Saturday, August 1, 2015

Vera Wang is no longer charging fees to try-on her dresses

Imagine what would happen to boutiques if they charged a try-on fee.

Vera Wang is no longer charging fees to try-on her dresses

Vera Wang´s spring 2011 line featuring several non-white hues. (Photos courtesy of Vera Wang)
Vera Wang's spring 2011 line featuring several non-white hues. (Photos courtesy of Vera Wang)

The beauty of boutiques is this:

Walk in, select a few pieces you like, step into a fitting room, take a few selfies, and purchase the products you like. Simple. Now imagine what would happen if boutiques charged a try-on fee: Business would plummet.

Last week, a report surfaced that Vera Wang's Shanghai bridal boutique was charging clients a considerable fee of 3,000 yuan (or approximately $482) per 90-minute appointment to try-on the designer's dresses. The Internet, outraged over the practice, accused Wang of snobbery, exclusivity and class discrimination. The designer's team, on damage control, told Refinery29 that the fee "was surprising to us too," adding that the practice is "left to the discretion of local operators."

On Tuesday, Wang told WWD, "Upon careful investigation and review of the policies of our international operators, we will be abolishing appointment fees in all of our stores."

The charge was implemented earlier this year with the hopes to curb copyright infringement - a legitimate concern applicable to "customers" who walk in with the intent of copying Wang's designs. A seller of "Vera Wang style" dresses on China's biggest e-commerce site told Reuters he can duplicate Wang's gowns with a 90 percent similarity after his scouts "see it or feel it at the shop." In addition to counterfeit concerns, a staffer at the boutique gave another reason why the operation had implemented the fee in the first place:

"A lot of high school and college students were coming here and weren’t serious about buying a wedding dress so that’s why we started the fitting fee."

In Wang's defense, her Shanghai boutique isn't even open to the public until April 29. And the $482 included cookies and tea.
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