Nearly $500 To Try Vera Wang Wedding Dresses? Not Anymore

The brand and the store changed policies after receiving backlash from the Chinese public and worldwide

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Would you pay nearly $500 to try on Vera Wang bridal gowns for an hour and a half? That’s what the New York-based couturier, who has dressed noteworthy clients such as Chelsea Clinton, Victoria’s Secret model Lily Aldridge, Hilary Duff, Ivanka Trump, Victoria Beckham and Khloe Kardashian, asked of all potential clients at her boutique in Xintiandi in Shanghai’s Huangpu district, to do (the exact amount was 3,000 yuan or $482).

The brand and the store received such backlash from the Chinese public and worldwide, that Wang announced via official statement to Women’s Wear Daily that, “Upon careful investigation and review of the policies of our international operators, we will be abolishing appointment fees in all of our stores… We wish for all Vera Wang customers to enjoy the same standard of excellence worldwide. Treating our customers in a fair and equitable way remains a priority. The store in Shanghai has only been open to private VIP preview appointments. The official opening to the public will take place on April 29.”

The boutique—the brand’s first in mainland China—opened earlier this year, by appointment only, and a staff member told WWD that, “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 … We just wanted to make sure we were serving the right customers, and the [fee] is then redeemable off the purchase price of any gown.” The 80 or so custom-made dresses in the store sell for anywhere from 30,000 to 300,000 yuan ($4,280 to $42,800).

The daily China-based newspaper The Global Times observed, “People may complain that if Vera Wang doesn’t trust her Chinese customers, then she shouldn’t be setting up shop here in the first place,” while recognizing, in the same article, that copyright, trademark and intellectual property infringements are rampant in the country. A 2009 study by the U.S. International Trade Commission estimated that, on the low end, $14.2 billion was lost worldwide as a result of intellectual property infringements in China alone.

While the practice of charging a small amount for sessions to try on clothing isn’t unheard of in China, the 3,000 yuan amount is unusually high, and so considered an affront to potential clients.  Wang is New York-born but her parents are both originally from Shanghai, so she does have a cultural connection to China and to the city.

In 2012, Italian-based fashion house Dolce & Gabbana physically prevented window shoppers from taking photos of the displays in their Hong Kong store, triggering street protests of more than 1,000 people, causing the store to close early that day. Time will tell if the Chinese public will overlook the initial policy decision and wear Vera for their own wedding affairs.

53 comments
Pauline
Pauline

According to net-a-porter, certain designers have instructed the online retailer to charge Chinese customers more than UK customers. The price increases when shopping on the UK site upon selecting shipping to Hong Kong and China.  Chinese-unfriendly designers include Alexander McQueen, Bottega Venetta, Burberry, Miu Miu, Marni, Chloe, Saint Lauren, Lanvin, Stella McCartney and Lanvin.  Shameful!!

Ginny Nowak
Ginny Nowak

Why give these designers more money!

Anj Anj
Anj Anj

Why would i, when i kn0w that there are local designers here in my town who create gorgeous wedding dresses/gowns which i think better than Vera Wang's creati0ns. The prices arent that expensive,to0. Just saying.

Victoria Luckie
Victoria Luckie

But then people should not be just trying them on for an hour and a half for fun either, surely it risks de-valuing the dress to genuine customers? I can understand a smaller fee (refundable on any purchase) if the dresses are exceptionally delicate and made from expensive materials. But generally, at the prices quoted I would expect the costs associated with trying stuff on to be absorbed by the cost. Also champagne and treats while doing so. But how long do you need to wear a dress for to decide if it looks nice and is comfortable?

Iris Benitez
Iris Benitez

NO WAY!!!!! the question it self is ridiculous.

Suraiya Mansoor
Suraiya Mansoor

Ths is fraud - pay to "try on" a Vera Lang dress! These so called "brand name" clothes r jus money leeching schemes! If one walks into a cheap litle store - one finds beautiful designed garments that quench the eyes of beholder! I won't pay a dime to "try on" a dress! Ths business seems to b seeking "plots"s to stay alive!

Terri Yancy
Terri Yancy

Hell no. I wouldn't pay $5 just to try a dress on.

Jane Smith
Jane Smith

Ok if you read the article it was because Ch. HS students came in constantly with no intention to buy anything, plus people in Ch copy everything & sell it so people were doing that as well. I think charging was the right thing to do but she was getting tons of flack for it.

Lisa Graham
Lisa Graham

I can see if it was a down payment toward the dress. AND it was an amazing dress!

Jamal Allen
Jamal Allen

I don't wear dresses so the answer is no

Robin Ballard
Robin Ballard

Thankfully, I respect myself enough to NOT do dumb stuff like this. Really?! $500 just to try it on?! I'm sure somewhere on the web there's some on-line 'rent designer clothes from us' shop already renting them out like tuxedos. Why waste $500 for a try-on, when you can have it for a whole day?!

rctu77
rctu77

@TIME why not I've worn my grandmother's wedding dress and I'm a guy

leahmesaid
leahmesaid

@TIME @TIMEStyle Absolutely unoriginal and much outdated. Try something with thought & style rather than putting everyone into a silhouette

leahmesaid
leahmesaid

@TIME @TIMEStyle God, no. I'm so sick of the backless, shoulder less dresses. They are all tge same. "Oh, this one has a sequin on the left!

Sampsim
Sampsim

@TIME @TIMEStyle china is in an interesting place right now the new gen has money to spend and the old gen balks at their spending habits

BellainSouth
BellainSouth

@TIME @TIMEStyle Hahaha Is this a joke? NO. Never. $500 is Almost a half of monthly pay. Besides, Even if I have the money, spending it on


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