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Vegas Style: The Reality of the Las Vegas Shopping Scene

As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, popular U.K. retailer Topshop is opening its third U.S. location in Las Vegas at Fashion Show in 2012, after the opening of its second in Chicago this fall. The first U.S. Topshop opened in New York City in 2009.

Having Topshop in Las Vegas is fantastic news for the stylish shopping scene of my dazzling, neon home. However, when reading the RJ article, one can’t help but absorb a nervous energy emitted from the piece. Can Topshop survive in a bargain-loving, H&M-shopping Las Vegas market? Will locals be able to wrap their heads around Topshop, with its higher prices and bolder designs? Is opening a Topshop here a good idea? I have only one answer to all these questions – a highly intelligent, expressive one: DUH!

Of course Topshop will flourish in Las Vegas! Yes, the local shopping scene will appreciate the addition, even if the prices are higher than H&M’s. Here is what the RJ fails to understand about its neighbors: first, there are not simply two categories of shoppers in Las Vegas as the RJ would have you to believe – Prada shoppers versus H&M shoppers. That is a ridiculous notion that insults the reality of the Las Vegas shopping scene.

Vegas retail is comprised of everything from dirt-cheap thrift stores to affordable fashion boutiques to Barneys NY, and everything in between. Vintage stores? Check. Mass retailers? Check. The largest H&M in the world? Check. Saks, Neiman Marcus, Tom Ford, Lanvin, Christian Louboutin? Check, check, check, check and… check! Only two types of shoppers in Las Vegas? Hardly. The shoppers in Las Vegas are as diverse as our options for shopping.

I describe the typical Las Vegas shopper as a high-low shopper and dresser. In other words, she wears her Marc Jacobs shoes with an H&M dress while carrying a handbag she bought at ASOS.com. Or, he wears his limited edition Nike Air Force Ones with William Rast cargo shorts, a T-shirt from Target and a vintage leather jacket that used to belong to his dad. Jennifer Bartol Florendo, Editor-in-Chief of Las Vegas Woman Magazine, agrees: “What I’ve noticed is that the shoppers in Vegas have become much more savvy and creative about mixing high-end brands with pieces that are budget-friendly. Most of us do it and applaud each other when something is especially well put together.”

Established fashion stylist Christie Moeller has a different definition of the Las Vegas shopper, saying, “I don’t think there is a typical Las Vegas shopper. Vegas shoppers are gypsies of sort – finicky fashionistas who tend to change with their mood and the weather.  Las Vegas shoppers respect individuality and Topshop is definitely a place for shoppers with individual fashion personalities.”

The second thing the RJ fails to recognize is that, hello, Las Vegas fashionistas have been shopping Topshop online since the U.S. site went live in 2008 (although we all lurked the U.K. site since before then). While the brand may be new to some in Las Vegas, it is not new to all. As a buyer for Zappos.com, Brooke James is well-versed in the retail industry, but she is also an active Vegas shopper. She says, “I think locals will be very excited with the addition of Topshop. A lot of the people who like H&M will also like TopShop. It is a bit more expensive, but it offers even more cutting edge trends. I think Vegas customers will pay for their fashionable finds.” I checked with one of her co-workers who confirmed that, in fact, the cubicles of James’ employer were buzzing with the news of a new Topshop, expressing a collective, “Oh my god, I’m so excited,” response.

Entrepreneur and British transplant Sam Ratcliffe grew up shopping at Topshop. “I think the H&M shopper will fall in love with Topshop as it presents high fashion at a price point that is affordable.” There’s that word again: affordable. According to the RJ, H&M shoppers will not find Topshop affordable. But when one considers that a $128 Topshop floral dress with London style influence and fashion-forward design is still much less than one designed by Stella McCartney, the price tag is actually quite affordable. Add to that Topshop’s amazing sales. It is not uncommon to find a formerly $90 dress marked down to an H&M price range.

Ratcliffe makes another point that no one thought of. “There’s also a second factor to consider and that is the growing popularity of British fashion designers. The Duchess of Cambridge has people fawning over her style of dress and has definitely fueled the interest in British fashion, and this will play into the success of Topshop in Vegas. People will get it and love it.” Excellent point! Let’s face it. While you can get a $12 dress at H&M, one thing you can’t get there is Duchess of Cambridge style.

Blogger Meghan Bailey believes that both H&M and Forever21 shoppers will venture into Topshop, so long as the quality matches the price. And the fact that Kate Moss has her own line with the brand adds trendsetting appeal. “Vegas shoppers shop to impress. Most ladies do this, but there is more of an emphasis in Vegas because, just as in Los Angeles and New York, our city has a reputation to uphold,” Bailey explains.

So here’s the reality of the Las Vegas shopping scene: local shoppers are a lot savvier and more diverse than their daily newspaper believes them to be. Many of us are already fans of Topshop. None of us should be pigeon holed into one category of shopping, as we hunt through them all. Topshop will find great success in Las Vegas among both the tourist and local shoppers, because if there is one thing that is true about this town it’s this – we love the novelty of something new. And because Topshop changes out its fashion stock consistently and quickly, there is no threat of that novelty wearing off fast. Las Vegans will quickly understand and appreciate Topshop. Let’s just hope that their daily newspaper will at some point understand them.


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3 Responses to “Vegas Style: The Reality of the Las Vegas Shopping Scene”

  1. cindi markus

    I can’t wait for the new store to open here in Vegas. Trendy, fashionable, and affordable clothes. love the Kate Moss brand too.