Part of complete coverage on
Vera Wang makes fashion faux pas at first China store
March 29, 2013 -- Updated 0619 GMT (1419 HKT)
A general view is pictured at the opening of the Vera Wang bridal boutique in Sydney, Australia, on June 27.
- U.S. luxury bridal designer Vera Wang's first store in China charging US$480 to try on clothes
- Fee was exclusive to Shanghai store, prompting cries of discrimination against Chinese
- Some speculated fee was intended to discourage copycat designs
- Vera Wang spokesperson said fee would be scrapped upon official opening of store in April
(CNN) -- U.S. luxury bridal designer Vera Wang's first store in China has gotten off to an unfashionable start. Amid cries of discrimination, the company announced Wednesday it would scrap a controversial policy of charging customers a nearly $500 fee to try on clothes.
The store, which had its soft launch in Shanghai in January, has been charging customers a RMB 3000 (US $480) fee for a 90-minute appointment to try on its famous wedding gowns. The non-refundable fee would be credited toward any purchase made.
Local media and netizens have decried the fee, exclusive to the Shanghai store, as discriminatory to Chinese customers.
Some speculated that the fee was intended to discourage efforts to copy Wang's coveted bridal designs, which can run several thousand dollars per gown.
Chinese designers at London Fashion Week
"In the United States, they say unmarried women want a Vera Wang gown, divorced women miss their Vera Wang gown, women remarrying are glad they can have a Vera Wang gown," wrote user Wumei120 on the popular Sina Weibo microblogging platform. "Each Vera Wang wedding dress is a piece of fine art. To see such wonderful work, girls cannot help but want one."
A search for Vera Wang dresses on Taobao, a popular online marketplace, revealed prices for as low as RMB 273 (US $44) for knock-off versions.
A spokeswoman at the Shanghai store would not confirm if the fee was aimed at discouraging copycat efforts, emphasizing only that it ensured a "luxury shopping experience," complete with a personal shopping assistant and afternoon tea.
She said the store had been instructed via e-mail on Wednesday to adhere to the brand's global standards and scrap the fee upon its grand opening, which the company has previously announced as April 29.
Vera Wang's collections were previously distributed in China only through high-end boutiques and department stores.
Chinese consumers currently account for approximately 27% of worldwide luxury consumption, according to a December report by management consultancy McKinsey & Co. It called China the "paramount driver of growth" in the luxury sector, estimating its consumers would make up 34% of global luxury spending by 2015.
Alexis Lai reported and wrote from Hong Kong, and Lucrezia Seu reported from Beijing.
Part of complete coverage on
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 0929 GMT (1729 HKT)
Christians in eastern China keep watch in Wenzhou, where authorities have demolished churches and removed crosses.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0538 GMT (1338 HKT)
Home-grown hip-hop appeals to a younger generation but its popularity has not translated into record deals and profits for budding rap artists.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0545 GMT (1345 HKT)
Reforms to the grueling gaokao - the competitive college entrance examination - don't make the grade, says educator Jiang Xueqin.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
Beijing grapples with reports from Iraq that a Chinese national fighting for ISIS has been captured.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 0200 GMT (1000 HKT)
CNN's David McKenzie has tasted everything from worms to grasshoppers while on the road; China's cockroaches are his latest culinary adventure.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 0057 GMT (0857 HKT)
Beijing rules only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
China warns the United States to end its military surveillance flights near Chinese territory.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0312 GMT (1112 HKT)
China has produced elite national athletes but some argue the emphasis on winning discourages children. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0513 GMT (1313 HKT)
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 0452 GMT (1252 HKT)
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1942 GMT (0342 HKT)
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0712 GMT (1512 HKT)
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
Today's five most popular stories