I’m not one for making resolutions. I think if you decide to make a change in your life, you should just do it, why wait for new year? But this has been a long time coming and as it coincides with the new year, I thought it fitting to call it a resolution.
I’ve been going back and forth about this for almost a year now. It honestly pains me to write this post because I feel like I’m adding to a stereotype, but I can no longer excuse everything that I have seen and experienced. I’ve received quite a number of emails regarding different Chinese e-retailers, OASAP.com in particular. The most common question is, “Is this website a scam?” Before, the answer to this really depended on your level of tolerance. For the most part, none of these Chinese e-retailers are scams. Or at least what we traditionally think of as a scam. I’ve purchased from several and always received my order within a month or less (typical for something coming across sea). The real question that should be asked is, “Can these websites be trusted?”
And the answer to that is no, they can’t.
To say my resolution applies to all Chinese e-retailers is, honestly, not really fair. I am sure there are good Chinese e-retailers out there, but its getting harder and harder to find. Even websites like YesStyle.com, which has a brick & mortar store in the U.S., doesn’t use stolen product photos, and doesn’t misrepresent the brands that they are selling, is guilty of immoral things. Whether or not they are aware of it, I can’t say.
This print sold on YesStyle.com, but is actually stolen from this Threadless artist. Sadly I originally purchased this on YesStyle and didn’t learn about the Threadless artist until recently. I haven’t been able to wear my tank since.
Unsurprisingly, the main issue comes from knock offs. If you’ve ever been to your local Chinatown, or really, any Asian country, knock offs aren’t anything new. I remember seeing fake Calvin Klein sweaters up and down the streets of Thailand. The problem is that now, unless you literally do nothing but spend your life shopping and reading fashion articles (and even then, I don’t think its enough), the knock offs aren’t so obvious. They aren’t always marked with Prado or ASOD, or even a blatant Chanel. Sometimes its as simple as a print stolen and placed onto something else. Bigger companies get blamed for putting out stolen designs, but its really the Chinese factories that they purchase from that are to blame. While a merchandise buyer should be much more aware of what is out there, they can’t track every indie sketch and design.
Fast fashion is complicated in many ways. Between the amount of content out there (I mean really, who can keep up with all of these new designers), hundreds of different factories putting out similar products, and layers upon layers of rebranding, I can’t really blame Chinese e-retailers for a taking advantage of the situation. However, I think they’ve finally gone too far. Over the holiday, I received an email from OASAP titled “Comment to get a gift!”
Click for full res
The email details how to earn a free article of clothing, plus $15 in credits if you leave a 5-star positive review/comment on a few Amazon Marketplace products. They even dictate what kind of comment should be left. The products are not even sold by OASAP, but by a company called Agatha Garcia. I fully believe that OASAP and Agatha Garcia are the same company. A quick Google search brought up http://www.agathagarcia.com/, which strangely advertised “Pin to get $15 from OASAP”. However, when you click on the link it takes you to http://www.agathagarcia.com/content/41-pin-to-get-coupon-from-agathagarcia.
And funny enough, they both have Fashion Hunter Zone programs in the exact same format and writing. Oh, and apparently someone forgot to change the meta name of Fashion Hunter page. (Side note: I am 99% sure that ROMWE and OASAP are the same company as well. When OASAP first launched it was full of ROMWE references and being naive at the time, I thought I was doing my due diligence by letting ROMWE know that they were being copied).
I’ve since forwarded the email to Amazon and they’ve promised to “investigate and take appropriate action.” As of today, all the product links are still active, but there hasn’t been any new reviews since 12/29/14 (I sent my email to them on 12/26/14).
For me, this was the final straw. If you’ve been following my blog, you know how much I love to review and how honest I like to be in my reviews. I seriously judge the individuals that went ahead and posted these fake reviews. I’m saying goodbye to Chinese e-retailers all together. This includes several brands that I have featured on my blog before: AhaiShopping, DressLily, Sammydress, Sheinside, OASAP, ROMWE, etc. I’m not saying that just because OASAP/Agatha Garcia bought positive reviews that all Asian e-commerce sites purchase their reviews. But all of the sites I mentioned before are guilty of one thing or another and I no longer want to be a part of it.
Ironically, as I was writing this post, I received an email from ROMWE asking if I was interested in collaborating with them. I turned it down, as I would any other company that I did not feel (or in this case, no longer felt) comfortable with or did not fit within the aspect of my blog. I know many of you have come to value my opinion, which is why I decided to write this post. I’m not saying don’t purchase from these websites. That is entirely up to you. I wrote this post for the same reason I write any of my review posts. I believe in honesty. I do so many reviews on the website, and plan on doing even more in the coming year. I cannot expect my readers to take me seriously if I can’t admit to changing my opinion on something. And if I couldn't do that, my wardrobe would still lack the wonder that is leopard print!