Luxury Items – Food for Thought

Posted: December 30, 2014 in clothing, drinks
Tags: , ,

Hong Kong is one region where they sell more luxury time instruments than the whole US combined. You pay for a premium for limited production, brand name and exclusivity. How is it exclusive when everyone has one? It becomes to norm. For the price of a high end watch, you can pay a artisan to create your own special time piece, a one-off with zero production except for you. No one else will have a identical time piece. Yet HK people are too stupid to realize that it makes more sense to cater to the luxury marketplace than to be a client of luxury. Please tell me which position is more enviable – to cater to this market or to be its end user.  Luxury brands can sell out here.  I would never line up for the opportunity to give someone business but in HK, the overlords have conditioned the general public to que up to purchase their product.  Do they wonder why their customers would rather to go purchase abroad rather than locally?

Wines and high end spirits are the same thing. I can only learn to appreciate some production high end wines if I spend time drinking crap wines. I can go to school and attain many certificates showing you I am capable to discern wines and liquors but the certificates can’t buy the one thing that makes it enviable. Appreciation of the liquids that can only come with time and copious consumption.  I have no qualms with buying liquor but some of the HK pricing can only lead to shaking of the head.  HK is known to be capitalism at it’s finest, at a certain price point it really makes a business case to make your own liquor.  Never realize Jack Daniels was so expensive.  I can’t drink whiskey anymore, it’s too popular.  I might as well drink the old man drink of choice, rotten grapes via Brandy.

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I remember paying $20 for Jack, HK pricing dictates it’s now $40+ USD.  I can get french oak barrels from bankrupt wineries to barrel age my moonshine.  Whiskies have now entered the cost prohibitive range.  Every Whiskey distillery is releasing limited editions.  The initial trend started with vodkas and Grey Goose.  Now we have artisan vodka, gin and whiskey.  Rum and Brandy have yet to go through this renaissance period.  Another thing that shocks me is liquor that leaves the residue inside.  Case in point, Choya.  Great marketing gimmick as any other producer caught with residue traces in the end product would have their customers in uproar.  Would wineries leave grapes in the bottle for their customers?

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Suits and accessories are a prime example.  You can walk into Zegna and Canali to pay $20k for off the rack suit or go to a custom suit maker and they can do the exact same suit with the branded Zegna cloth for half the price, made to your specifications.  The cheapest tailor in HK one will ever find is located in Central.  Cheung Hing Tailors.  Their office is 79 Queens Road Central, 4th floor beside the CTS building.  $1500HKD for a ‘custom made’ suit.  I use that term loosely as a custom made suit for a tad over $200 USD is probably too good to be true.  You go to Cheung Hing because you’re on a budget and have no plans to visit other ASEAN countries.  I remember paying $50 USD for a custom made suit in Thailand’s famous tourist rip off central – Khaosan Road in Bangkok.  A $50 suit is not meant for everyday wear and tear so you practically toss the pants leaving only the blazer for function.

My last custom made suit was purchased at Bonham Strand tailors.  They use the business to provide training for ex-criminals and jobs for retired tailors to transfer their skills.  You are supporting a just and noble cause.  WSJ did an article on them which is why I commissioned three suits there – http://bonhamstrand.hk/, $3500HKD.  One thing to note which the custom suit makers in HK, most will send out your specifications to their factories in China to do the heavy lifting.  The suits arrive in HK where the HK side does the fine tuning.  You will need to find the tailors that do everything in house.  My first HK custom made suit was done at Tai Pan Row in IFC.  They gave me the education on China manufacturing etc.  $7000 was a fun learning experience but never again.

Enjoy HK and the industries for fine detail work.  Custom made anything is cheaper here.  If you’re on the hunt for things that stand out to which only you will have, stay away from the luxury products.  For the same price as luxury, you can commission real one-off luxury products without the label.  If you are dead set on the label, the cobbler can paint the heel red to give you the Laboutin feel.

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