Some people use their January break for a Caribbean cruise. Others catch up on sleep. Not Vincent Quan, associate professor of Fashion Merchandising Management. He researched the malls of Shanghai, surreptitiously photographing storefronts and interrogating sales clerks.
Hue bets he’s lots of fun to travel with.
China sells the same luxury brands as the U.S.—Coach, Louis Vuitton, and gobs of Gucci—but many of the mass-market brands are different. Yet some of the stores he saw look awfully familiar…
These people don’t look Chinese…
Hue’s favorite is Plory, a horribly misconceived portmanteau. Sounds like a pesky little bird.
Quan discovered that many of these stores are Korean brands trying to gain market share by leveraging existing “American” looks. All the major Korean conglomerates—Samsung, LG, and Hyundai, for example—have fashion divisions.
In addition to Uggs, Quan found Iggs, Jumbo-Ugg, and Uggworld. Because there just aren’t enough Ugg-like boots in this world.
This unabashed celebration of mistranslation reminds Hue of a popular toy made in China.
After all that shopping, Quan went home empty-handed. Because China’s retail model includes a string of taxes and middlemen, one could get PTSD from the sticker shock. A pair of Allen Edmonds shoes cost $800. A Brooks Brothers dress shirt cost almost $300.
“You’d get a much better value in New York City,” he admits.