On March 27, 2013, Vera Wang released a statement to be effective immediately; abolishing her 3,000-yuan (£318) required fitting charge that was implemented to her flagship store in China. However, as well as a wash of negative publicity, it seems that all the efforts to put off potential black market rip off merchants were in vain.
In January, as prospective brides who had eagerly waited for Vera Wang to open the doors to her first flagship store in China were hit with more than just romantic lace dresses and tulle. In addition to the several weeks in advance appointment, brides were asked to pay a non-refundable 3,000-yuan (£ 318) fitting fee for a 90-minute session inside the boutique. Even inside the luxurious two-story, 850 square meter flagship located in the Xintiandi district, with complimentary tea and access to the eighty dresses ranging from 30,000 yuan (£3,188) to 300,000 yuan (£ 31,881), Chinese customers were appalled.
her signature sleek romantic vintage wedding gowns have already been found on Taoboa Marketplace, China’s largest e-commerce site
Although not an uncommon practice for boutiques in the region to charge a fitting fee, Wang received local and global criticism. In addition to no camera or film rules, people complained that the fee was discriminatory since it was only applied in China. Much debate was found on Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent to Twitter, where people remarked Wang was demonstrating signs of “classism and snobbery.” In Wang’s defense, the fitting fee was said to be a way to protect her designs from being counterfeited against and the flagship store is only currently open to private VIP appointments.
Despite Wang’s cautious attempts, her signature sleek romantic vintage wedding gowns have already been found on Taoboa Marketplace, China’s largest e-commerce site. With up to 90% similarity, these “Vera Wang” style gown imitations sell for as little as £75. Though putting her company at risk, Wang wishes, “for all Vera Wang customers to enjoy the same standard of excellence worldwide. Treating our customers in a fair and equitable way remains a priority,” further stating that, “upon careful investigation and review of the policies of our international operators, we will be abolishing appointment fees in all of our store.”
By CheRima Manayan