Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Greed Bag

I just returned from a one-month stay in Europe to find Taiwanese and other Asian fashion fans going all mad over a bag claiming to be environmentally friendly.
You know it, you saw it on TV happening in Taipei, Tainan and Hong Kong: people breaking queues, shoving other people to the floor, shouting and screaming, all for what? To get their hands on a dull brown bag with the text 'I'm not a plastic bag.' And the designer wasn't even a huge celebrity, like Karl Lagerfeld or Tom Ford, and the brand wasn't one of the icons, like Louis Vuitton or Gucci, no, it was just Anya Hindmarch. Until recently, most Asians would certainly have exclaimed 'Anya Who?'
From a name recognition viewpoint, Anya certainly has it made now. Everybody knows her now, maybe even better than Paul Smith and other British designers. But she's also paying the price as a symbol of incompetence - with her stores unable to set up workable lines to get bags to customers on time and in an orderly manner - and greed. Is a bag really worth fighting for? Even more of a joke was the environmental element. I don't know whether Anya herself is a true environmentalist or just a brazen bandwagon jumper, but her customers certainly seem to belong to the latter category. The sales of the bag were followed by loads of trash left by those spending hours in lines. They could've at least dumped the rubbish in the bins, or maybe even in their new environmental bags. But hey, don't expect that from people who jump queues and wrestle each other to the ground.
The department stores gave out some extra bags this week, apparently without too much trouble, but the next bag craze is on the way.
Marc Jacobs has designed a remarkably similar bag with his name on it instead of some outrageous claim, and the thing will go on sale in Taipei next month. Let's wait and see.


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