Saturday, 1 August 2009

Buys - Ed Hardy: From Pret a Porter to Pasar Malam

‘Ed Hardy!’ by Christian Audigier. Does either name ring a bell? For me, it came up twice in the last week. The first, when a friend visiting me in Hong Kong mentioned that the brand had opened a shop at The Hereen (Singapore) and the next, when we were shopping in Shanghai last weekend and the husband offered to buy me something from Ed Hardy at the Christian Audigier store. He was obviously very pleased with the fact that he had heard of a brand that the usually well-informed me was unfamiliar with. His American colleague (he said) claims that this is the hottest brand in the US now.

Who is Ed Hardy? Apparently, he is a famous American tattoo artist and printmaker whose designs have moved from flesh to fabric. Marketed by Christian Audigier, ex-Head Designer of Von Dutch who catapulted the brand from relatively unknown to revolutionary. Huh? You may say? What are these brands I am going on about? If you have teenage kids, Von Dutch would ring a bell. Think hip bags and tees worn by buxom teenage girls sold all over the pasar malams at Toa Payoh, Ghim Moh, Queensway. A.k.a the best selling teen brand (aside from Roxy and Abercrombie and Fitch) at Mah Boon Krong. In short, loud, everywhere and cannot miss.

The Ed Hardy look: ‘Glam Rock meets Biker Chic’ with tees, jeans and jackets boldly emblazoned with the name Ed Hardy, loud tattoo print designs embellished with rhinestones and applique. Price tags (in Shanghai): S$350 for tee shirts, hoodies starting at S$600 and Jeans at S$800.

Ok, so who pays this kind of money for a tee-shirt? I took a playful bet with the husband that the ever resourceful me would be able to find exact 'replicas' in the famous Yatai Xinyang Market in Shanghai.

He was appalled at the suggestion but trooped along anyway to explore this massive market with me (and our 4-year-old in tow).

The massive Yatai Xinyang Clothing and Gift Market is located at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum in Pu Dong. It has a maze of shops all selling counterfe-- (oops) non-authentic merchandise.
Two minutes after we stepped into the market, I triumphantly won our little bet and asked smugly: "Who barfed Ed Hardy?"

There it was, store after store of S$15 tees and S$30 hoodies. I suppose masstige has to have some kind of price point. So much for crackdown efforts on fake goods. The marketeer in me left Yatai Xinyang that afternoon with two firm conclusions:

1. Ed Hardy WILL indeed be the fashion world's next big brand!
2. People who claim that "copying" is actually the greatest form of flattery are RIGHT. They are also probably the marketing genius behind mass market entry. That's right, they are the ones busy churning the fakes and making it affordable to the masses so that the elite now have a real reason to show off that they have actually enough mula to afford the real thing. CLEVA!!

One of the many tee shops in the market!

I thought it dramatic irony that one of the brand's slogans reads "Love Kills Slowly" - check out the love!
- Elaine


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