In the retail industry, there are specific qualities that separate associates from the good and the bad. Each store is specifically designed to cater to a clientele that expects an experience that can only be delivered through customer service, be it luxury, standard, or poor. Similarly, its associates must, at least, look like the clients they are serving and styling. For example, You would NEVER, and correct me if I’m wrong, walk into a Louis Vuitton or any other “designer” store and see an associate who doesn’t look or sound polished; It is not “brand.” Conversely, you would NEVER, and again, correct me if I’m wrong, walk into Hollister and see an associate dressed in a suit admiring your handbag because, again, it is not “brand.” Now, one may ask why I am writing about this, or why does it matter? Well, I’m going to entertain this. Recently, I walked into a store, that will remain anonymous, and was greeted by an associate who one, looked disheveled, uncomfortable, and dingy. She was dressed in all black, which is standard if you choose to not wear the merchandise, but her black clothes were ashy and wrinkled. Riddle me this, if there is a steamer in the back of the store, which I know there are multiple, why would you come onto the sales floor looking the way you do? How do you expect someone to purchase an item that costs over one to two hundred dollars, and you look and sound like a BOGO deal at H&M? This moved me to question if we workers of retail have forgotten what it means to be “brand.” Now to some outsiders, I may sound a bit harsh and judgmental, but for those working in the retail/styling industry, from the average to high end market, I’m sure you would agree that there is a standard for how you should dress and represent the brand for which you are working for. Now, I can see if this was the only associate who looked like this, but there were others. It could have been a bad day, but there is no excuse when working in such a superficial industry. It doesn’t take much to steam your clothes in the back room or to slick your hair back in a bun or ponytail. Black is always in vogue. How do you manage to ruin black? I haven’t even gone into detail about the sizes the store carries versus the sizes of some of its associates. That’s a low blow and I think that everyone is gorgeous in their own right. But why, retailers of America, would you look past the definition of “brand?” I wish I could give a concrete definition to the word “brand” in regards to the fashion industry, but it changes given your work environment. Chime in, comment, and let me know what you think. I’m curious.