Vintage leather pencil skirts, rose gold hair barrettes imported from France, and hand-made authentic furniture are neatly displayed in a shop called Avenue Boutique on the east side of Tucson.
A few miles southeast of Avenue Boutique, Charlette Padilla teaches Omni- Channel Retailing, a course designed to teach students about the unlimited ways to consume products through different online shopping platforms.
Arizona style is transforming through modern techniques of marketing but the foundation of classic Arizona fashion dates back to before the online world revolutionized how consumers bought clothing. The challenge now is to give consumers the same shopping experience they have in a store, but online as well.
“Once upon a time, designers would dictate the fashion trends. This phenomenon was part of the trickle–down theory. However, the consumer is now dictating to the fashion designer,” says Padilla.
Padilla explains that after the Internet, the roles of the fashion industry changed. She says today, her students are creating their own individual style. “They found their own liberated fashion according to their personality, experience and way of life as a student.”
Today, style is a reflection of experiences whether someone is inspired after viewing the most recent designer spring collection on Instagram, clicking through the trending hashtag on Pinterest, or throwing a funky colored flannel on because it was the first item in the downstairs coat closet and it’s cold outside.
“Before the Internet, I would state Arizona fashion was influenced by denim, cowboy boots, turquoise jewelry, broom stick skirts, white cotton tops, and squaw dresses,” says Padilla. In other words, Arizona style was subjective by locality.
Padilla explained that some people forget that Tucson has been around since the 1700s. The southwest city is known for turquoise stones, Native American inspired clothing and cowboy boots; the ultimate epitomized American fashion staple.
“Sometimes I wonder if Ralph Lauren visited Arizona in the 50s and 60s and copied the southwest fashion,” says Padilla. She explains that style is originated from where a person lives and through different retail channels. Someone else on the other side of the globe can adopt a new trend.
According to Forbes.com, Omni-Channel Retailing is a “reflection of the choice that consumers have in how they engage a brand, and therefore is best represented as how brands enable their clients and consumers to use these channels to engage with them.”
The Omni-Channel Retailing concept is the multiple ways in which consumers can go shopping via the Internet including eCommerce sites, social media outlets like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, and mobile applications that are designed for people to shop from their phones. The choice is up to the retailer on what kind of experience they want their customers to have.
Different online outlets promote style, which then helps create inspiration for people to go shopping in a physical space, explained Alexis Mosij, owner of Avenue Boutique. If a shopper is on Avenue’s blog showcasing a new denim trend, this could encourage them to search for the item in a store.
“I think people are drawn to the desert, it’s a really unique landscape, I mean, it’s magical and is a unique combination of textures and colors,” says Mosij.
When the fashion industry started shifting to online, Mosij created a blog, Thirty Fifty, to transform the style in her store, to an editorial layout online. The website mirrors the boutique’s initial vibe of simple décor and sustainable fashion.
Thirty Fifty is attached to her online store, so shoppers from New York and San Francisco can purchase items, which enables them to make up most of Avenue’s online revenue.
Mosij admits that keeping up with her online platform isn’t easy, but without it she wouldn’t be able to expose her desert-chic inspired style to the rest of the world.
Although there is no definite answer on how to market style, the Retail Systems Research latest study in 2014, “eCommerce in Context: Coping With Maturity,” the U.S. Department of Commerce reports “that sales from physical stores equals more than 93 percent of all retail sale.”
The study explains that with the technological growth in the retail industry, and more consumers in this generation shopping through the convenience of the Internet, online retail will be creating more revenue in the future.
Today, accessing style through the Internet circulates trends globally. This encourages the shopper to go into the store and try on items for themselves.
“Now, people still love the in person experience it’s just that people are more educated by pre-looking online before they actually go in and buy,” Mosij added.
Britt Theodora is a reporter for Arizona Sonora News, a service from the School of Journalism with the University of Arizona. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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