Friday, 6 April 2012

The advantages of buying locally

Hello again everyone! In my earlier post today, I had promised a report on my shopping in London, so here it comes...

On the eve of our trip, I had realized that the majority of my favorite designers are actually British: Burberry, Mulberry, Stella McCartney, Issa, Christopher Kane to name a few. I had thus done some research about whether it would have been convenient to buy these designers' creations while in town.

As we all know, due to globalization brand access is not anymore an issue in most parts of the world. You can buy Prada in the US as much as in Italy, and the same is true for most other brands. Price differences can still be an issue, but much less so after the onset of the financial crisis. For instance, the price of the same pair of Prada shoes in the US now generally equals the corresponding price in Euros. There are major exceptions to this general trend, however. At the current exchange rate, buying a Mulberry bag or a Stella McCartney blazer in London is much more expensive than buying it in the Eurozone. Why then bother to shop for British designers in the UK? Well, let's talk inventory. In Milan, for instance, there is no flagship Mulberry store so you have to be quite lucky to find the bag you want. In addition, even when British designers are well represented in other countries, their international stores do not necessarily offer their entire collection. Which brings me to my purchase. I have been obsessed for a while with a couple of pairs of shoes by Kurt Geiger, which are not sold in its flagship store in Milan and cannot be bought online. Hence, I was as excited as kid at Christmas when I discovered that a Kurt Geiger store around the corner from our hotel. Both pairs of shoes were right there, and one made it home with me (the irony of it all is that these shoes are made in Italy!) Had I had more time and money, my next stop would have been the Issa store. :-)

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