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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Fashion: TopShop from Across the Pond

    Crowds of fashionistas eagerly lined up in lower Manhattan early this month for the opening of TopShop, a popular British fast-fashion chain store. The New York flagship, which is the first TopShop in the United States, boasts 25,000 square feet of selling space spread out over four levels in a neo-Grec style building just off Broadway and Broome Street.

    Several construction problems delayed the store’s launch, originally set for last fall, and built anticipation for the April 2 opening. Owner Sir Philip Green, who told reporters that the new store is the best TopShop ever built, has suggested that it’s just the first of many U.S. locations.

    The 45-year-old chain already has a strong worldwide presence in addition to 300 stores scattered across the United Kingdom. Now TopShop hopes to achieve the same success that similar international fast-fashion chains, such as H’M and Zara, have achieved in the United States.

    The store will receive new shipments daily and will be stocked with 200-300 new styles every two weeks, according to Time magazine. This is an even faster rotation than that of Swedish retail giant H’M, which averages three weeks. Most American chains stock new designs every six to 10 weeks.

    Topshop can easily be compared to its fellow foreign fast-fashion chains, in that it constantly and quickly pumps out new styles to keep up with trends. The New York store is currently stocked with floral prints, statement jewelry, sky-high heels and a lot of suede and fringe. It also carries some unexpected pieces, such as a short, strapless party dress made out of the same cotton-polyester blend used for sweatshirts.

    But the one thing that really sets TopShop apart is the shopping experience it delivers. Former brand director Jane Shepherdson has referred to Topshop as a “fashion Disney” — a place that gets customers to return by entertaining and surprising them.

    The bright, lively new store is decorated with Union Jacks and fashionable mannequins lying on clothing racks and hanging from ceilings. Music pulsates through the store, whose main floor houses the latest clothing and accessory trends. The second floor is home to the popular Kate Moss collection and a boutique area featuring pieces by high-end designers like Jonathan Saunders. The lower level is reserved for TopMan, the brand’s men’s line, and nearly half of the top floor is dedicated to a shoe lounge stocked with trendy, geometric heels.

    Amazingly, accommodating salespeople staff the 32 fitting rooms, running out to grab pieces for shoppers who bring ill-fitting outfits in with them. There are two salon-style chairs for customers who desire a haircut in the middle of their shopping trip, as well as a manicurist. Topshop also offers free individual appointments with personal stylists who help customers pick out clothes and put together outfits.

    Another great surprise: TopShop offers 10 percent student discounts year-round. You’re gonna need them, because the only time the store reduces prices is during four sales every year. And although TopShop is most readily compared to H’M, its prices are significantly higher. Dresses average $80, blazers and jackets average just over $100, and leggings run for about $40.

    These prices in U.S. dollars are higher than what the exchange rate calls for. For example, a cute viscose empire-waist dress with frilly sleeves is listed for

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