Friday, January 6, 2012

Hong Kong: Who's Real and Who's Fake?

Prior to my first visit to Hong Kong, China last October everyone I spoke to who has had the opportunity to visit this enchanting city all described it as "a giant shopping mall".  This description definitely peaked my interest, but also left me begging the question "What's bigger than shopping in NYC?"

Little did I know! The first thing you notice upon arriving in Hong Kong is the number of shopping centres, shopping districts, and street markets per square footage is insane.  The city is only 427 square miles, but manages to pack 84+ shopping centres, 3 large street markets, etc. 

With all of these various facets and avenues for shopping, one can not help but notice all of the logos that swarm you on a daily basis.  It is literally a sensory overload of designer logos from LouisVuitton, Gucci, Burberry, etc  Seeing so many women carrying handbags that normally retail for thousands, while wearing $10 dollar shoes I couldn't help but wonder: where is everyone getting their fakes and if everyone that I seen carrying a designer handbag was carrying a fake.

After a little bit of poking around and research I discovered that Hong Kong has it's fair share of counterfeit handbags, but there was a unique anomaly of a large number of retail locations dedicated to the re-sale of designer handbags.  Here for my second visit to Hong Kong, I decided I need to visit one of these re-sale shops. Yesterday I went to one in Mong Kok and was amazed at the large selection of Hermes handbags, but was even more floored by the price ticket.  Many were priced at around HK$16,800 (equivalent to approx. $2,100 USD).  The craftsmanship on these bags were impeccable.  The shape and hardware was spot on.  Yet, the key giveaway that made me begin to hestitate was the stitching. Although the thought of snagging a heavily discounted priced Birkin was very enticing, I couldn't seem to shake the nagging feeling of "is this real?". 

In the end I left with nothing.  I remembered what an amazing feeling it is to actually go into a designer boutique and have the pom & royal treatment that you are given when you purchase a designer handbag.  But the most important thing to remember is that you have the great feeling of reassurance and security that you purchased your designer hangbag from a legit source and know that it's real!

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