Monday, 9 January 2012

Taking a Stand

Several hundred people voiced their anger against Dolce & Gabbana
In the last few days there have been reports that the flagship Dolce & Gabbana store in Tsim Sha Tsui refuses to allow anyone except mainlanders to take pictures of the storefront.

The outrage culminated into a large protest by locals yesterday in front of the store which caused it to be shut down.

There is no official estimate of how many people showed up, but some reporters counted about 800 people who participated in the rally on Canton Road.

They were protesting the unreasonable and discriminatory policy as a guard reportedly said last week that only mainlanders could take pictures of the storefront.

"This is clear discrimination against Hong Kong people," said Elaine Ngan, a 31-year-old teacher. "I have never taken part in a protest before, but I must step out this time."

A 13-year-old named Marco Chow said the event was a good lesson in freedom. "Everyone is born equal, so why should the shop only welcome mainland Chinese? It should apologize to the locals."

Another protester who asked not to be named, said rich companies have too much power in Hong Kong. "Hegemony in the property business was followed by supermarket hegemony, and now it's luxury hegemony," he said.

The management of Harbour City where the shop is located, issued an apology online two days ago, probably a last-ditch hope in calming down people's frustrations.

A sociologist says the protest highlighted the resentment locals feel about big businesses and luxury retailers.

"The huge crowd reflects the fact some locals hold a grievance towards luxury brands," said Dr Chan Kin-man, an associate professor at Chinese University's sociology department. "This also shows many local companies, who are becoming increasingly reliant on shoppers from the mainland, have adopted a discriminatory attitude against locals."

Meanwhile the local office of Dolce & Gabbana said "controversial statements" reported in the press were not made by its staff.

"We wish to underline that our company has not taken part in any action aiming at offending the Hong Kong public," it said.

Seems like Dolce & Gabbana is losing the public relations battle. Things should have been cleared up soon after the incident happened, but now it's too late.

People are jumping on the bandwagon protesting against not only the Italian boutique but all luxury brands that are more than willing to bend over backwards for mainland customers who dole out wads of money for designer labels.

All of us have heard of or experienced being ignored by sales staff because we aren't buying loads of items in the store, which explains everyone's frustrations with the luxury sector at the moment.

Sounds like yesterday's rally is Occupy Hong Kong 2.0...

1 comment: