Designer Vera Wang has become a household name nearly worldwide, known mostly for her luxurious wedding gown collection. Celebrities such as Alicia Keys, Kim Kardashian, and even Chelsea Clinton have worn her dresses to exchange their vows, but Wang also sells to the general public -- those with deep pockets or just big budgets.
Her lavish boutiques are located all over the world, but her newest store in Shanghai is stirring up controversy over its new practice.
Casual shoppers hoping to try on a Vera Wang gown in Shanghai better get ready to shell out some cash, because the new boutique charges 3,000 yuan (almost $500) just for the privilege. Not only do women looking for a wedding dress have to pay just to see how the dresses fit, but they also can spend no more than 90 minutes trying them on. In addition, photographs are not allowed. If a customer does decide to buy a dress from the designer, the 3,000 yuan is deducted from the total price. If the bride-to-be doesn't buy anything, she loses the money.
In a press release regarding the policy, the Vera Wang Bridal House Ltd. said that the charge is meant to help protect the copyright of the designer. In China, counterfeiting is rampant in the fashion industry, so it is understandable that Wang would want to take measures to keep her designs from being reproduced. In Hong Kong, some high-end bridal boutiques charge women similar fees for trying on wedding dresses. Plus, charging a fee just to test out a designer's work could weed out those who are not really serious about spending that sort of money. Some Vera Wang gowns go for of tens of thousands of dollars.
According to the Global Times, the store in Shanghai is the only Vera Wang boutique where the fee is being charged.