Buy
November 24, 2007 8:54 AM   Subscribe

Luxury items, once made by European artisans, fetched a high price due to the craft of making the items by hand in small workshops. But now, although the prices are even more astronomical, the products themselves are really cheaply produced in Chinese factories, similar to those that make Gap socks, or baseball caps. Despite this, they continue to be worn as badges bought on thinning credit.
posted by four panels (65 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
The themselves link is a pair of expensive designer shoes which explicitly says "Made In Italy".

I tend to buy your point (having seen quite a few $1,000+ fashion items made in China/India) but your evidence is a bit contradictory.
posted by Bovine Love at 8:58 AM on November 24, 2007


Bovine Love, did you RTF-first-A? Many companies, apparently, will do most assembly in China, and finish in Italy, and thus put a 'Made In Italy' tag on.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:05 AM on November 24, 2007


You can get artisanal construction of anything you like in China to any level of quality you desire. In the middle ages, things made in China were considered nearly miraculous for their attention to detail and you can still get workmanship like that if you specify it and charge for it. It was never cheap.

The idea (shown in the 'badges' link) that someone would pay to display a corporate logo picked out in glass beads is the real puzzle to me. The luxury brands' pandering to atrocious taste makes me wonder why people bother in the first place.
posted by jet_silver at 9:12 AM on November 24, 2007


Hmm... I thought it was already long acknowledged that brands such as Prada and Gucci were no longer actual high end goods. If it is available in a mall in the midwest there is an excellent chance it is cheap crap that is marked up 1000%+ to pay for marketing. Most of the really high end stuff has almost no name recognition unless you are intimate with the market. Would you rather have an Armani, an Alfani or an Attolini?
posted by well_balanced at 9:19 AM on November 24, 2007


I have never understood this type of designer trash. It's all ugly, it's all overpriced, and it's all stupid. But I tell you what, that "badges" link goes to what I've decided for my own personal self is probably one of the most appalling links on the internets.

Ye gods and little fishes, people are really like that. They really care about this stuff. They really do see it as a status symbol. It really means something to them, and they judge their own worth and the worth of others by this crap.

I am striving not to throw up in my mouth. A lot.
posted by perilous at 9:22 AM on November 24, 2007 [9 favorites]


Anyone who buys an expensive item because it has some designer name on it is an idiot of penultimate order. The only one more idiotic is one who judges you worthy if you have their favorite brand names displayed on your person. If you can't tell quality from dreck, you need to get someone who can to help you. If that someone tells you to buy something because of the name on it, get a different someone.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:29 AM on November 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am striving not to throw up in my mouth. A lot.

I am striving not to hire a group of color-blind designers and start contract-manufacturing crap for distribution at 1000% markup.

You can get artisanal construction of anything you like in China to any level of quality you desire. In the middle ages, things made in China were considered nearly miraculous for their attention to detail and you can still get workmanship like that if you specify it and charge for it. It was never cheap.

Very true, though the best Chinese stuff isn't all that expensive.

Interestingly, these "high end" European and American brands are very popular with the newly rich in China, even though they can get better made stuff with a local label.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:32 AM on November 24, 2007


'Tis the season for anti-consumerism posts
Fa la la la la, la la la la!

No luxury goods for me! I'm buying Comet cleanser cozies knitted from free-range organic yarn purchased from the non-profit Womyn's Textile Cooperative for everyone in my family.
posted by elmwood at 9:38 AM on November 24, 2007


No editing - yikes!

FWIW, often I'm in the company of Cleveland's old money crowd. Few of them are brand whores; the flashy, glitzy high-end products consumers apparently crave are seldom found on their person. I'll never forget one lecture from a marketing class I took in college. Paraphrasing the professor:

* Wood furniture marketed towards the very top end of the market generally has a low gloss.
* Wood furniture marketed towards the middle and upper middle income markets have a light to medium gloss.
* Wood furniture marketed towards the bottom of the market usually has a very high gloss. Why? Because low-income consumers think the wealthy have shiny furniture; they think the likes of $399 black lacquered bedroom set at Value City is the norm among the rich and famous.
posted by elmwood at 9:46 AM on November 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


What I really don't get is when wearing the upper class version of a NASCAR jacket with corporate logos everywhere became considered anything but deeply tacky.
posted by cmonkey at 9:47 AM on November 24, 2007



'Tis the season for anti-consumerism posts
Fa la la la la, la la la la!


A natural reaction to the glut of advertising and other nonsense that comes with the holiday season.

From the article:

Consumers should keep in mind that luxury brands are capable of producing real quality at a reasonable price. They know better, and so should we.


That would make it not a luxury item, in the sense the article is stating. Gucci is a status item, and by that nature it must be prohibitively expensive, however slightly.


FWIW, often I'm in the company of Cleveland's old money crowd. Few of them are brand whores; the flashy, glitzy high-end products consumers apparently crave are seldom found on their person.


Of course not. People that rich can't use simple consumer products to demarcate themselves from their peers. You have to send your children to Harvard, you have to have lunch with a Senator, to be seen as on the up and up.

Which is really what this is all about. People trying to look better than their peers, but still conforming to the norms that surround them. Thus the different glosses for the different people. It would do them no good to buy a status item that did not resonate with their peers.
posted by zabuni at 9:59 AM on November 24, 2007


I'm mostly appalled by all this brand whoring, too. Except when it comes to watches. Fine, elegant men's watches. $5000 and up for a precision made, hand assembled mechanical wristwatch.

It's not the watch case and it's not the decorative flash. (Hint: jewels on men's watches are tacky). I like watches because they combine fashion with engineering. And they're so terribly impractical and expensive, yet are beautiful craftsmanship.
posted by Nelson at 10:02 AM on November 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I visited some of these kinds of factories *by accident* a couple years ago - I was vacationing with my Dad, who has a fetish for Chinese Antiques.

It's a different world out there. They're going to bury us.
posted by vhsiv at 10:23 AM on November 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm mostly appalled by all this brand whoring, too. Except when it comes to watches. Fine, elegant men's watches. $5000 and up for a precision made, hand assembled mechanical wristwatch.

...that don't necessarily keep any better time than a cheap electronic watch that sets itself from NIST radio signals.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:23 AM on November 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm with perilous.

The whole consumerist culture baffles me to a degree that even the rabid anti-choicers don't. From my POV it looks very sheeplike in that the attraction doesn't seem to be to any actual functionality, appearance, or quality, but rather exclusively to brand names, and apparently specific product lines within a brand.

I'm all for people getting into hobbies, but this seems more like a deliberate embrace of the pathological hoarding rather than a hobby.

And of course, it also has classism and a complete internalization of the patriarchy. The person in the badges link comes across as a complete airhead, and that's deliberate I'm sure. She's embracing the caricture expected for wealthy women: brainless, materialistic, "addicted" to shopping, etc. Its the role that the society she was born into expects, and she's accepted it.

Nelson I guess I'm too much of a functionalist, I haven't worn a watch since I started carrying a cell phone. The engineering aspect is cool, but for that I'd rather go for a big clock so you can see its workings more easily.

And, for that matter, if its about engineering and appearance, why worry about brand?
posted by sotonohito at 10:25 AM on November 24, 2007


Ah, watches.

As to rich and fashion, I've mentioned it here before, but old money tends towards the old and comfortable and safe and boring; new money the fun and fabulous and fast and disposable.

As to Harvard, children of old money is frequently too dumb to get in, donations notwithstanding. (Moreover, they frequenlty do not care. It's the prep school that one makes the social connections.)

Lunching with senators? That would be slumming, something one does only if one has to have something done that only the senator can do. But you surely would not have one over to the house, not unless you absolutely had to.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:28 AM on November 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, these "high end" European and American brands are very popular with the newly rich in China, even though they can get better made stuff with a local label.

What's interesting is that the 'legit' luxury stuff is almost as cheap as the knockoffs there, because that's where they're made.
posted by delmoi at 10:31 AM on November 24, 2007


Today's New York Times frets that The Elite Shop Costco.
posted by washburn at 10:32 AM on November 24, 2007


That purse forum makes me weep for humanity :(
posted by delmoi at 10:33 AM on November 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


Maybe this is why four panels linked to the shoes at Saks Fifth Avenue. From the NY Times article:

How do the brands get away with this? Some hide the “Made in China” label in the bottom of an inside pocket or stamped black on black on the back side of a tiny logo flap. Some bypass the “provenance” laws requiring labels that tell where goods are produced by having 90 percent of the bag, sweater, suit or shoes made in China and then attaching the final bits — the handle, the buttons, the lifts — in Italy, thus earning a “Made in Italy” label. Or some simply replace the original label with one stating it was made in Western Europe.
posted by LoriFLA at 10:34 AM on November 24, 2007


I remember a forum I was posting on once had a bunch of people who started saying that people who purchased knockoff bags from vendors or websites were basically, and I'm half paraphrasing here, 'pieces of shit that ruined the reputations of those who carried the real $4000 deal'.

When it's so heated that people will care what kind of bag you carry and insult your entire existence if they don't like it, then we have a problem.

Honestly, I love bags. But I would never pay over $100 for one.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:36 AM on November 24, 2007


What's the difference between buying an expensive purse versus buying and expensive gaming platform?
posted by KokuRyu at 10:36 AM on November 24, 2007


Are being a brand-slave and being a Me-Fite incompatible? In-group, out-group. Same difference.
posted by fcummins at 10:39 AM on November 24, 2007


What's the difference between buying an expensive purse versus buying and expensive gaming platform?

I'd buy the second, but not the first?

But in light of things, "expensive purse" could mean $1-5,000 and up (a really ugly "patchwork" Louis Vuitton bag went for $42,000 recently). A game system is only a couple of hundred bucks. A gaming PC, built from the ground up, would be a more even comparison though.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:46 AM on November 24, 2007


And, for that matter, if its about engineering and appearance, why worry about brand?

Because at this point in time the major watch brands still do make the best quality watches. IWC, Blancpain, Patek Philippe, Audemar Piguet; you're going to get a very well made watch, and pay for it. I think I like that the brands are obscure and are desirable because the thing they do so well is hidden away inside the case. These brands are also too expensive for me though, the only fancy watch I've ever bought was a Chronoswiss as a gift.

Rolex is the Prada / Louis Vuitton equivalent for watches. They make a decent watch, if a bit ugly. But their craftsmanship isn't up to their price. And their market saturation makes them less interesting.
posted by Nelson at 10:46 AM on November 24, 2007


Here's the eyesore patchwork bag. The entire lot sold out, despite the horrible design and $42,000 pricetag.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:47 AM on November 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


*Caresses carhartt insulated work coverall, tells it not to listen*
I love you carhartts...so much. I'll buy you long time.
posted by greenskpr at 10:49 AM on November 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


To me, watches have always felt like handcuffs that, however beautiful or well-crafted they may be, advertise the fact that we're all slaves to industrial time. Not wearing one doesn't make you any less of a slave, of course, but at least you're not continually reminded of it.

/ YMMV, of course.
/ typical MeFite, overthinking a watch
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:52 AM on November 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


But the brand names of big watches, IWC, Blancpain etc are all prominent and play a big part of thier look.

I don't know buit I'll go along that the engineering and build quality are sufficient to warrant the price (as opposed to so many expensive purses), but still.

Similarly, look at Macintosh computers and iPods, etc. Brilliantly promoted brand.

Now, the real Ninja of branding is Porsche. They make a terrific product, the spare parts cost a shit load, they have a line of attractive non-car items (with I'm sure a healthy mark-up) and last year they didn't really need to make either of those things.
posted by From Bklyn at 10:53 AM on November 24, 2007


part of their look.
gah

oh, and "but" for "buit"

sorry, I will edit
posted by From Bklyn at 10:56 AM on November 24, 2007


I don't understand why this is so scandalous. Why does it matter to anyone other than Italian and Chinese factory workers whether an expensive bag is made in Italy or China? Is it just racism? four panels, why was this worth posting about?
posted by nowonmai at 11:16 AM on November 24, 2007


I don't really get the point of this, when you buy designer you do it for the design, the craftsmanship/materials are secondary. There is a reason why everyone attacked H&M and Target when they got the top designers to come in at a quarter of the price. If you looked hard enough you could easily find a leather purse for $50 that would last for 20 years, but that's not the point. The best designers can demand top dollar that's why their products costs so much, in turn they don't want their designs executed in anything but the best materials and craftsmanship, but once again this is secondary.

Good design and style is a luxury, if you don't value it, obviously don't buy it, but don't pretend like your luxury of choice is somehow morally superior to clothes, shoes or purses, it just isn't.
posted by whoaali at 11:20 AM on November 24, 2007


dirtynumbangelboy:Many companies, apparently, will do most assembly in China, and finish in Italy, and thus put a 'Made In Italy' tag on.

No evidence is presented that the products linked to are manufactured in China. If we wish do discuss misleading provenance that is story. If we wish to discuss paying artisan prices for sweatshop produced goods, that is a story.

Vague claims of the former in an editorial and a showcase of expensive items doesn't really address either story. And there is no evidence for "most".
posted by Bovine Love at 11:24 AM on November 24, 2007


KokuRyu I'd argue that the difference is that there's only three kinds of gaming platforms, once they're bought they're bought, though of course then we get into buying games to go on them.

But purses, if I'm reading the "badges" link properly, apparently don't work that way. They buy a purse, and another, and another, and another, and another ad infinitum. Most of which cost *more* than even the highest dollar gaming platform.

It might be comperable to someone who buys every version of the XBox 360, for every region code, and does the same with the PS3, the Wii, all the portables, etc. And then I'd say the same thing: it seems more like pathological hoarding than a fun hobby.
posted by sotonohito at 11:27 AM on November 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Most people I know buy a "luxury" brand because it's of a certain quality. But they steery clear of the items with badges and logos or certain well-known plaids.

My gf sticks with Loro Piana- beautiful clothing, still made in Italy, no logos, incredible quality and virtually unknown to the prols. And they make bags.
posted by wfc123 at 11:30 AM on November 24, 2007


Disregard my "most" comment. I am going mad.

I recently bought my girlfriend two bags from Rowland Leather. Locally made by artisans, very well made, lifetime free repairs, beautiful and quite reasonable prices.
posted by Bovine Love at 11:45 AM on November 24, 2007


I've never cared much for 'luxury items'. If it works, and does what I need it to do, looks and cost aren't a major factor for me, or for my woman. However, our home burned down a few years ago, and because of the way the insurance worked, the woman did buy a few high end purses, one of which cost $1800 I think. The reason is that the insurance company was willing to pay five grand or so toward replacing lost purses (woman had a *lot* of purses!), or we could cash them out and get only about $600. So the choice was six hundred cash or five grand in purses. So, purses it was. BUT, the woman didn't want to shop around for a zillion purses, so she just bought a few really expensive ones. That's basically my only experience with 'luxury items'.

Could be that luxury goods (as a status symbol or one-upmanship or whatever) are more important to folks that work for and/or with others. I work at home, for myself, and rarely have to deal with people at all, so luxury *fashion* wouldn't do a thing for me; I work in my underwear more than half the time as it is. ;)
posted by jamstigator at 11:53 AM on November 24, 2007


High end handbags actually have quite a bit of utility to them that I think you guys are missing. Where do you expect a socialite to stuff her Vicodin and Xanax bottles, in her bra?
posted by The Straightener at 12:28 PM on November 24, 2007


I'll take a stab at this, though I'm sure it's just stupid musings.
Decades ago, Gucci, Armani, Louis Vuitton, etc were the actual high end. They once were manufactured by artisans and were the top of the top. But, as they were establishing themselves as such, production costs were dropping. What were once the ultimate in quality and craftsmanship came to be much more easily mass-produced.
The key is that the image endured, at least in the minds of the middle and lower classes. As noted above, those with real wealth buy from labels most of us have never heard of, or they have things custom-made that no one else can get. Yet since these exclusive manufacturers don't advertise, and since they are actually too expensive for any of the lower classes to afford, they don't challenge, in the popular consciousness, the image of the "high-end" brands known to us as the height of luxury. So these brands maintain an image of unattainability and exclusivity without actually being unattainable or exclusive. Also as noted above, because of this they become talismans of status. You are carrying a thing that represents high class, so you are high class.
But beyond that, I think perhaps people are being too harsh in calling the consumers of these items sheep or hoarders or idiots. I think, often, what people are buying is a feeling: the feeling of status and glamor and opulence. Alain de Botton notes in his interview on the aesthetics of architecture Philosophy Bites (an excellent podcast) that people from lower classes have what he calls a "chocolate box aesthetic". They often vastly overdecorate and have a very "sweet" taste to compensate for the lack of actual wealth. I recall an essay, I want to say it's by George Orwell, about how government calculations for what a family in England during the war needed to survive were flawed because they only included the bare necessities, but in reality people don't want just what's necessary to live. People want sweets now and then, or meat, or something to liven up a dull existence. So I think that's one reason why you'll see people who, say, drive a 10 year old car but carry a Gucci purse. To them they have bought the feeling of luxury absence in their lives which, emotionally, can justify what to us may seem like a ridiculous expense.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:53 PM on November 24, 2007 [9 favorites]


I don't understand why this is so scandalous. Why does it matter to anyone other than Italian and Chinese factory workers whether an expensive bag is made in Italy or China? Is it just racism? four panels, why was this worth posting about?

If you buy a Louis Vuitton bag, you expect it's going to be handmade in France, and not in a factory in China.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:55 PM on November 24, 2007


Sorry to go on, but I forgot to add that I think in part this has also been fueled by the rise of mass pop culture, especially rock and most especially hip-hop. Music stars often come from poor backgrounds where they have absorbed the view of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc as "high class". So when they make it big, that's what they purchase and promote. You see this all the time in rap videos and songs where there is constant boasting about buying Gucci this or Prada that. This only reinforces the view of the middle and lower classes that these items are what the rich have, because it's what the most visible "rich", music and movie stars, have. People have virtually no contact or information about the truly wealthy, and so won't be exposed to their buying habits.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:57 PM on November 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you buy a Louis Vuitton bag, you expect it's going to be handmade in France, and not in a factory in China.

Well, I'm not sure I expect anything that's made in sufficient numbers to be sold in every mall in the world to be handmade in any particular place. But why is China a less desirable origin than France?
posted by nowonmai at 1:16 PM on November 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Because the vast number of inferior goods that china has exported over the last 20 years has diluted China's "brand." China makes some of the best luxury goods, but we have no idea where to get them, heck even most Chinese don't know how to get access to them.
posted by captaincrouton at 1:34 PM on November 24, 2007


There's the perception that goods made in China are less trustworthy and less reliable, made by less experienced workers who don't come from long generations of purse-making families in little workshops in the rolling hills of Sicily or wherever, and thus don't really carry on the apparent "tradition" of quality handmade European designer leather things. There is also the fact that significant numbers of imitations and knockoffs of designer bags are also made in China, possibly even in the same factories producing the genuine articles (which may or may not actually be the case, but it's the perception of less integrity that counts).
posted by casarkos at 1:51 PM on November 24, 2007


Because the vast number of inferior goods that china has exported over the last 20 years has diluted China's "brand."

Before China, it was Korea, and before Korea, it was Japan that made all the cheap, low-quality goods. I remember that; I guess a lot of people here don't. China has made enormous progress in quality manufacturing. My wife has a Yamaha piano made in China, and some of the Chinese-brand-name instruments are competing with established names for quality. Now it's South Asia where the real junk comes from.

About watches: a friend toured some of the Swiss watch factories. He claims that except for the mechanical watches, they all use ordinary Japanese quartz movements, just like Timex. It's because those quartz movements are every bit as accurate as anything the Swiss ever built. You're paying a lot of money for the fancy case and the fancy name.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:10 PM on November 24, 2007


People interested in fine watches aren't talking about quartz movements. Most mechanical watch movements come from the Swiss company ETA, owned by Swatch. The finer brands either extensively customize the ETA movements or build their own.
posted by Nelson at 2:22 PM on November 24, 2007


I understand iterative and incremental design, where you have been doing quite similar products for a long, long time and so gained an insight of how these things really should be done. Your factory/workshop really can be better making products that last longer, work better, look prettier.

What I don't understand is that how we're supposed to believe that brand's expertise suddenly spreads out to whole catalog of very different products. Because you've done good suits, you suddenly have experience and knowledge in watches and perfumes too? That is one point where 'brand = quality' breaks.

Quality breakpoint two is young star designers rolling out new product lines. Why are we supposed to believe that accumulated design wisdom is still present in these journeyman works?

Third breakpoint is when production or brand ownership moves around. You cannot be sure that those skilled people are still working there.

It is damn useful when you can use brand names as guides, but it is getting increasingly difficult. It is better to go naive and feel stuff than to try to keep track of what is good and what was good.
posted by Free word order! at 2:25 PM on November 24, 2007


I imagine that if someone bought me an LV or Chanel bag for a gift I'd give it away, same as with the last two iPods I was given.
posted by birdie birdington at 2:49 PM on November 24, 2007


I saw a man at a NY Jets game that had the Louis Vuitton pattern covering an entire leg. I don't know if he was cheapening the brand or if he had become a luxury item with his "branding."
posted by Frank Grimes at 3:24 PM on November 24, 2007


I don't really get the point of this, when you buy designer you do it for the design, the craftsmanship/materials are secondary.

It wasn't always that way. Originally, most of the big fashion houses built their names via their haute couture designs. Then, as now, haute couture involved both cutting edge design, the most expensive and sumptuous fabrics, and the highest quality workmanship. It was the high fashion equivalent of a Saville Row suit. Chanel's advertising materials read Paris/London/New York, and you could only buy their couture range through those flagship shops.

Today, many of the big fashion houses still produce a couture range, but that's not where the money is. The money is in the 'diffusion' lines. These products were never aimed at the people who bought the couture lines, which have always been out of the price range of most people, but even more so today. The diffusion lines were aimed at the aspirant petit bourgeoisie and working classes youth with low salaries but high disposable incomes.

The thing that I really find disappointing personally, is when you've got a product that's mass produced to a high standard, sells at a premium but is still affordably priced, and is a design classic. The product gets bought out by a company wanting to make a fast buck, so they drop the quality, raise the price, and market the arse out of it. Mont Blanc pens, Zippo Lighters, Globetrotter Suitcases, Borsalino Hats, Ray Ban sunglasses, Ben Sherman shirts, Dr. Marten's Air Ware boots, etc. etc. etc.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:41 PM on November 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


Can we have arrived at this point in the thread with no one invoking Veblen's
? Full text available here.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:43 PM on November 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Whoops. "?" was supposed to be "Theory of the Leisure Class." Sorry, Internets!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:44 PM on November 24, 2007


@ Frank Grimes - You mean a tattoo?
posted by Iron Rat at 5:31 PM on November 24, 2007


women be shopping.
posted by subtle-t at 7:53 PM on November 24, 2007


PeterMcDermott: throw in Bose speakers, although they probably did that to themselves.
posted by delmoi at 9:09 PM on November 24, 2007


Wood furniture marketed towards the bottom of the market usually has a very high gloss.

Wood furniture with a hand-applied, hundred-layer French Polish is extremely high-gloss. Of course, if you put your fucking glass of ice on it without protection of any kind, you'll get near-instant rings-o-death. But that's why you hire man-servants to carry your drinks for you.

Ye gods and little fishes, people are really like that. They really care about this stuff.

Walk down the corridors of any high school in America if you want to see it at its worst.

Rolex is the Prada / Louis Vuitton equivalent for watches.

No, TAG Haeur is the Prada / LV equivalent for watches. If you want to see something funny, watch how rapidly the class-aspirists unravel on AskMe.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:32 AM on November 25, 2007


The problem with wearing a brand that genuinelyembodies the ethos that Gucci et al purport to is in most cases nobody will have ever heard of it.
posted by rhymer at 3:16 AM on November 25, 2007


Actually if you believe any of this brand stuff (and I'm amazed how many people do) you probably deserve to be ripped off. Anything worth wearing has a label on the inside.

And if you want something that fits you beautifully and looks great, go to a proper tailor or a shoemaker or somesuch.

The prices actually compare quite favourably to that quilted jacket with D&G stitched on the back that you covet so highly.
posted by rhymer at 3:26 AM on November 25, 2007


So, basically the story is that some rich people are making insane profits off of other rich people's vanity by using poor people to do the work? I'm outraged.
posted by moonbiter at 4:53 AM on November 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


As to Harvard, children of old money is [sic] frequently too dumb to get in...

Exactly. Err -- what?
"As yesterday's positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured."— New York, Sept. 26, 2007

"[T]he illiteracy level of our children are appalling."— Washington, D.C., Jan. 23, 2004

"Laura and I really don't realize how bright our children is sometimes until we get an objective analysis."— CNBC, April 15, 2000

-- George W. Bush, Yale 1968; Harvard 1975
posted by ericb at 9:01 AM on November 25, 2007


>pair of expensive designer shoes which explicitly says "Made In Italy".

Oh - you mean like the genuine, Italian-made Natuzzi leather couch I had to wait 6 monthes for?

The one, that when delivered could not be assembled due to poor instructions and a lack of parts.

The one that, when I flipped it over to take a peek - found a sticker that detailed the Chinese wharehouse shipping address & instructions.

No - perhaps, "designed in Italy" - but definately not made there...
posted by jkaczor at 9:35 AM on November 25, 2007


The problem with wearing a brand that genuinely embodies the ethos that Gucci et al purport to is in most cases nobody will have ever heard of it.

But isn't that a feature?
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 1:22 PM on November 25, 2007


At bottom, these days "brand name cachet" is really nothing more than a tax on the stupid.
posted by orange swan at 6:44 AM on November 26, 2007


I remember a forum I was posting on once had a bunch of people who started saying that people who purchased knockoff bags from vendors or websites were basically, and I'm half paraphrasing here, 'pieces of shit that ruined the reputations of those who carried the real $4000 deal'.

I have a knockoff Birken bag. (Because the odds of me spending 10 grand on a purse are nada, whereas I was ok ponying up the $50-100 bucks for the same purse without the logo.) I had some woman come up to me at Nordstroms and actually ask to see my bag. (The southern "let me see that", which is shorthand for "give that to me so I can play with it".)

When I raised an eyebrow and said "Erm...what? No. What are you thinking?" she got all kinds of hostile. She went off about people who carried knockoff bags and how my red crocodile purse didn't even look like it was really crocodile because it was too shiny...yadda, yadda, yadda...

I was frankly astounded, and too shocked to do anything but just stand there staring at her frothing at the mouth. Fortunately, my sister, who is almost never at a loss for words, looked at her and said "Listen lady, if you're here to give a citation for the fashionista police, get on with it. Otherwise, please take your logo plastered self somewhere far away from me. God only knows if that madness is contagious."

I laughed out loud and we wandered off to torture other trophy wives.
posted by Peecabu at 12:05 PM on November 26, 2007


This thread has made it to The Consumerist.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:30 AM on November 27, 2007


« Older Richard Thompson and his exquisite songs.   |   A Good Story About Programming Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments