Overrated so called “high-end” foreign brands in Hong Kong – Part 1

To the minds of xenophiles in Asia, foreign = good. There are plenty of brands that I used to think are just so-so in the States, but when they come to Asia, suddenly they are the next Louis Vuitton. Every time I walk pass these stores in Hong Kong and see how locals react to these brands with such admiration, I just can’t help but say to myself (I talk to myself A LOT) “You people should know better.”

Most overrated foreign brands

1. Agnes b

I think I read it from somewhere that there are more Agnes b stores in Hong Kong than in any city in its home country France. Teenagers and 20, 30 somethings crave this brand. The fashion brand operates not only boutiques but also cafes and even florists (yup you read it right) in Hong Kong. I remember asking some high school students to name a designer brand starting with an A. I was expecting Armani or even Apple, but I got many “Agnes b” responses that raised my eyebrow.

Agnes b products can be quite reasonable, like a couple hundred to a thousand HK dollars (less than US$150) for a piece of fashion jewelry, if you go for the lower-end sports collection, but if you go crazy with the more deluxe lines, they can still cost a fortune. What I don’t like about the brand is that it markets itself as “one of those premium labels” but I heard in France it’s just a bit better than The Gap (I will address The Gap in another post, I promise). Also Agnes b designs are just too simple for me. For casual wear, I’d rather get H&M which is more value for money and looks much nicer.

I never bought any Agnes b products for myself, but I do own some. I consider myself quite fashionable. I like dressing up and always try to look my best wherever I go. I guess many people would assume a girl like me should like a “cool” brand like Agnes b, and that include my ex boyfriend.

I was flirting and hanging out with this guy for a few weeks before X’mas. We sensed something was there but we weren’t intimate or anything. So we decided to “hang out” for X’mas Eve, which is supposed to be a big deal in the Hong Kong dating culture, without telling each other we would be exchanging gifts. I was very surprised to find that we had both prepared something for each other.

Although I am still bitter about that relationship now, I gotta say I fell completely head over hill heel at the beginning. I thought he was super sweet already for getting me something, so when I opened the box and saw the bracelet which I would otherwise never have bought, I could only (white) lie and say, “It’s beautiful! I love it!” Since I wore that bracelet every day as a token of my love for him, everyone started thinking I must like Agnes b very much. I never blame that guy for getting me more Agnes b gifts during the course of our eventual relationship, but I did tell my girlfriends how I actually never liked them. I think that’s one of the many things I didnt like about him that I should keep to myself till my last day.

Right now you must be thinking, “You only hate Agnes b because you hate your ex. It doesn’t mean it’s overrated.” That’s not true. I had never liked it even before that. I just never thought the quality of its products are worth the price. Other than shopping there I also had lunch with a friend at one of their cafes in Causeway Bay. The food and service was no better than Cafe Habitu (which serves very good coffee but offers terrible service) but the experience and tab have left a lot to be desired. I also pride myself for being a smart shopper and (window) shopped in some of the biggest premium malls in the States. I never saw a Agnes b store there. So you tell me, what does it say about the real market value of the brand?

Stay tuned and I will have more brands to bash.

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About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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One Response to Overrated so called “high-end” foreign brands in Hong Kong – Part 1

  1. Pingback: How I fell in love with a Mac | Half an ABC

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