Sunday, May 01, 2005

Genuine copies on May Day

May 1

“This is not fake! This is a genuine copy.”
That is the dialogue of Mohammad K., an Iranian salesman at one of the Karama flee market shops, a favourite tourist haunt for their imitation items that look as good as the genuine articles.
Here, an Omega “Broad Arrow” Speedmaster goes for Dh150 (initially priced at Dh280.
The genuine timepiece, say the Omega Moonwatch edition, would set me off Dh11,500 to Dh12,000, depending on the shop. That, however, is no not match to the diamond-studded Dior watch, for the humbling price of Dh38,000 in their Bur Juman shop.
“Why should I pay such an obscene amount of money for something that is just supposed to tell the time?” asked John, a Briton on a week-long holiday in Dubai with his wife and daughter.
John bought two phony Gucci watches for ladies and a Dior timepiece for just Dh500 altogether.
“This are good souvenir items, perfect giveaways,” John enthused.
The prices of imitation from south-east Asia are a few notches more than the ones made in China. “We took pains to have find these items and bring them over here,” explained Mohammad, while bringing out silver-coloured boxes stashed in a storeroom upstairs from the shop.
“My brother brought genuine items to the best craftsmen in Malaysia and Thailand who imitated them to the last detail. He stayed for two weeks in Kuala Lumpur to get the designs out,” said Mohammad, one of the Karama shopkeepers. “That’s why these items are not really cheap.”
Even residents in Dubai who shop there are convinced of their value for money, and the fun of haggling for the price.
Fake Burberry, Dior, Gucci, Prada bags made in Far East sweatshops but closely resemble the original ones cost anywhere between Dh80 to Dh220, depending on the design or model. Their genuine siblings cost 10 times Dh800 -- or in the case of Dior bags, up to 100 times more.

Prada 120 to Dh160
Chanel, with

Bags mostly made in China, Korea, India, Taiwan.
Dior for Dh90

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I nearly forgot it’s May Day today. Labour Day has been confined in the outermost recesses of my nebulous mind.

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