Why buy from Asia?
For decades there has been an ongoing stigma about buying from Asia. It’s as if the “Made In” stamp that is widely looked upon across consumerism attaches feelings about the overall social status, quantitative, and qualitative factors of an item. Of course, consciousness regarding where an item comes from is good- it allows us to understand the social components involved in getting a product from factory into our hands and we can decide as buyers what we choose to make important expectations that will deem what makes it into our fridges, our toiletry bags and of course, our closets.
However, something that we (Hawkeye Vintage) have come to notice in our years of selling vintage luxury, is the overall judgment that dawns upon someone’s expression when we tell them that the exact vintage designer bag that they have just been drooling over and already imagining the many places it can go has in fact been sourced from Asia. While we do have contacts all over the world and source frequently from Paris, the U.S.A, and MANY more, there is no doubting that when it comes to finding the absolute best vintage luxury for a number of reasons, Asian countries are our absolute go-to to find items we know our beloved, luxe-fashion-obsessed customers will love.
Kevin Kwan’s book turned movie, Crazy Rich Asians (2018) left many of us woke to the luxurious lives that people in Asia are living not only compared to the rest of the world but also compared to the impoverished example that we primarily get through previous media depictions of life in Asia. Crazy Rich Asians should certainly not deter us from recognizing the poor side to Asia and the stories that those texts show to highlight the struggles that those without any luxuries go through. Alternatively, what the book/movie has done is allow us as outsiders to recognize that Asia within the sector of luxury, designer, and fashion is an absolute force to be reckoned with and one that us as vintage, designer buyers must keep watch of in order to delivery the absolute best!
A 2018 article in Jing Daily, titled “Radical Predictions for China’s Luxury Industry in 2019” explains the effects of Asia not only holding their own in fashion consumerism but also how their growing social and economic status is a factor and because of this, ignoring this growth, both high-end designer type brands to small fast-fashion labels will impendingly meet their downfall. Close attention to the Asian fashion market is critical because as the article explains, the majority of money going into fashion as a luxury and not a necessity is primarily from Asian countries. This weight in the global market has brands now designing and marketing specifically for Asian buyers, leaving the rest of us to take what is left.
The influence that Asia has in the previous and upcoming designer markets has ensured a type of trifecta that shows the exact reasons as to why buying from Asia is in fact one of the best options for luxury, vintage designer retailers like ourselves. The main three that we recognize to be the most beneficial for our specific stock is, 1.Authenticity/Quality, 2.Price Point, 3.Overall Uniqueness. Each factor plays a domino effect onto each other and are absolute necessities when we source from any country Such absolute necessities are most of the time found within our dealers, auction retailers and other fashion relationships in (you guessed it), Asia.
Jing Daily’s article acknowledges Asia’s growing levels of disposable income due to economy spikes as a primary factor in the expanding market of luxury items. Asian consumers have the disposable income to buy designer luxury matched with the desire to own such fabulous items to emphasize the look of holding a high quality of life. The economic factor plays a huge role in our first two reasons as to why we source from Asia, being authenticity/quality as well as price point. People from Asia have the disposable income to spend their money on the very best and to many that means high-end designer goods. This ensures likelihood of authenticity and makes our job much easier when it comes to the careful work that goes into knowing that everything we sell in our stores and online is 100% authentic. In terms of quality, these items are usually only worn by Asian consumers 1 or 2 times which means that the wear and tear on our luxury goods from Asia is minimal.
Price point is huge when thinking of our customers as we want to make sure that you’re getting your dream, vintage item without having to take out a mortgage for it. This is where the growing economy in Asia plays another positive role to our closets (and bank accounts) as the turnaround time between buying a designer item in Asia and selling it to make room for the newer is so immensely quick there that the consignment rates are so much lower their in comparison to Europe and America.
As the marketing teams for designer brands take note of the always growing market for luxury in Asia, the most unique items in a collection are directed towards this economy so that the Asian market has the opportunity to buy the most special items that a brand has to offer. Some of our most unique, vintage designer pieces come from Asia and surely will continue to do so as the expanding market and the everlasting desire to hold personal, unique style through creative pieces continues to flourish.
We’re seeing more and more how Asian cultures are influencing our everyday lifestyles as we piggyback onto trends of health, lifestyle, and fashion. Netflix’s raving documentary, “Tidying Up” highlighted this strong impact as Marie Kondo commends much of what she learned from Japanese tradition (such as her experience with Shinta and her priority of greeting any space before working with it) to be the overall guidance that helps her transform closets. It would be interesting to see how many items from our stock at Hawkeye Vintage that has been sourced from Asia, Kondo would consider to spark joy!