Bloggers rain on luxury brand makers parade
Luxury brands are once again mired in online debate about value and product functionality after they previewed their latest collections.
One of the most-talked-about items is an umbrella by adidas x Gucci collaboration, priced at 11,100 yuan (US$1,653) on Gucci's official website in China, and it's not even waterproof.
The luxury umbrella features a G-shaped handle and print designs that combine both brands' symbolic patterns.
"Please note, this item is not waterproof and is meant for sun protection or decorative use," the product details state.
It has sparked wide controversy on Chinese social media since it went online last month.
"It could rob you, but still gives you an umbrella as a souvenir – so merciful," a Weibo-user remarked on the post, which drew 24,438 up votes.
Many netizens viewed it as "an item for rich people to brag about their wealth."
Spanish luxury brand Balenciaga is also in hot water after it released its latest sneaker series.
The dirty-looking, roughed-up shoes replete with massive holes and rips are priced at US$1,850, which has met with amusement and angry online comments. According to the brand, these "extra tattered" high-tops are a limited edition and selling fast.
"As I've been wearing shoes exactly like this for years, I just realize that I'm always walking in the front-line of high fashion," joked an influential blogger with 950,400 followers on Weibo.
"I can find one in the trash bin right away," another Weibo user mocked.
"I want to thank these luxury brands, because they never deceive we poor people," a netizen said ironically.
As a result the topic of "worn-out shoes sold US$1,850" on Weibo has been read about 400 million times, which has sent Balenciaga to the top three "hottest hits."
"It shows the huge difference in people's understanding of the luxury industry," said Flora Zhang from a marketing department of an American fashion brand. "Ordinary consumers sill focus more on functionality when they make purchase decision, but luxury brands sell more than just their products."
This echoes with fashion writer Xi Wu.
"It's a symbol that shapes one's social identity," Xi said. "In a world of consumerism, you are what you buy. The millions of reads with wide social attention is not an easy KPI mission to reach. It's talked about, and it's remembered – the brand image is thus strengthened."