I Don’t! Famed Bridal Designer Vera Wang Cuts Chinese Try-On Fee After Outrage

April 3, 2013  |  

She is known the world over for her glorious bridal gowns with people clamoring the world over to just try on one of her dresses. But will they pay to do so?

Vera Wang, who has been called the queen of bridal couture, announced that, for her bridal boutique in Shanghai, China, there would be a $500 charge just for brides-to-be to try on the dresses, a step taken to deter counterfeiters. Of course, global outcry ensued and now Wang, who is of Chinese descent, has decided to abolish the try-on surcharge, which amounted to about 3,000 yuan.

According to Reuters, “Local and global media had criticized the surcharge as being discriminatory because it was applied only in China.”  Wang’s Shanghai store staged a “soft opening” in January and is company’s first bridal salon in the country.

“Please kindly be informed that Vera Wang has abolished appointment fees at her bridal salons worldwide starting from March 27, 2013,” the company spokeswoman told Reuters in an email.

Wang had reason to fear knockoffs in China. The facts are in the data: According to the latest customs seizure reports from the U.S. and the EU, in 2012, China was the top source country for counterfeit goods entering the United States and the European Union with more than 70 percent originating from China.

Li, one seller of “Vera Wang style” dresses on Taobao Marketplace, China’s largest e-commerce site, told Reuters he can achieve up to 90 percent similarity to the namesake garments without even seeing the originals. “For the experts you don’t need to try on the dress to figure out how to copy it, you just need to see it or feel it at the shop,” said Li, who declined to give his full name.

And the knockoffs are deeply discounted. A Vera Wang original can range anywhere from $2,000 to over $10,000, but Taobao’s imitations go for as little as $100.

However, Alibaba Group, which owns Taobao Marketplace, said they don’t deal in knockoffs. Instead, in a statement to Reuters the company said they works with intellectual property rights holders to take down counterfeit listings and will penalize stores caught.

Do you agree with Wang’s try-on fee?

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