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A new Zara store, only the second in South Africa, opens today at Gateway – my local mall. I have long admired Zara from afar and before you write me off as living up to my ‘diva’ moniker, let me explain the allure of Zara for me.

Zara is an iconic store which is fashion forward, for sure, but its real beauty lies in the ability to translate high fashion into high-street fashion, creating wearable interpretations of the trends. That’s what all chain-stores do though, you may protest. Yes, but the fact that sets Zara apart is the speed and regularity at which this happens – new items are brought into the store twice a week! It can take other brands months to follow a trend from spotting to shelves yet Zara does it in mere weeks.

They will also work to your suggestions and ideas, apparently, and I am eager to see how this will happen. I am one of those women who hates to find that I own, let alone that I am wearing, the same item as someone else and the fact that Zara will not stock piles and piles of the same things is also very appealing to me. I also like the idea that each store itself in unique and tailor-made to the clientele that will frequent it. I am interested to see how they have interpreted Durban, aren’t you?

I am a passionate supporter of local design and own many items created by talented Durban designers such as Leigh Schubert and Miss Moneypenny, as well as other South Africans, and will continue to support them as vehemently as ever but having a big, international brand like Zara arrive here-by-the-sea is a matter of allowing us more choice.

The fact that Zara has decided to open a store at Gateway is also a great endorsement for the buying power and fashion-consciousness of Durbanites, which has been ignored by the big, international brands for too long, if you ask me.

So, I am counting the minutes until I can get to Zara Gateway this afternoon and hoping that I don’t find the same thing as my sister did at the launch of Zara in Melbourne last year – a store perfectly appointed to showcase dresses, coats, skirts, shoes and bags, all of which had sold out in the first few hours of the opening!

Zara, wait for me – I’m coming!

PS. I will put up some pics of the new Zara Gateway this evening.

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