2008 September 1



A button-down decision

As if Hurricane Gustav wasn’t enough – teenagers in Lafayette Parish School System in New Orleans have to contend with a sudden clampdown on school uniform policy. The problem has arisen for female students whose uniform is a polo-shirt which should, according to the schools, have a maximum of four buttons. The problem has arisen because the families of the students have bought polo-shirts with eight buttons. Of course it does sound a little over the top as a reaction, but the point is that if a teenage girl unbuttons eight, rather than four, buttons on a polo-shirt, it can be a real distraction from learning for her male classmates!

Counterfeit China goes full circle

Knockoff polo-shirts go full circle from Beijing to Beijing. In a hilarious development, con artists who have been scamming top level polo-shirt retailers have discovered that the polo-shirts they bought in Beijing have gone back there, as top class mementos.

The way it worked was that young men from Britain would go to the huge street stalls of Hong Kong, Shanghai or Beijing where counterfeit Fred Perry, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger polo-shirts are sold. They would buy bagfuls of knockoff jeans, polo-shirts and trainers and take them home, where they would go into upmarket retail boutiques in major towns and buy identical items to the counterfeits they’d picked up in China and then – a day or so later – return to the shop with the real receipt but the fake clothing.

Because they had a perfectly genuine receipt, they would get their money back and have earned a top of the line polo-shirt for the price of a street stall counterfeit. But here’s the funny bit. Those returned clothes would be sent to catalogue shops and outlet stores which sell off seconds and returns for the big brands at tiny fractions of the original price. And who ends up buying them? Well – very often the purchasers are Chinese tourists on holiday in the UK – desperate to stock up on Western brands, so they go home, quite often, with a counterfeit polo-shirt that was probably made only a couple of miles away from their own home and that they could have purchased there for a tenth of the price they paid in the UK.

Label courtesy of sonictk

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