At Adasa e-Concept Boutique, where shoppers can browse the clothing racks or conduct their hunt via Internet, Katie Waronker wears a V-neck ruffle dress by Mason ($495) and Lulu Frost necklace ($750). CLICK FOR LARGE
Adasa launches e-Concept
These are challenging times for retailers confronted by a proliferation of storefronts -- on the street and in cyberspace.
Adasa has just leaped ahead of the competition with the opening of the Adasa e-Concept Boutique, combining the personal pampering associated with luxury boutiques and the speed and technology of the Internet age.
Inside the boutique, three computer screens are set up along an Internet wall, allowing the Web- and fashion-savvy to do their shopping through a combination of online and live experience. Once selections are made, warehouse elves get the signal to go to work searching for the garments, which are then delivered through a "secret window" toward the back of the display area. Shoppers then can try on the garments before making a decision.
The Adasa e-Concept Boutique is at 2023 Young St., Diamond Head of McCully. Visit www.adasa.com or call 218-6121.
So far, customers seem to be adapting to shopping for clothes the same way they now shop for shoes.
"They do their homework at home and come in with their printouts, their wish list of what they want to try on," said boutique co-owner Donna Loren.
It only takes a minute or two for garments to arrive, which appeals to those who lament the inefficiency of the typical shopping experience -- hours of shopping that might or might not result in finding something wearable.
With jeans, for instance, photos on the Adasa Web site indicate everything from shape to flare of the leg, which could spare shoppers the trouble of trying on dozens of pairs, narrowing the selection to the handful worth taking into the fitting room.
For those who prefer the old-fashioned, tactile approach to shopping that involves feeling the weight and texture of fabric and eyeing a garment's details, the boutique offers room to browse.
It would take hundreds of square feet to display the breadth of the boutique's collection of 100 designer brands, including Rock & Republic, Vince, 12th Street, Isabella Fiore and more. The e-Concept allows for a spare floor display that avoids cramping anyone's style, with racks featuring one garment from each of the current styles available for purchase. Your correct size and color selections are then delivered through the secret window.
The most extensive display is on the Apothecary Wall, which offers bath, body and home products from Bliss Spa, Fresh Beauty and other companies.
Loren has been turning her fashion ideas into reality since she was a child. As an entertainer who appeared on "The Mickey Mouse Club," she remembers creating costumes to suit performances, going country to sing Patsy Cline's "I Didn't Know the Gun Was Loaded."
In the black-and-white era, it was OK for her to mix a coral corduroy circle skirt with a pale blue shirt.
NADINE KAM / NKAM@STARBULLETIN.COM
Among jewelry offerings from Adasa is Lulu Frost's jewelry combining modern and antique elements. Among them are these two necklaces ($300) fashioned from room numbers salvaged from New York's Plaza Hotel. CLICK FOR LARGE
"It's a creative process, taking an idea and being able to make it happen," said Loren, who compares retailers' current race to the Internet to a gold rush for a space in the cyberspace shopping mall.
"It's meant we really have to think about what we want to do, and this is the direction we want to stay in, where we're not just dealing with fashion, but working with people who have established lines with integrity," Loren said. "We want to support artists who are designing."
She and her partners are also trying to be more aware of the environmental impact of the fashion industry, and have begun carrying lines made of bamboo fibers that mimic cotton jersey.
But you won't find any preachiness in the shopping experience, as the aim is for people to have a good time.
"It's fun when a couple comes in and they're each at a separate computer, shopping and dipping their hands into our jellybean jar," Loren said.
Snacks are plentiful because anyone who's ever spent time in front of a computer screen knows there's a correlation between food consumption and composing.
"I would love to schedule trunk shows and fashion parties for small groups, where we could be stylists and offer wardrobe tips," Loren said, noting that part of the e-Concept is helping shoppers conceptualize as well.