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Reflection

June 14, 2010

I want to go back. Now!

I learned so much from this class. Fashion/shopping in London, fashion/shopping in Prague, and different cultural norms. Although we were only abroad for three weeks, I feel like I learned an endless amount about Europe.

Fashion and shopping in London was all about status, name brands, social interaction, uniqueness, and individuality. People shopped to spend time with their friends, add to their own unique wardrobe, and make an event out of shopping for the day. Londoners love getting together with friends and walking around the streets and shops. They also love to be their own person. Outfits range from basic and conservative to eccentric and bold. Even the most plain outfits were spiced-up with colorful accessories or unique pieces. People were concerned with name brands but made the pieces their own. Our culture code for London shopping was “Martini” because it represented the fun, social aspect, and variety of shopping.

Fashion and shopping in Prague was a whole different story. The city is still deeply rooted in its history – meaning the buildings, traditions, and fashion are still much the same as they used to be. Our culture code – “Fuctionality” – perfectly described Czech people’s perception on fashion and shopping. They shop for specific occasions and specific purposes. The weather and their travel plans affect their clothing choices. Name brands are not important. Megamalls and hypermarkets are slowly becoming popular, but many people still shop at local markets and shops. The old generation vs. new generation of shoppers is very defined. “Functionality” is what Czech people consider when shopping.

Besides specifically learning about fashion and shopping, I learned a great deal about different cultures in general. The food was vastly different in both places – in my opinion, London’s fish and chips were no match for Prague’s goulash and schnitzle. Londoners were friendly and bubbly, while Czech people were more reserved and quiet. Public transportation was big in both cities, as was the importance of a great beer.

I’ve never been to Europe before, so this experience was unreal. I truly had an amazing time and will never forget the places I went to, the things I experienced, and the people I spent the three weeks with.

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Reflection of Global Brand Tracking in EU

June 13, 2010

Throughout the exploration of cultural code in UK and Czech Republic, I believe that cultural code is able to help marketing professionals to find out the deeper meaning of the products in consumers’ lives. It’s the emotion connection that helps consumers to love the products, to be loyal customers and give referrals.

Moreover, cultural code provides marketing professionals a lot of potential opportunities to develop new products, expand target market as well as to improve customer service. Nowadays, most brands attempt to strengthen the relationship with customers through interaction. The consumer insights from cultural code are likely to create more topics and approaches for professionals to engage consumers more effectively.

Observation in ethnography marketing is not the hardest part. How to apply the cultural perspective to explain consumers’ behaviors and always keeping an objective standpoint is quite difficult. Ethnographers are not required to know a lot about the products or brands but also everything related to the cultures, economy and politics of the market. On the one hand, it’s quite important to stay away from our own cultural lens and make subjective analyses of consumers’ behaviors. I think the best way is to be a listener. So only when ethnographers are able to immerse themselves into this culture, they are able to understand local people’s insights.

As a Chinese student studying in the USA, I do really appreciate this opportunity to know more about different cultures. Along the way, I was always trying to make a comparison of the culture, economy and politics among USA, UK, Czech Republic as well as my hometown China. Their differences and commons have successfully expanded my perspective to the world, enriched my knowledge and helped me to be a global citizen. As a graduate student, my mission is not only study but also to explore the world through learning various cultures. This class perfectly combines the schoolwork with culture exploration and sightseeing. The visits to the advertising agencies and communication with local residents attribute to my deeper understanding of these two countries. I always told myself that I am not only a tourist, but also more importantly, a student, an ethnographer and an explorer.

Also, this is a meaningful and memorable adventure. I cherished every opportunity to immerse myself into the local cultures. I went to the restaurants that most middle-class Czech people usually go to. I tried every kind of public transportation. I appreciated every opportunity to talk with local people. Only through this way, I could take off my mask of being a tourist, stay away from my Chinese and American lens, and try my best to know local people’s real lives and to be a qualified ethnographer and explorer.

Overall, as one of the young generations, my first experience in Europe not only enables me to learn a lot about the knowledge related to my major but also have changed my mindset and enriched my understanding of being a global citizen.

PS: MILUJU PRAHA&LONDON! It’s a fun trip and class!

Yiting

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Reflecting on Global Brand Tracking and Culture Codes

June 9, 2010

The past three weeks have flow by, it feels like just yesterday that I landed in London and began my adventure. I have seen so many sights, walked so many miles, and slept…well not that much. This experience has taught me a lot about ethnography, culture, and advertising. Within my sector there were several patterns which emerged in both the UK and Prague. I think the one pattern that stood out the most to me was that both countries had a much lower emphasis on brands. While big name brands were in fact present, I felt as though the consumers in both the UK and Czech Republic were not as concerned about where they were buying their clothes and what it said about them. Fashion did not resonate as a status symbol in Europe as much as I feel fashion and status go together in the states. In the UK we saw how fashion represented the individual and connected this ideal to Gin Martini. People used their clothes as a form of self expression, while big labels were popular, people bought clothing at these stores because they liked the product, how it looked, and how it was a reflection of their personality. In Prague we saw how Czechs were more concerned with functionality of a product and how it would benefit them. Czechs didn’t care about buying a brand because of what it would say about their status, they wanted a product that had longevity, and multiple uses. Another pattern I saw as far as shopping habits and consumer behavior is that consumers in both the UK and Prague were more prone to go shopping alone or with one other person. I think in the US, shopping is a much more social experience where groups of people will go shopping together and be more interactive about shopping. Finally I think one other very important pattern that emerged was price consciousness. I think in America, going back to buying a product for the brand, we are more inclined to spend 20+ dollars on a simple t-shirt when we know that we can get the same thing somewhere else for only $6, we’d rather have something that’s branded versus something generic. In the UK, I feel like people may be willing to spend top dollar but I think it has more to do with the quality over the brand itself. People in the UK will spend money if it means better quality however if there is a cheaper alternative they’d rather buy that instead. In Prague consumers are very price sensitive therefore they want the most “bang for their buck.” Czechs do not have the disposable income to splurge on major labels just for the sake of have brand name items. Czechs are going to buy clothes that are functional and practical for their daily lives. They will only spend the extra money on expensive brands if they can see the direct benefit and longevity that will come from the purchase. While the level of price consciousness varied, I feel to some degree price played a factor in purchasing decisions for fashion.

This was my first time outside of the country and while I’ve interacted with people from other countries back in the states, it is a totally different experience to interact with other cultures in their country. You get to observe and learn first hand about how other cultures go about their day to day lives. Even in the United Kingdom as an English speaking country there were cultural differences. Since we were studying fashion, I noticed differences in shopping habits the most. However I also noticed differences in eating out, alcohol consumption, dancing, and transportation among other things as well. I really didn’t know what to expect when I first started reading Culture Codes on my flight to London. After reading the book though I was actually excited to begin doing my own ethnography and finding my own Culture Codes. I learned through this experience to look at the bigger picture but to also use all of my senses to understand all of its elements. In the beginning I had a difficult time really understanding the process of the codes and applying them to my observations. Overtime I realized that I really had to immerse myself in the culture in order to pinpoint the code. London was a huge learning process coming up with my own culture code, and then collaborating with my group to come up with a culture code that really fit the UK. I think in the end our code of “Gin Martini” was a close fit to the shopping habits in the UK.

In Prague, I got to try out the codes with a fresh perspective on a new culture. The Czech Republic was a completely different experience from the UK. Not only was the language different but the attitudes and customs of the culture were very different from what I’m use to. I found it fascinating that many of the people we met in Prague all said that the Czechs do not show emotion and divulged their feelings as much as Americans and other cultures. Another cultural difference I particularly snuggled with was not putting my foot on a seat while sitting. After learning that it was very disrespectful to put your feet on anything meant to be sat upon I really had to try to not do so because I often sit with one foot tucked up on my chair. Back in the states you really wouldn’t be criticized for sitting in that way unless you were in a upscale or professional setting. In terms of fashion, Czechs were a bit easier to understand when it can to a culture code.  Perhaps it was because we had been working on our ethnographic skills for a few weeks once we got there but I feel as though an understanding of the culture’s shopping habits and attitudes were much more apparent. Functionality seemed like an obvious choice because it was a word that encompassed everything we had seen. In Prague my group and myself learned how a culture code doesn’t need to be a metaphor to be successful. Sometime a culture code is just a word that sums up the overall sector for that culture.

This trip has been an amazing experience. As a newbie to international travel, I think this class was the perfect way to dive into other cultures. If I had gone to the UK, Prague, or any other country on a leisure trip for my first international trip I don’t think I would have taken the time to observe and appreciate the cultural differences as much. This class was fantastic because it allowed me to do all the touristy sight-seeing aspects of a European adventure, but I was also able to learn about my future industry by visiting agencies and learn a new skill of doing ethnographic research. Ethnography was a great tool to use when studying another culture because it requires total immersion. I think by immersing yourself in a culture is the best way to learn about them. I took full advantage of this by doing some of my own exploration on my own going to place I want to see and taking sights in on my own. Sometimes when traveling with other people you can get rushed with other schedules and agendas and miss out on certain aspects of a country. I also felt that eating the food from the local region and trying new foods is another important part to understanding a culture. I feel that food tells a lot about a culture from the spices, to preparation, to the ingredients used. It can inform you about the economy, the local agriculture, religion, and climate. In London I found it fascinating that the UK really doesn’t have much of their own cuisine apart from fish and chips and typical pub food. I loved how London turned out to be such a melting pot of foods from Indian, to Japanese, to Turkish and Italian. I had never tried Indian or Turkish food before and embraced the opportunity. In the Czech Republic I was excited to try some authentic Czech food. Pork and Dumplings, Goulash, Wild Boar, and even a new spin on a “cheeseburger” were all new experiences. In my future travels I will be much more in tuned to the local people and how they interact because of this trip. I have learned, experienced, and gained an appreciation for other cultures after going on this trip.

~Lauren

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Group Cultural Code for Czech Republic

June 4, 2010

We started our group cultural code from puppets, goulash, cartoons, etc. Rather than figuring out the cultural code with metaphor, in the end, we came to functionality.

The functionality in fashion world is rooted in Czech people’s daily lives two decades ago. Before the revolution in 1989, under the rule of Communism, people dressed according to clothes’ practicality. Communism supports the core value of “being equal” and everything should be cheap. In other words, brands and to be good-looking are not their most important concerns during clothes purchasing, because everyone should dress according to what they need and where they work.

Men's Overall

For example, men rarely wore T-shirt and jacket in the past. However, they usually just wore overall, which is easier for them to work in the factory or farm. Also, for women, they often wore scarves, which helps to prevent dirts during working. So, before the revolution, on the one hand, Czech people didn’t have a lot of choices for clothes. On the other hand, their mindset and the culture indicated them to dress functionally and practically.

With the twenty-one years development till now, people have gained a lot of freedom for purchasing clothes and other fashion products. But it’s hard for them to change their shopping habits and mindsets immediately, especially for old generations. Most Czech people still live in small towns. It’s not that convenient to reach a lot of international brands. Also, according to the average income in Czech, a large number of people can’t really afford them. So they are loyal to local brands, markets and independent shops and functionality is still the key factor they will take into account during purchasing. In some sense, international fashion brands are just a symbolism of free market after revolution.

Everyone we’ve talked to has stressed the divide between the old generation and the new generation. Not only do these two groups of Czech people have different memories of the change in the country, but they have vastly different perceptions on fashion and shopping. The older generation is very traditional. They are loyal to local markets and shops. They don’t see the need to change their habits and don’t have an enormous desire to buy expensive fashion. The younger generation, however, is slowly but surely adapting to the new shopping experience. Hypermarkets and mega-malls are attracting more and more people as the younger Czech generation is becoming more interested in name-brand clothing. Young girls enjoy getting together with their friends and going shopping for a day, while the older generation still prefers shopping in local markets by their homes.

Sitting outside of Tesco, Lisa noticed something that contributed specifically to the culture code we chose. The Czech consumer’s process of leaving the Tesco was pretty unique. As many people exited the store, they immediately reorganized their purchases, and analyzed everything they had bought that day. We thought this routine action was really interesting because Czech people spend so much time choosing products pre-purchase, and now they were still analyzing those purchases even after they had been made. The shoppers would come out, look at their receipt, and refer back to the things that they bought one by one. One older man even stopped, took his glasses out of his case, looked over his receipt for about ten minutes, took them off, put them in the case, and then carried on with his day. This man probably brought those glasses along with him for exactly that purpose, which means that he does it every time he goes shopping. From these observations, we came up with the subject of Czechs as very price sensitive and interested in quality. Czech people will only buy something if the product’s inherent value is worth just as much, if not more, than the price that they are paying. It’s not that Czechs won’t pay a lot of money for something, but when they do, they will be sure that what they are buying is worth every crown it costs. As we learned through conversation with some of the staff at Garp, once a year, there is a huge sale for designer labels that Czech fashion magazines create special issues for. In these magazines are coupons for these sales. Czech consumers interesting in buying high-end brands will often wait all year for this sales period because it is when they will get the best deal.

It was interesting to understand Czech’s without knowing the language, but we used our resources with the English-speaking people at the agencies we visited and our assistant Honsa. Through our discussions with those people we realized a huge difference in American culture and Czech culture when it comes to brands. In the suburban America we know well it is common for people to buy a North Face just to buy a North Face. When it comes to Czech culture they care more about the price, quality and functions a jacket would perform for them. If it happens that North Face fits all the things they are looking for then so be it, but brand is not a primary part of their choices.

Czech people dress for the specific occasion they will be in. First and foremost, the weather condition and the amount of time they will be outside affects what they’re going to wear. Comfortable shoes are necessary if the walk to work is a long one. They’ll put on a coat if it’s cold, and not worry about whether or not it 100% matches their ensemble. Men don’t wear nice jackets, blazers, or shirts unless they’re going to a wedding, funeral, or other dressy occasion. Since many Czech people own cottages for weekend excursions, mountaineering clothing stores are very popular. Therefore, the ridiculously expensive pieces of clothing that don’t really serve a purpose are disregarded. This might be why there are not a lot of fashion ads. The Czech people don’t need to purchase the clothing, so they won’t appreciate the ad. They dress for a very specific, functional purpose.

Another one of the major points we observed was that practicality if very important to Czechs. Practicality goes hand in had with functionality because Czechs want to purchase clothing that is not only functional in the sense that it works best for them but also what they buy and where they shop needs to be practical and convenient for them as well. Clothes that make day-to-day life easier and comfortable are essential, since walking and public transportation are popular in the Czech Republic, residents are going to want clothes and shoes that are comfortable for walking and traveling. It doesn’t make sense for Czechs to wear some of the trends that may be popular in other parts of the world because they are not practical for them.

However, just because the Czechs may not be following all the latest cutting edge fashions and trends, it doesn’t mean that they are not concerned with how they look. Czechs still want to look good and look put together. While we observed that Czechs walking down the street may not have been as chic and sophisticated as the trend setters in London, they still looked like they thought about what they put on in the morning. The main point to take away about Czechs and looking good is that they go about looking stylish in a different way than other cultures. Czechs are not going to follow trends that are not practical and functional in their day-to-day lives activities. Also they are not going to splurge on trends that are overly expensive either because spending a large portion of their income is not practical either. Czechs are concerned with being practical in their clothing choices but also concerned with looking and feeling good about what they wear.

Overall, our cultural code for fashion in Czech is functionality. In some sense, the role of functionality also explains why there is almost no fashion advertising in Czech Republic. In this small market, for Czech people, fashion doesn’t stands for brands, but functions.

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Final Post in Prague

June 4, 2010

The discussion of the cultural code of fashion in Czech Republic is already pretty close. For this final post, I wanted to add several points through my observation in Parizska Street  and some prospects for the fashion world in Czech Republic.

Walking under the shades on the Parizska Street, I can smell, see, and feel the luxury of this street. The environment of the street really fits Pragua. However, I was wondering whether this street really be able to immerse into average Czech people’s lives and the fashion culture in Czech Republic.

When I walked into Louis Vuitton, rather than observing the people shopping there. Firstly, I smelt the fragrance of leather. For my perspective, this is a really good indicator of Louis Vuitton’s high quality in leather. The second important observation focused on the races of the people shopping there. The most often language I overheard was Korean, Japanese and Chinese. They were all middle-aged women. They didn’t dress up fashionably or stylishly.   Then I asked the guide standing in front of the store, “What kinds of consumers usually come to here shopping?” His answer didn’t surprise me a lot: it’s “Asian!”

On Parizska Street, there are shops offering cut glass, jewellery, cosmetics, clothes, etc. Everyone will find their own among the vast number of brands, be it a men’s suit, sports clothing, or an evening dress. The synonym for this street in terms of shopping seems to be “countless choices”. But “countless choices” works for tourists from around the world. For most Czech people, they can recognize the brand’s personality and do window shopping. But in most cases, they can’t afford them.

The general director from Ogilvy said, “Prague is not Czech!” Now I do really know the reasons: Prague is full of tourists. However, I have to admit young generations’ wishes to look  good and present their personal identities through dressing codes. I wish that the fashion industry in Czech could help to inspire and motivate young generations to establish the idea of brands in fashion, which are not just about functionality but also for emotion connection.

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Czech Please!

June 4, 2010

It’s time to cash in our Crowns and start making our journeys back to the good ol’ U S of A. I have to say, this experience flew by, and it’s really sad to see it end. The good news is that I’ve learned a ton about European culture codes in a way I never have before, and I got a really good feel for different kinds of Advertising firms. It has given me a lot of clarity about where I can see myself in this industry in my career. Anyway, back to fashion tracking.

What I have learned:

Regardless of conditions, Czech people want to dress well with what they can afford. It is important to look your best, especially when spending time with other people outside of the home. The average annual income in the Czech Republic ranges from 12,000-15,00o USD. This obviously plays a factor in the priorities on what typical Czech people spend their money on. However, one important thing to note about Czech style is that because they have less money to allocate to fashion, they need to be more creative. Not only do Czech consumers look at a piece of clothing for what it is on its own, but it also needs to be able to go with a lot of other things the consumer already owns. Style is becoming more international as the years go on. In rural areas of the Czech Republic, there would be more of a separation from this trend, and people’s fashion in those areas would be based even more upon practicality.

Up until the revolution in 1989, purchasing abilities were limited. Services within the store were not very good, and sales people were not friendly at all. Sales people at that time viewed your interest as an annoyance. For example, they would be annoyed with having to put back something that you tried on. They also had no motivation sell things, because it wasn’t like they were working on commission; they were lazy. Being greeted first upon walking into that store was unheard of at that time. After the revolution, things like hypermarkets were able to come into existence. The shopping experience for the consumer became a much more pleasant experience. There was a new freedom of shopping that hadn’t existed before. Now, a family can spend half of the day at the hypermarket. If a pair of shoppers wants to spend three hours in one store trying on clothes, the sales person would not be bothered. In the past two years specifically, smaller stores are regaining popularity over hypermarkets and big malls. Shoppers like going to places that they can have a relationship with, like a local pub. If you compare goods in stores like Zara, the prices are almost double the cost from what it would be somewhere else; the Czech Republic has a large price index in comparison. For example, people view McDonalds as a symbol of freedom after the revolution in 1989; it is a pleasant place with nice people and clean toilets. In these cases, the Czech consumer pays a lot of money unreasonably, but because of the Czech culture codes, McDonalds markets to these consumers differently simply because Czechs use their services in a different way.

A little bit about the Czech people:

For Czechs optimism seems insincere. For example, the question “How are you?” could be asked as you walk into a friend’s house. In the States, you would say, “I’m good, you?” “Same here.”- this would seem as insincere to a Czech person. In the Czech Republic, your common response would be along the lines of, “Oh, I’m getting by.” or “Life is shit, but I am surviving.”

%90 of Czech people live outside of Prague. Average people shop in markets nearby. Supermarket brands satisfy needs very well.

Czech people want to show off what they have, but not verbally. Maybe they’ll let their nice watch show on their wrist in a way you’d notice, but they would never call you and brag about it. Boasting is done in a more visual way.

I’m really going to miss Prague, hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m back.

Until then,

Děkuji and Na shledanou !

~ Lisa

“History is the key to everything: politics, religion, even fashion.” -Eva Herzigova

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Last Sector Post for Prague

June 4, 2010

I really can’t believe this is my last day in Prague/Europe. Feels like just yesterday we got to London.

The whole group just met to wrap up our impressions of Czech ads. The adjectives/phrases we came up with were

  • Lots of “brand speakers” or mascots
  • Lots of copy on the ads
  • Humor is based on irony, laughing at people in unfortunate situations
  • Indirect – it’s not the norm to say “this is the best beer” like it is in America
  • Humble, playful, less politically correct

Fashion is a lot different here. We’ve really gotten a good grip on how Czech people perceive shopping, fashion, and brands. The past few days we went to two agencies and did a lot of extra ethnographic research to attempt to sum it all up.

Leagas Delaney

Leagas Delaney is a huge international agency with offices in London, Hamburg, Milan, Rome, Prague, Paris, and Shanghai. They manage a number of big-name brands and work by the motto “Substance in the Age of the 1 Second Ad.” The rep from this agency talked extensively about the struggles/obstacles/benefits of marketing to a number of different countries. Not only are there language barriers, but troubles with meaning-translation, humor, and cultural norms/taboos/values. I thought it was interesting that certain countries would want Leagas Delaney to change an ad based on someone’s physical appearance or tone of voice because it would not apply to their culture. Didn’t really learn anything specifically applicable to fashion, but it was still a really interesting agency visit.

Ogilvy

This agency is fairly new. It specializes in analyzing people’s shopping behaviors and habits and then customizing campaigns to fit to the consumers’ mindsets. The reps from Ogilvy talked for a while about the agency, but then gave us time to ask questions regarding our sectors. I got a lot of fashion information from this meeting.

First of all, the rep was clear in saying that “Prague is not the Czech Republic,” meaning that whatever we see around our hotel is not necessarily how Czech people act as a whole. People in Prague do not dress the same as the rest of the country because it’s a big, busy city and most Czech people live in diverse, small areas. A big trend is shopping in mountaineering stores. Going on weekend excursions is popular – a lot of people have cottages – so quality, rugged, durable clothing is popular.

Another big theme here is quality/price. Czech people are extremely concerned with getting as much “bang for their buck” as possible. When my group first started brainstorming about what the culture code for shopping is here, we circled around the term “price sensitive.” While this is true, there is another dimension as to how they are price sensitive. Czech people are willing to buy expensive things (if they can afford them), but what they are “sensitive” about is whether or not the price matches the quality of the clothing.

The rep at Ogilvy laughed when we kept drilling him with fashion questions. “I’m a guy! I hate shopping!” He said that deals/discounts/markdown prices are big and always attract a lot of customers. This goes along with the quality vs. price fixation. He also said, almost as a disclaimer, that Czech people are not very fashionable. It just simply isn’t a concern here. Huge difference from London and America where brand names are so important. According to the rep, Czech people look poorer than they actually are because they do not feel the need to wear extremely expensive clothing. The standard is low here, and men especially do not care about how they look. In fact, if a man here looks perfect – perfect suit, perfect hair, manicured nails, expensive jewelry – he’s going to be perceived as outside the norm.

Basically, fashion isn’t as prominent/vital in the Czech Republic as it is in other countries. Men don’t wear nice jackets and shirts unless they’re going to a funeral or wedding. It’s not practical or necessary to dress up unless there’s a reason to. Price, value, and functionality is what fashion’s all about here.

Palladium

Yesterday, a few of us went to a 200-store mega-mall called the Palladium. Besides the traditional Czech meal that we got there (probably our ninety-eighth chicken schnitzle and potato dumpling meal of the trip), my experience in the Palladium completely transported me back to my hometown mall in Chicago. American music was blasting throughout the speakers, the stores were all stores that I shop at regularly, and there was a lot of American being spoken. This is what all the agencies were talking about when they compared old-fashioned Czech markets to the new-age hypermarket culture. It was busy, crowded, loud, and hurried. The shoppers in H&M were bustling around a lot more than the shoppers I saw at the markets. It was mostly girls and women shopping, usually with a friend or two. There weren’t a lot of people in the dressing rooms. I felt almost at home in the Palladium because it felt so familiar, but at the same time I was surprised at how different the new-shopping vs old-shopping cultures are in Prague.

Firsthand Experience

The representatives from Garp took the entire group to two pubs the other night. Besides it being a great time – after the beer tasting, I’m sold on blueberry beer – I learned a lot about fashion on a more personal level by talking to one of the reps named Linda. She gave me two fashion magazines – “lovestar” and “Marianne” – flipped through them with me, and talked to me about the ads, consumer perceptions, and shopping in general.

There’s a big difference between the old generation and new generation here. We’ve heard this time and time again, and it’s definitely obvious. Old markets vs. huge malls. Local shops vs. high-end stores (Pariska street with Louis Vuitton, Prada, etc.) Traditional people vs. trend-setters. The younger generation is slowly becoming more and more interested in fashion. Once a year, there’s a big discount fair that attracts a ton of people. Girls get together with their friends and make a shopping day out of it. The magazine “Marianne” gives out coupons for this event to promote the brand name items. So while the older generation is not really concerned with fashion, the younger crowd is becoming more aware.

Sidenote – Lisa and Linda have been emailing each other pictures of their cats. Just goes to show how friendly and fun the people here have been.

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