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?