Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dezigner Brandz

Everyone says Hong Kong is known for its shopping.  I think that's a bit of a misnomer.

On one end of the spectrum, HK has mega malls filled with luxury brands and on the other end are hidden away shops and street vendors who sell cheap knock-offs.  The middle -- where in normal cities you find affordable retail chains and trendy boutiques that sell off-label brands - is a barren wasteland.

I know there will be comments (written or just yelled at the computer) by Hong Kongers who vehemently disagree.  Yes we have H&M, Zara and Club Monaco and there are a sprinkling of unique boutiques throughout the city, but that's it.  You go to Tokyo or New York, London or Paris and you'll find street after street of cool stores and shops -- for New Yorkers, I'm talking things like Scoop and Intermix.  Nothing ground-breaking.

I can name 3 H&Ms in the entire city.  I can also name 7 Armani stores in the same mall!  Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, AX Armani Exchange, Dolci Armani (chocolate), Armani Fiori (flowers), Armani fragrance, Armani makeup and finally Armani Casa (homewares).  I am not making this up - each of these is their own store in the same mall.

Needless-to-say, it doesn't give a girl in my budget bracket a lot to work with...which is why I find myself doing a lot of shopping online or stocking up when I'm back in NYC.  What also happens is that every expat woman here ends up buying the same Zara shirt or H&M dress.  We're all little clones of each other running around.

And don't get me started on sizes...  You're a size 6 US?  Look in the "Large" section or if you're in a boutique, don't expect to find anything in your size.

Having said all that, I do take advantage of the underground shopping outlets here.  V and I come back from Shenzhen with a Santa-like bag filled with the latest season of Weeds, severely discounted tennis rackets and are-they-really-knock-off designer handbags.  So, I was thrilled to discover the Temple Street Night Market, which is a version of that but in HK.  Finally I don't have to buy a $150USD visa to get all my cheap crap.  You can also find "designer" underwear at Temple Street:

Take a closer look.  They're "Calven Klein"and my personal favorite - "Doicf Gabbana".  I love that their sign has "underwear" in quotation marks.  Apropos for a pair of Calven Kleins, no?!

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