Category extension is not something new to apparel focused brands. India and even globally, apparel brands have been launching their beauty range and are leveraging their existing reach and popularity in order to make it a success. Also, it's a natural progression for a fashion brand to enter into the beauty segment than any other product category, proviso the beauty-related products are well-appreciated.
Fast-fashion retailer Boohoo launched its beauty range in 2017 and is not the only brand to capitalise on this burgeoning industry. Brands like Primark, H&M, Topshop, M&S, Michael Kors and New Look, among many others, too have launched their own beauty collection. And it comes hot on the heels of apparel brands that are entering this segment and are excelling at it too. Add to this a top designer or an established cosmetic brand name behind it and voila – they have a successful brand extension.
The latest to announce an entry into the beauty segment is none other than Spanish fashion brand Zara.
Zara Beauty is the fashion behemoth’s first comprehensive, self-branded beauty line. The collection will be available in-store and online starting May 12.
Larissa Jensen, Vice President and Advisor in the beauty industry for market research firm NPD, affirmed that it makes sense that Zara is entering makeup, as it’s a space fashion brands have more authority, opposed to skincare, even though it’s performed better during the pandemic.
“Especially the way Zara is approaching it ... I think that makeup as a category could stand to benefit the most from this resurgence of positivity,” she added.
So, why is this exciting?
The Big Launch & What it Entails
Zara has mostly stayed away from the beauty segment besides launching a lipsticks range inspired by makeup artist Pat McGrath and a perfume collaboration with Jo Malone. In development, mostly remotely, for the past 18 months, the new launch which includes products for the lips, eyes, face and nails in over 130 colours, priced between US$ 8 to US$ 26 with refills starting at US$ 5, is developed with British makeup artist Diane Kendal with the slogan which says “there is no beauty, only beauties”.
Known for her painterly use of colour and commanding runway looks, Diane Kendal has ensured to bring Zara’s essence in the line with a key focus on colours. Zara Beauty is a joyful, saturated collection offering 130 shades across everything from matte lipstick to loose pigments, bronzer, blush palettes, highlighter, eye-shadow palettes, nail polishes and makeup brushes.
Zara has always been known for its wide-reaching, trend-spanning appeal and this is what the brand is applying to its make-up line. The brand has emphasised giving an 'inclusive and clean' status to its beauty line, in order to set itself apart from other beauty brands. While Zara lovers are not very used to thinking of the fast-fashion brand as clean, it has cited formulations in accordance with European regulations, which are much more stringent than in the US, as well as its commitment to refillable. It is important for the brand to position itself as clean as also inclusive in order to attract socially conscious Gen-Z consumers.
Emphasizing its 'inclusive' status, Diane Kendal created a series of different looks that were captured by high-profile names including Steven Meisel, David Sims, Marilyn Minter, Nadine Ijewere, Mario Sorrenti and Fabien Baron, who each shot and shared their own personal vision of beauty for the campaign.
Even as the pandemic has impacted the makeup category hard with consumers opting for bare faces during the lockdown, as against the skincare segment which has witnessed faster recovery, Zara has remained optimistic about the launch.
According to Zara beauty Director Eva Lopez, it was the right moment to appear for Zara.
She said, “Despite the numbers, there’s the reason for that optimism: as vaccinations are on the rise, experts predict a bounce-back for the colour cosmetics category. And as shoppers begin buying Zara’s staple products, they may just want to pick up a lipstick to go with them.”
While Zara has tick-marked every box or at least have tried to, it would be fascinating to see the brand’s beauty line’s performance in an already extremely competitive market where luxury brands, designers, apparel brands who influxes beauty segment, are already trying to excel the art of customer acquisition in the current scenario.