Monday, April 25, 2016

Ted, say it isn't so?

It's cute but has a shadowy past!
I like Ted Baker designs -- clean simple lines. I like classics. So, imagine my surprise when I was at the Great Falls Friends and Neighbors Scholarship Fashion Show last weekend at Bloomingdales and found the cutest little Ted Baker equestrian hat (navy blue wool felt). It was great and actually reasonably priced for #Bloomies, $65. And since 10% of the purchases for that day went to the #GFFN scholarship fund, I figured it was just meant to be.

You know that old phrase that says "if it looks too good to be true it probably is"? Well, this was too good to be true. Since when did Ted Baker start outsourcing his London designs to China? If I wanted a Ted Baker Made in China hat (or any other piece of clothing) I would buy just that but I wanted a Ted Baker Made in London hat. 

I read an article (it was dated back in 2009 but seems nothing has changed much since then, read it here ) that many luxury brands have laid off a sizable amount of their local workers and outsourced to China where they pay a fraction of the wages. And yet, their luxury name brand prices have risen not fallen with the cost savings. Exactly how does that instill pride of ownership and trust from consumers? Some luxury brands that are either noted in the article or that I have seen with my own eyes with "Made in China" tags:

Louis Vuitton
Dolce & Gabbana
Ted Baker
Etienne Aigner

Thank you Fendi and Gucci who still make things in Italy; Betsey Johnson who keeps it real in the USA (find other quality stuff made in the good 'ol US of A at @MadeInUSAblog); and Christian Louboutin who still delivers from France. Thanks be to the luxury gods for some honest brands!

Back to my point, many Chinese companies are really good at making knock offs (great article on it here Hold on, I'm not a proponent of piracy or fake luxury items. Now, when you take someone else's designs and make knock offs, that's stealing and I don't like stealing. But do you know what I hate worse than stealing? Lying! When a  luxury brand makes me think I am paying $1,000 for that handbag because a skilled Italian craftsman has hand stitched it using techniques passed down from five generations, when in reality the luxury company paid a Chinese worker $10 to make the purse and still charged $1,000, that is lying! It's also called greed and I don't like that either.

Now don't go thinking I'm a "Murican" snob and only buy from the USA. I do buy things made in China and when I do, I try to buy from companies who pay their workers decent wages. I try to be an informed consumer and not buy from companies that game the system to boost profits while hurting others. Not going to do it, wouldn't be prudent (yeah, I did just link former President Bush with a fashion blog ... I'm good that way).

How do I "wear with pride" when I know I've cheated some Chinese guy/gal?

No comments:

Post a Comment