Fashion and groceries really do Mix

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 55 Comments

Need to stock up on bread, milk and some tinned tomatoes? Why not add a new bikini or t-shirt to your trolley while you’re at it?

No, I haven’t gone completely mad. I’ve just visited my local Coles, which not only was one of 52 throughout Australia to launch the supermarket chain’s new fashion line last week but by the end of that first week was the country’s highest sales performer.

And at first glance, it’s not difficult to see why.  The initial drop of Mix has a strong nautical influence, something that would appeal to l9ocal residents in my area as well as those visiting.

Not only is the collection on trend but it’s value for money, on the whole amazing quality and easily included in your weekly grocery bill. (Oops. Did I really say that out loud?)

Mix apparel at Coles supermarkets

A nautical selection from the current Mix range at selected Coles supermarkets

They’ve been combining fashion and groceries in supermarkets in the UK and Europe for years. I can’t believe that it’s taken this long to reach Australian shores.  The big winners are budget fashionistas and families on increasingly tighter budgets.  The Coles launch follows hot on the high heels of the launch of Emerson at Big W and Kmart last week flying in US budget fashionista Penny Chic to talk up its fashion range, as seen in this news video below. Love the comment from Kmart’s managing director about the factories which Kmart clothes come from. Fashion for thought there.

Where Coles will have it all over its discount department store cousins is that most of us visit our local supermarket on regular basis – weekly, fortnightly, monthly (can I just say, if you’re a monthly visitor I’m truly impressed?That’s some food planning. All power to you.). What do you think the chances are on one of those regular visits of dropping an item or three into your trolley? Pretty bloody high, I’d reckon.

Coles tells me that it has been working with a New York-based design team to create the range and that fresh stock will drop in store every two weeks.  That’s enough to keep me checking in.

On my visit on Friday, I happened to run into two friends who are quite the expert shoppers. They didn’t escape being pinned down for the video below for their thoughts on the new collection. Their names haven’t been changed to protect their *innocence*.  (Their husbands will never know … if you don’t tell them.)

Shopping experts Kim Panebiango and Scherone Arndell give their thumbs up to the new Mix collection at Coles

Shopping experts Kim Panebiango, left, and Scherone Arndell give their thumbs up to the new Mix collection at Coles

 

What I like about Mix

1. The prices. I knew it would be cheap but what I didn’t know until I saw it with my own eyes was that the majority of pieces on sale were of quality often found in a chain store selling a similar item for up to five times the price.

2. The emphasis on basics. I’ll be back to pick up a few of the $6 adjustable camis for my teenage daughter – she wears these all the time under loose tops and little dresses.  It’s impossible to pick the origin of a good quality basic when worked back with other labels you might have in your wardrobe.

What I’d like to see improved

1. Change rooms built so that you can try before you buy. I know, especially with things like pants, I’d like to give them a try first.  Coles is offering the following returns policy though: If you purchase something that isn’t a perfect fit, you can simply return it within 30 days (not worn or unwashed, with original packaging intact and proof of purchase) and we will be happy to offer a full refund or exchange! Returns are not available on hosiery, underwear and pierced jewellery.

2. A size range that goes beyond and XL top and a size 18 pant. I know there are a lot of women in this size range who are always looking for basics.  I think the scope is there to build on the initial size range.

Favourite pieces

1. Navy and white tee

2. High waist wide leg pant in white

3. Stripe knit capri pj pants

Mix apparel at Coles supermarkets

Fresh food and fresh fashion … do you think it’s here to stay? Are you likely to buy clothes when doing your grocery shopping? 

 

Comments 55

  1. Dear Nikki,
    I love MIX collection and whole idea to sell it @ Coles. Mix line is simple and classy what is most important to me. I am 63 years young! with size 20 because of my big bust, and unfortunately there is nothing for me to wear. What a pity 🙁 Any hope in the future for us?
    xx

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  2. … what I’m concerned about is if that chic nautical top only costs $15… what was the worker who made it, paid? Do they have fair working conditions?

    I heard a kmart advert for a pack of three kid’s undies for around $3. I couldn’t help but think “is it because some kid in the developing world is missing out on an education to make cheap undies for your kids?”

    I hope that I’m being overly skeptical and wrong, please?? I’d love to learn more!

    PS: per the video, perhaps kudos are in order to kmart for passing on *savings* to consumers rather than charging what the big brands charge??

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      This is all very valid – but what got me thinking after the Kmart video was that if these clothes are all coming out of the same factory – the workers are all getting paid the same (probably not very much) and that some companies are putting A LOT on top. The extra money we pay isn’t actually going to the workers. Unless you buy Australian made – and that’s an endangered species.

  3. Ahhhh! Welcome to my world…..
    Here in the uk all the major supermarkets sell clothing and i love it!!
    The quality is usually great and it is so easy to just pop something in the trolley and at great prices!!

  4. I love the idea of being able to pick up fashion while grocery shopping (anything to make the dreaded grocery shop more fun!!!). I’ve bought clothing basics from Coles before & have always been happy with it. But I am a little concerned that it will mean that the big two grocery stores will only increase their strangle hold on the Australian market … first it was petrol … now clothes … what next?!

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  5. As you say Nikki its about time Australia caught up! My local Coles isnt on the list but next time I’m in Wynnum I’ll call in and have a look. Hopefully if they do well they will roll them out into more stores.

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  6. I’ve been waiting for this Nikki after Mum first heard about it. Not sure it’s in my store yet but what a great idea to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. I often only have time to pick up basics when I’ve got the kids in tow so this’ll be great!

    Anne xx

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  7. I always make a beeline to Tesco and ASDA when I’m in the UK. Lots of things make their way home with me. Kids clothes are fab too. Good to see Australia has caught up!

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  8. I had a quick look at our local late last week and was very impressed. Great prices for some of those basic staples. I’m looking forward to having a proper browse next grocery trip when I have less kids on hand to hinder 😉

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  9. This is going to create a whole lot of angst for me when I shop with my girls. THEY ARE GIRLS!!!!! Can’t walk past clothes, shoes, stationery, anything shiny or glittery. Not fair for me…..

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  10. The Coles over in Burwood in Melbourne actually does have fitting rooms – two really large and roomy ones actually. If they haven’t go them in the other Coles around the country, I think you’re right, a fitting room is a must-have. I find having to return stuff such a hassle. I love their range though – got one of my maxi dresses from there. 🙂

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  11. Love the Emerson range at Big W. I found a great navy & white top and skirt to wear to an outback race meeting. Simple and classic. We won’t have the Coles range at our local store though. I have just cleaned out my cupboards and would have donated at least $2000 worth of clothes, some still with tags on!

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      Oh dear, Sandi … that’s a lot! I have two rules of clothes shopping – you have to try it on (or be prepared to take it back!) and you have to love it when you put it on. If you don’t love it, step away and look for something else! Hopefully Coles will expand to more stores.

      1. Just checked out the Mix range website…might be best for me if we don’t have it here. There is some really nice stuff there. I know my clothes buying has no real rhyme or reason to it. I hate trying on in store and tend to panic shop when I go to Brisbane. The clothing choices here range from outrageously overpriced or generic from Target.

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  12. Oh my. I remember when I was a kid that our grocery store carried clothes, but haven’t seen that in ages. Of course, I shop at Super Target all the time, which has both those things and more. Convenient!

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  13. Looks great. I wish there was a store near me! They’re all miles away. I notice there’s a lot more stores in QLD… you already have the sun, hand over the grocery store clothes! Queenslanders get everything don’t they? Sigh.

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      It’s great, Bron. At first glance I thought it might be too thin fabric but it would work as both a beach dress and something you could dress up for work with a jacket (maybe a slip underneath for work).

  14. Bring it on! For years now my most fabulous fashion purchases have been made when I’m NOT looking. I always find a must-have top or pretty dress while make-up free, armed with my green bags & dressed in my best “Roberta Williams” velour tracky ready to do the groceries. I don’t think I’ll be buying my next races or wedding outfit in Coles, but I LOVE the idea of hiding a new clothing purchase amongst the grocery bill – win! I just hope that the addition of clothes doesn’t reduce the range of grocery product on offer or make the aisle widths narrower.

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      It would be interesting to see in other Coles stores how it is laid out. My local is HUGE – too big – was billed as biggest in Australian when built and kind of spread out to take the space – it even had a cafe. So now the space is actually being better used.

  15. just spent 20 mins looking at the website, and have seen several things that I would like to have a closer look at…

    as you said Nikki, great for basics to add to your existing wardrobe.

    I checked out emerson at big w last week, and walked away with three pairs of stretch capri pants for less then $30. was very happy with that!

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  16. Maybe it’s a good thing that this range isn’t available yet at my local Coles- the range looks great! Tesco in the UK were great for clothes shopping- and I’m glad Coles is getting into the act.

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  17. I went yesterday and walked out with two dresses for myself (and a lot more on my wishlist) and a new hoodie for my daughter. It was like they’d dived into my brain and stolen my style – it was seriously impressive. And so CHEAP!

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  18. I am praying my local Coles doesn’t bring in clothes. It is hard enough making a beeline for the supermarket without stopping to browse around in Westfield, without being tempted by clothes IN THE AISLES. Aaaggghhh!

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  19. Do you know I have always wished I could add simple basics like canvas shoes and tees, camis etc to the shopping? Often I need basics for the kids for sports days etc and it’s a pain to have to go to clothing shops to get them. Or I might need a tee to go under a tracksuit on my way to the gym or something. You just want something simple, comfy that does the job and doesn’t cost too much. I love this idea and hope it’s at my local Coles.

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