Dear Zara,

It’s taken me a long time to admit this, and it breaks my heart to even say it out loud, but this thing between us just isn’t working anymore. I hate this, I really do, but I know it’s for the best. We’re just not compatible in the way we should be.

You see, you’re one of the most valuable clothing brands on the planet with over 2,250 stores worldwide, and I’m that girl who takes 14 items into the changing rooms and still comes out empty-handed. Realistically, we could never be together.

Everything seemed so much simpler at the start. I remember the first time I took my friend into one of your stores – “this is what the cool Spanish girls wear!” I told her excitedly. I truly believed that effortless European sense of style was a thing of transferable nature and could cure my garishly brash British fashion ensembles. But why does everything look so much better on the hanger, Zara? Faded blue mom jeans, a tie-up leather shacket, a basic white tee; I can walk around your store with whole outfits on my arm, but when I try them on, they look entirely different on my body.

@projectcloie

Message for Zara #zara

♬ original sound – PROJECT CLOIE

For years I convinced myself that it wasn’t you, it was me. It was my body that didn’t fit the clothes, and it was me that needed to change my shape. But I’ve realized, Zara, it is actually you. You’re the one intentionally making clothes that don’t fit properly, so we will keep buying more over time. And you’re the one choosing to keep an S-M-L clothing size system and making me take three of the same item into the changing rooms because I don’t know if the 8, 12, or 18 will fit me the best – I don’t think you realize just how much upper arm strength it takes to carry nine pairs of jeans into the changing room.

But we’ve had some good times, haven’t we? Remember when I spent twenty minutes sitting on the floor in my underwear looking in your mirrors and wondering if that’s what I really looked like? Turns out, the dim overhead lighting in your changing rooms is just ridiculously unflattering. Don’t worry about me getting foundation marks on your white shirt, my tears will only stain it more.

But you can’t say we haven’t tried, Zara. We’ve done the whole online thing, and we couldn’t even make that work. 

Every time I tried to work through our issues, you insisted on putting your models on a cooking stove, making them wear a boot on their head, or telling them to put their arms through the back of the coat instead of the front.

I tried to tell you this in person, but you see, I’m even more terrified of your shop assistants. If I wasn’t already crying in the changing rooms, you bet I am now. I feel like I’m being cross-examined just buying a bikini top. Actually, scratch that. Cross-examination requires actual speaking. And I have had less awkward silences on first dates than at your checkouts. 

I’m equal parts terrified and equal parts extremely attracted to your store staff. Even their thank you and goodbye feel like a personalized death sentence. I don’t understand, isn’t that what you wanted? Didn’t you want me to buy something in store?

@katharinaum

ZARA employees be like #zara #zarachallenge #zaraemployee #comedy #fun #trend #goviral #fy #fyp #foryou #foryoupage

♬ Boss Bitch – Doja Cat

So there was really no other way to do this. I’ve tried my best to make it work, but I just can’t do it anymore. I honestly thought you were different, Zara. I thought you were unlike the other fast fashion brands, but turns out you’re just the same. This whole time I thought this is what it was supposed to be like. That I had so much fun shopping in the store, and it was just me being fussy when nothing looked good in the changing rooms.

But you tricked me, Zara! You tricked me with an illusion of good quality garments, and that damned European charm. I guess I’m finally being honest with myself. I’m just not like those effortlessly put-together Italian girls on my Pinterest board. And I’ve accepted at long last that my street style will always be as messy as my nation’s ability to binge drink.

I hope we can still be friends. It would be nice to catch up if I ever bump into you in the center of town. But for now, I need to put myself first. It’s taken me 23 years to realize that we’re just not meant to be.

I’m so sorry Zara, but I’m finally breaking up with you. 

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  • Tilly Brogan

    Part-writer, part-booktuber, Tilly is an Editorial Fellow at The Tempest. She loves writing about current affairs and women’s rights, but also passionately defends YA books and considers herself a regular in most YA fandoms. She can pluck her eyebrows without wincing and sink enough vodka shots to raise the Titanic.


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