Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Drop it like it's hot

On the mammoth journey that is London to Brisbane, it's only wise to break it up with a little over night stay. Not even 13 hours, dodgy in-flight entertainment and 8 bags of economy class snack mix could keep me away from the cheaper than chips Hong Kong ladies markets.

My extreme reaction to back street shopping often has me somewhat perplexed. There's something quite exhilarating about being lead to a small room with wall to wall exhibits of designer bags. You know the zips will break as soon as you get back to your hotel room, but the secrecy involved in these covert operations is thrilling. It's not to say I don't get super excited about a good day out on Regent Street or at Queens Plaza, it's just, I don't seem to get the sweaty palms and fast heart rate when browsing the racks of Cos and Jaeger.

Why I get such a kick out of this dirty process when I very rarely purchase anything is anyones guess? I mean, shouldn't the adrenaline and satisfaction come with the transaction and the actual owning of the product? The truth is, purchasing one of these 'copy' bags does not sit well with me at all. Maybe its because I've spent too much time developing a conscious whilst reading fashion magazines and watching documentaries on you tube. Or possibly its the result of being ripped off too many times as a guilt free teenager when my Louis Vuitton Graffiti bag just didn't match up.

What ever the reasoning, I left HK once again with only a sweet little Jade broach (no fake label) and a perfume purchase from the always lovely Lane Crawford department store. At my age its time to leave the copy Chloe and dodgy Diesel for those gap year teenagers who are yet to learn the sadness behind the plastic handbags they will purchase on mass. 

So often we read articles on this sad topic and I'm sure we all have strong opinions on why the copy industry should be abolished and how its effected the retail economic situation of many brands. I'm terribly disappointed that the iconic Burberry check is no longer a lusted after fabric and that gone are the days when the LV monogrammed carry all was seen only on business class passengers.

I do admit, however, that I was left in awe when I witnessed the rope and string arrangements displaying copy bags and sunglasses on a recent Spanish mini break. I couldn't help but think - how very clever. The copy items sat on a calico rug which had 4 pieces of rope attached to each corner. At the first sight of local authorities, the 'retailer' pulled the 4 ropes and in a spilt second his 'shop front' turned to a sack and he was off as quick as Santa on Christmas Eve. These guys worked in teams, with a 'look out' that would signal at any sign of police, giving his colleague enough time to close the deal and be off like the wind. With skills such as this I started to wonder how the retailers in question ended up selling tacky plastic Prada bags and scratched Ray Bans for a living when clearly a career in engineering or athletics could have well been on the cards? Economics I guess.

9 people have commented:

Anonymous said...

I have often thought the same thing...if they applied their entrepeneurial skills in another fashion imagine what they could do instead!

As for buying thanks. I have one fake LV and I have chosen to use it as a gym bag rather than throw it out.
I'm like you in that I go to the markets for the fun and atmosphere. I love my high end accessories so I buy the real thing - you can always spot a fake and I worry about how the fakes are produced ie child labour etc.

pretty face said...

That's a great photo! I was surprised by how open the fake bag shops are in Turkey, there are loads just on the high streets and the bags always cost a good £100 or so.

Imelda Matt said...

I couldn't agree more, leave the copies to the gals at Pacific Fair. Welcome homexx

Cupcakes and Cashmere said...

great post...but this pictures isquite unsettling. said...

Gee - I only see tacky sellers with items shoved in a hefty plastic bag in NY on visits. Clever indeed!

Lady Melbourne said...

How fascinating, I'm off to Hong Kong soon, my people need to talk to your people clearly!
It is so lovely to have you home, but I will miss your London musings!
I can't wait to see how you showcasee Brisbane for us though, sans fake bags of course!

Anonymous said...

That's so clever! How funny.

And I share your distaste for copies. Perhaps because I see so many on the arms of 12 year old girls...

Mattie said...

when i was in NYC there were guys just like that selling thier knockoffs on the side of the street in china town. but they had thier knockoffs in suitcases and whenever a police car drove by they quicky closed the case. they were pretty rude too. if i tried to haggle they quickly grab the bag from my hands and move on to the next person. they were even rude to my friend who was trying to tell me that they cost too much. one guy yelled at her and followed her to another store. i felt so bad because i couldn't defend her because i lost her in the crowed

anyway. i'm going on and on


miss a. said...

As much as I despise fake bags, sometimes I can't help but sympathize. It's difficult coming from a country with nearly nothing (and if you do have currency, it's rendered nearly worthless as the exchange rate is ridiculous, especially if you're from Zimbabwe where the exchange rate has hit the millions) and having a degree that's considered worthless. After all, say that you have a B.A. in Chemistry from one of the top universities in Chad. That still doesn't mean anything unless you know how to speak English fluently and can manage to find someone who will take a chance on you, an immigrant. Sometimes it also has to do with legality - maybe they entered the country on leisure visas, which makes them ineligible to work legally. But that doesn't mean that they're justified in what they're doing. It's definitely wrong to hawk counterfeit items. Just don't be so quick to think that they can turn their lives around. Sometimes circumstances prevent people from pursuing their dreams, regardless of how talented they might be as surgeon/engineer/political theorist.