Vera Wang charging brides-to-be for a fitting
Replicas have become commonplace in the fashion industry. Like every designer, Vera Wang has concerns that someone will duplicate her hard work and claim it as their own, and then sell the design at a knock-out price. To safeguard herself, she decided to charge shoppers at the label’s new Shanghai bridal store a fee for trying on gowns.
She has created gorgeous wedding gowns for the likes of Mariah Carey, Victoria Beckham and Kim Kardashian. Clearly her designs are in high demand.
With 10 million Chinese couples marrying every year in a country where the wedding industry is said to be worth £8.5 billion, Vera looked set to make a hefty profit from enthusiastic brides anxious to be pictured in one of her designs.
But the local press slammed the designer, especially as she is herself a first generation Chinese American, whose parents were born in Shanghai.
However, it isn’t just Vera Wang who has imposed these hefty fees in China. Omega Watches charge customers three times as much in China than in their Milan store, and also charge for a replacement service, which is free in Europe.
Wang stated in a press release that the fee is meant to “protect the copyright of the designer,” which many agreed was extreme, but fair given the popularity of Vera Wang knock-off dresses online.
How did she plan on safeguarding herself?
The 63-year-old was charging brides-to-be a non-refundable fee of £318 to try on gowns for only 90 minutes at her flagship shop in the heart of Shanghai. The boutique, situated in the Huangpu district, showcases around 80 dresses priced between £3,177 and £31,770.
The Global Times reported that the policy aimed to “protect the copyright of the designer,” as a statement from the company. The use of photography is prohibited.
Why it all backfired?
Following a storm of complaints on Twitter, Vera Wang felt obligated to discontinue appointment fees at all of the label’s international bridal stores. What proved more controversial than the fee itself was the fact that it only applied to the famous designer’s boutique in Shanghai – the first and only of stores in all of China.
In a statement given to the WWD by Vera: “Treating our customers in a fair and equitable way remains a priority. Upon careful investigation and review of the policies of our international operators, we will be abolishing appointment fees in all of our stores. We wish 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. The store in Shanghai has only been open to private VIP preview appointments. The official opening to the public will take place on April 29.”
In spite of the steep fee, the store had a massive amount of visitors, with bookings made months in advance to try on dresses. Eager brides, we dare say!