each country’s fashion needs and weather conditions.

Now, just two years into the Zalora empire, they are taking their next big step: launching, with much fanfare, their own eponymous collection of RTW clothing, possessing the same broad scope as their website. Encompassing original designs for men and women, basics and teen apparel, along with shoes, bags and accessories, the first Zalora collection was showcased to the press (YStyle included) last Aug. 13, in a private viewing and an exclusive fashion show in Singapore, the central hub of Zalora operations.

At the M Hotel in Singapore, the crème de la crème of the fashion press were treated to an intimate Q&A with Avni Pundir, Zalora managing director and head of Private Labels, as well as the head designers of each of Zalora’s sub-categories along with physical samples of the products in order to see for themselves what all the fuss will be about. With a keen eye for detail as well as years of fashion design experience under their belts, the designers unveiled pieces from their respective collections to some very discerning experts, namely the press.

The Zalora brand is segmented into categories for easier perusal, namely Love Zalora (for the young and hip, focusing on trendy styles), Zalora Collection (with a fashionable slant towards everyday work-wear), Zalora Premium (focusing on more going-out and stylish, fashion forward designs) Zalora Basics for Women, Zalora Men (for the more masculine and fashion-conscious male), Zalora Black Tab (which taps exclusive one-of-a-kind designs and fabrics) and Zalora Basics for Men. Each category is meant to reflect the lifestyle of the many customers with whom Zalora has a direct communication — being able to predict what they want and when they want it based on sales from their website and the demands of their online customers, as well as looking towards market trends through blogs, real life weather conditions and runway inspirations, among others.

After the presentation, everyone was invited to have a more up-close and personal look at the many racks compromising the 100-plus piece collection, many of which will be made in moderate quantities to ensure a quicker turnover of products, thus ensuring Zalora customers are less likely to run into someone with the exact same outfit. Items of note in the women’s collection included a baby blue, laser-cut, architectural blouse, a deep green V-neck tuxedo dress and a gray marl jersey dress in just the right cut. The men’s collection, while not as wide as the women’s, was equally (if not more so) impressive, with discreet, baseball-inspired button-down shirts, well-tailored and double-lined bomber jackets, and track pants — a subtle nod to the street wear culture but with a fashion-forward slant — all made from thick, weather-appropriate, quality fabrics that could put other, more expensive brands to shame, since the most expensive items in the Zalora brand won’t exceed  — get this — P2,400. And that’s including outerwear and cocktail dresses.

That night at the exclusive Zalora launch party, the guests from all over Asia mingled in their most fashionable outfits (shout-out to #TeamPhilippines in the classic black and white), to celebrate this momentous occasion in Zalora’s short, but ever-expanding history. Though there was no dinner, the party was overflowing with specialty cocktails and delicious, homemade sweets. A fashion show with the best items in the collection turned out to be the highlight of the night (although the exciting raffle of a 24K gold cellphone was a close second) with high fashion models taking to the catwalk in the top designs of the collection, allowing everyone to see, up close and personal, the fit and movement of the Zalora brand in action. Some in the audience could be heard expressing an absolute “need” for the pieces showcased; a few more remarked on the cuteness of the models. The night wrapped up with a few more drinks at Black Swan, an exclusive cocktail bar in the center of Singapore, where guests continued to mingle with the ever-accommodating Zalora teams from other countries.

Indeed, there was excitement in the air for upcoming collection. So get ready to be blown away as Zalora fashion hits websites by end of August. Visit Zalora to see the full collection at zalora.com.ph.

AS THE PHILIPPINES AT THE M HOTEL BLACK SWAN COLLECTION FASHION INSTAGRAM AND TWITTER LOVE ZALORA ZALORA ZALORA BASICS
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