Aritzia doesn’t have private mirrors in its dressing rooms, and a lot of people don’t like it

For better or for worse, Aritzia is enjoying a moment in the sun.

The Canadian retailer is “the hottest fashion chain in the United States,” Bloomberg said in January, after U.S. sales jumped 78% last year.

And on TikTok, where Gen Z fashionistas show off their clothes, #aritzia videos have over 1.7 billion views. (Videos of his famous Super Puff jackets have over 58.9 million alone).

But with fame comes scrutiny, and the “everyday luxury” retailer has come under fire online for, among other things, its mirrorless fitting rooms, which require those trying on clothes to enter an area Mirrored common staffed with vendors if they want to see what they look like.

It’s a “fashion show against your will,” one TikTokker said.

“It’s a very humbling experience,” psychology and media expert Pamela Rutledge told CBC News.

“It’s actually very disrespectful to the customer. [Aritzia] maybe trying to be edgy or modern, or emphasizing that it’s not about the body, but they’re actually doing the exact opposite.”

Mirrorless for about 40 years

Such complaints are not new. In 2012, a woman told The Globe and Mail that she never felt insecure about her curves until she tried on clothes in front of the communal mirror at the Aritzia store in Manhattan.

“There is a woman who does 24 [waist] try on the same shorts,” she said. “You have to compare yourself.

A spokesperson for Artzia said the community outreach has been “a central part of its customer experience for almost 40 years”. The company was founded in Vancouver in 1984.

They enable “a high level of support from our Style Advisors, including personalized style insight, in a welcoming environment that cultivates a sense of community,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“Our main goal is for every customer to feel supported during their visits.”

WATCH | Aritzia’s major expansion plans:

Aritzia aims for American fame

Aritzia, the Vancouver-based womenswear company that has long been a mainstay in Canada, is exploding in popularity in the United States with major expansion plans south of the border. But experts warn that expanding too quickly could backfire.

Sales tactic

Matthew Philp, assistant professor of marketing at Toronto Metropolitan University, sees it as a sales and marketing tactic.

Getting a customer out of the locker room potentially gives two sets of people – the employees and the person the person can shop with – the ability to convince that person to buy the items.

Also, because retailers want customers to showcase their products online, the common area’s lighting and atmosphere looks better in photos and video than the interior of a small dressing room, he said. -he declares.

“Stores have become much more experiential, and stores like this probably put a lot more effort into the ‘showroom’ type of atmosphere,” Philp said.

“They think about what it will look like more online rather than what it will look like specifically to the person in the moment.”

In its fourth quarter results, released in May, Aritzia said it expects further expansion in 2024, with eight new stores and four store extensions or repositionings, all in the United States

Three mannequins are draped in women's clothing inside a store.  In the background, shelves filled with other clothes.
The interior of an Aritzia store in New York’s Flatiron district on January 21. (Sean Conaboy/CBC)

“Invite Judgment”

In comments to a video posted by CBC about mirrorless locker rooms, some shoppers said they enjoyed or even preferred the experience. A few said it was good marketing, others said they liked the space to move around and the good lighting.

“Several times I’ve seen posts about others and asked the same about my size,” one person wrote.

But others said they don’t shop at Aritzia precisely because of its changing rooms.

“Their size is small and anyone over a size 10 might not want to risk a walk of shame if they don’t fit,” another person wrote.

Coming out of a fitting room can be very triggering for someone with anxiety or an eating disorder, said Dr. Susan Albers, a clinical psychologist who specializes in body image. People tend to judge themselves by others, she said, and standing next to someone can taint or distort the way you see yourself.

“When we look in a mirror with other people around us, it invites judgment and other people’s opinions. It doesn’t give us the luxury or the privacy to tune in to our own opinion,” Albers said. .

If you’re feeling uncomfortable in a communal locker room situation, Albers recommends looking around and seeing who else is there before changing, so you’re prepared. Take a deep breath when you step out and take note of how the outfit makes you feel before you get a visual, she added.

“Tune in to yourself and trust your own judgement.

And if you’re really uncomfortable, Aritzia says you can always ask for a mirror — every store has at least one dressing room with a permanent or rolling mirror.

“Asking for a mirror is almost more embarrassing than common mirrors,” one person wrote in a comment with over 6,000 likes on a popular TikTok video.

Leave a Comment