Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kohls vs Topshop

This is a completely ridiculous comparison of two stores with completely different demographics but I had the chance to hit Topshop and Kohls this week and thought I would give you my impressions.

Topshop opened it's US flagship store in New York City, April 3, 2009 to great fanfare with it's own star studded premiere. I chose not to endure that mass hysteria that involved 3 hour long lines. I was in the neighborhood on Wednesday and stopped into to see what the fuss was all about.

Yes, I know I am not the demographic but I was just not that impressed by the clothes. I was expecting so much more interesting clothing but it all seemed so derivative and not very creative or original. Of course if you under 25, you don't remember that spandex and dayglo was in 20 years ago.

I was truly surprised at the cost, it is definitely higher than H&M which maybe I am wrong to compare but seem the closest. I am sure Europeans and the Brits would dispute my comparison.

I did find some tops that I liked but seriously the $50-$60 pricepoint was too much for what it was, a simple shirt. So not worth it, even if I had a job.

The Kate Moss collection was cute but derivative of so many other collections.

Alas, like H&M was when it entered New York City, it's a shiny new toy and will soon lose it's newness. Let's face, the store is in the heart of what has become a mall shopping zoo, formerly known as Soho. After awhile, I don't see that one will want to trek down their and deal with the tourists just to get a new outfit.

On to the other side of life Kohls. I made my yearly trek to Jersey City to head out to Target and the Newport Square Mall to get some new sheets and see what clothes were in the stores.

Don't get me wrong, I like Kohls. The layout of the store is clean and bright. Each category of merchandise is thoughfully (i.e. focused group to death) laid out so you can find items easily.

Now the bad part, the women's clothes are dreadful. I was so disappointed that I could not find one thing to buy or even try on. All their designer lines were just ugly. Vera Wang (did she really design this collection?), Daisy Fuentes (eh), Dana Buchman (who knew?), Elle (truly dreadful) and a few others..

Fashion is suppose to make you feel good and full of hope even if know you can't fit into it.

I walked around feeling like I was in some fashion hinterland. The colors, the fabrics, the way the clothes draped off the hangers. Just awful. I just felt sad.

And as I was walking around Kohls, the oddest notion popped into my head. If I had a choice between Kohls and Topshop, I would rather wear Topshop.

Even if I am not Topshop's demographic, at least I felt alive in the store and if push come to shove, I could have found something to buy. I felt dead in Kohls without a hope of finding even a shirt to buy.


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