Vera Wang Is Reportedly Charging Customers In China $500 To Try On Her Wedding Gowns

That-Ish-Cray Of The Day

Vera Wang is not playin’ around with her dresses y’all! It is a PRIVILEGE to try her ish on! LOL, okay so here’s the deal. If you’re in China, and you’re getting hitched, and you’re even thinking about wearing a Vera Wang gown, it’s gonna cost you. The designer recently opened a shop in Shanghai and has imposed a new rule stating that anyone who wants to try on a dress must first cough up close to $500 first. The brand claims this is to try to minimize the number of people coming in (posing as brides-to-be) and stealing the designs. But some people are calling bull-ish, even racism. Click inside to learn more!

Fashionista has the story:

If you’re shopping for Vera Wang wedding dresses in Shanghai, you’d better be damn sure you want to walk down the aisle in a Vera Wang wedding dress.

A new policy at the iconic wedding dress designer‘s brand new first ever Shanghai flagship has, understandably, been met with controversy. It reportedly requires that customers put down 3,000 yuan ($482) just to try on a dress, which they have a limited time of 90 minutes to do. It acts as a deposit–if the customer buys the dress, it’s deducted from the total cost. If not, the money’s lost.

According to the original report in Global Times, this is the only Vera Wang store that imposes this rule, meaning Wang’s Chinese customers are being treated differently than Vera Wang customers in other locations. Um, explanation please?

The Global Times cites a Vera Wang press release stating, essentially, that the policy is in place to prevent copyright infringement, meaning the company likely has reason to be concerned about faux customers coming in with the intention of copying Vera Wang designs. As we’ve learned, the majority of design piracy is taking place in China.

The situation recalls last year’s Dolce & Gabbana controversy–the brand infamously banned onlookers from snapping photos of the exterior of its Hong Kong store, claiming it was trying to protect intellectual property. Reports alleged that only Hong Kong locals were stopped, while foreigners and mainland Chinese tourists were welcome to snap as they pleased. The discriminatory policy incited outrage and full-on protests.

It’s also not the only instance of bridal stores charging customers to try on dresses–a Telegraph Australia article from 2008 details bridal shops in Australia that have done the same to deter women who just want to try on wedding dresses for fun.

One thing that maybe makes Vera Wang’s case different is that Wang is first generation Chinese American and her parents were born in Shanghai. Shanghaiist, a Shanghai-based blog, goes so far as to call this fact “the very worst part.”

Shanghaiist also asserts that many consider Chinese customers to be “unsophisticated” and that luxury brands are taking advantage of them–”doing their utmost to squeeze every last drop out of” their wallets and that, “While brides are bribed with wine and flattery in her other flagships around the world, she’s expecting the brides to bribe her in China.” And despite the fees, the site reports that “the store has gained a large number of visitors, with brides booking months in advance to try on dresses and be taken advantage of.”

Yikes! It sounds like they’re saying only certain people are the ones responsible for these acts of design piracy and so it’s okay to try and target those demographics. For Vera Wang those people are apparently in China, and if they wanna steal her designs she’s gonna make ‘em pay (and everyone else too).

I’m very curious to hear what you guys think of this, because it really is an interesting question. Is this tactic wrong– even racist or at least culturally biased?

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  1. I’m not sure if I would cry racism, but I would cry BS on this supposed “copyright infringement.” When Kate Middleton got married and everyone was making knock-offs of her dress, I learned that you can’t copyright designs, only labels. As long as people aren’t slapping Vera Wang labels on the dresses they make, there isn’t any violation.

  2. It’s funny she charges this so-called fee at her only China store, considered her parents were born and raised in Shanghai. I think she does this to play into the Chinese mentality, because this extra fee, it makes the dress even harder and more expensive to get. In China right now it’s all about how much high-end brands one can show off.

  3. As someone who has worked in retail and worked as an alterations seamstress, I totally get where Vera is coming from. People who come in just to try on dresses because they think it would be a fun way to spend an afternoon drain money from a business. When brides would come into where I worked, the worst thing would be them asking for an estimate of how much it would be to alter a dress and you really don’t know until you try everything on and start pinning and tucking. Someone could take an hour of your time and you could give them a price and they just say “Oh that’s too high, I’m going somewhere else.” Now you just lost a client AND that hour.

    Wedding and formal dress piracy is also a HUGE thing and 99.99% of knockoffs come from China. Bootlegs and knockoffs devalue and saturate the market hurting the original owner’s IP. I am all for Vera doing this and will be surprised if other designers don’t start doing this as well.

  4. I am sorry, but I dont’ think this is wrong at all. In recent history, China has been stealing intellectual property left and right. If they would like to be treated like other countries, they needs to have RESPECT for the creations of other people.

  5. Andrea

    I don’t think this is such a big BS, because the majority of knockoffs do come from China. The creator of a product spends hours/days or even months to figure out design, color, style, material etc. Then a cheap copy is made, which certainly doesn’t takes so long, nor does it require any thinking or creativity. I think even rabbits can’t reproduce as fast as China copies designs…

  6. eca

    i agree with andrea… i have friends that use amazing seamstresses that just need to WALK around a dress that someone is wearing to make a darn near exact replica. and sure, it may not have a vera wang label, but that won’t stop anyone from saying ‘yes this is a vera wang!’

    kudos to her for putting her foot down. TONS of knockoffs are coming from china. the only other thing she can do is pull her store. nothing says she has to sell there.

  7. Steph

    This reminds me of a Say Yes to the Dress episode (yes I am an old lady on Friday nights!) where two women were at the sample sale and locked themselves in a changeroom with a number of dresses. The sales person could hear the click of the camera from the outside and asked them to stop and come out, but they refused. I don’t blame Vera at all, however, if this catches on it will suck for all of us who are honest.

  8. Lisa

    Knock offs are for people who can’t afford the overpriced name brands but want to look nice as well. I have no problem with knock offs, unless of course the copiers are attempting to fetch the same price. If people want to spend thousands of dollars on a brand name, then congratulations for the brand designers for convincing them too. There will always be a market for them. But not everyone can afford it, so what can they do?

  9. Terence

    The French always put women’s aaron hernandez jerseys on a performance, returning a fumble for the Giants offense came at the very least.

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