Alleged Balenciaga Store Racism Angers Chinese Consumers - the Fashion Spot
 
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Alleged Balenciaga Store Racism Angers Chinese Consumers
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Alleged Balenciaga Store Racism Angers Chinese Consumers

Just two months after being called out for discreetly shifting part of its luxury sneaker production to China, French brand Balenciaga has become embroiled in a new controversy. On social media, angry Chinese consumers say they will boycott the brand, and some daigou agents, who stock up on products overseas and ship them back to buyers in China, say they will pause their sales of Balenciaga items.

The outrage stems from a short video that shows a young Chinese man being roughly handled, reportedly at a Balenciaga store inside a high-end Paris shopping mall. The video went viral on Chinese social media platforms Weibo and WeChat, and the brand’s official Instagram account also quickly filled up with negative comments from Chinese internet users accusing Balenciaga of racial discrimination.

A WeChat user named Paituzhuli (拍图助理) first posted the video on his Moments feed yesterday. He wrote that:

“I am trembling with anger. Chinese people living abroad are always in the minority. I line up to buy Balenciaga’s Triple S sneakers every day and French-Albanians cut in front of me every day, but I can do nothing. Today, an old Chinese lady called out five Albanians who attempted to cut the queue. One of them pushed her away and threatened to beat her. Then, the lady’s son came to protect his mom and was beaten by them. A French security guard also came to stop the fighting, but only handled that Chinese guy. The chaos led to the cancellation of the sales event. It was really upsetting to see that those Albanians got the shoes, while Balenciaga humiliated Chinese customers who lined up in the store. They asked us to leave and never come back to buy their shoes.”

The topic “Boycotting Balenciaga, which discriminates against Chinese people” is now trending on Weibo with more than four million views at the time of publication.

“We won’t accept any apology on this issue, wrote one commenter. “I suggest the young man and his mother file a lawsuit against the shopping mall and the brand.”

A few Weibo users tried to defend the brand. One named “guohahahah” wrote, “Come on. It’s the problem of the shopping mall, not Balenciaga, okay? Please make it clear, everyone.”

On Balenciaga’s Instagram, camille_chen asked, “Is racial discrimination the core of your brand??” A user named “tiancheng_x” asked the brand to issue a formal letter of apology and reminded Balenciaga of the importance of the Chinese market to its revenues.

Balenciaga’s parent company Kering Group released its first-quarter earnings results yesterday, showing 49 percent year-on-year growth. The company cited a strong recovery in luxury spending by Chinese consumers as one of the main reason for the boom in sales. Chinese shoppers have been especially fond of Balenciaga’s Triple S sneaker, nicknamed “Daddy Shoes” in China for their ’90s aesthetic.

Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly sensitive about the way they are treated overseas by brands and retailers. Lancôme, Dolce & Gabbana, Audi, and Marriott have all found themselves in trouble recently, with negative consumer sentiment impacting their sales to varying degrees.
jingdaily.com

Balenciaga just posted this apology on social media:


twitter.com/balenciaga

So seemingly this incident happened yesterday and yet no mainstream fashion media outlet has posted about it, probably waiting for an explanation from both sides or perhaps after being advised by Kering.

The way I see it from the article and the video circulating social media, though, is that it was the mall's fault and not necessarily Balenciaga's. Although the person who wrote the initial post writes about how it's not the first time that they have been treated unfairly, so who knows.

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You won't see it bandied about on mainstream press because nobody really cares about the gripes of Chinese consumers. They're just expected to buy, buy, buy, that is, when they're not supplying cheap labour. If this happened in a Western country (with the same murky claims in mind) I can assure you it would have spread like a wildfire all over the place.

I think there's wayway too much Sinophobia in general, especially in France. Yet on the flip side their brands are breaking its backs to throw more goods at them. So the way I see it, it's just resentment. It's also not much of a revelation that they're voicing discontent. The new breed of consumers definitely know how to leverage their spending potential to get the right treatment. And high time too.


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Good, I hope people take a stand and really let their wallets and purses do the talking. That is the only way these people will start to listen.

And I don't think it's specifically Chinese consumers - there is clear overt racism towards Asians in general. Like the incident on the plane (why did they target an Asian man to be asked to give up his seat?), Hollywood and TV depictions of Asian people (rarely leading roles, always supportive and always stereotypical) in this day and age when other races have been promoted out of such depictions. The list goes on. I've mentioned this in other posts here - whenever designers try to play the diversity card by saying they're including Asian models to somehow fulfill their diversity quota, it's always the white Asians (who are sometimes even paler than white models) who are shown on the runways. And very few people catch that it's still racist against Asians to have their "representation" be someone who's fairly pale and not really representative of Asia in general. At least in Brazil they force runways to include darker skinned models to be alongside the more Euro-looking ones.

So let the money do the talking because it seems to be the only way anybody will start taking Asian people seriously.

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True! Magazine editors immediately comes to mind. Allure's Michelle Lee seems to be making waves with her 'woke' and 'diverse' cover subjects. But guess what, not one Asian covered the magazine under her reign so far. Bear in mind that she's Asian herself. You can't make it up.

There's just no push for Asian inclusion and you'd think there would be, what with them being the big spenders.

Now regarding the matter of colorism, I recall a Vogue China (or Vogue Australia/China?) image of a heavily tanned Liu Wen. And the Weibo commentary attached to it were disgusting. The pale skin ideal is still big business in Asia. And unlike duedue to contrary belief, it actually has very little to do with Eurocentricism.

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Originally Posted by Benn98 View Post
I think there's wayway too much Sinophobia in general, especially in France.
Since when? Did i miss something? Where did you get that from?

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Originally Posted by Lola701 View Post
Since when? Did i miss something? Where did you get that from?
Agreed, I lived in France for three years and never noticed this. In Australia, however, the racism towards Asians (aka the only people who keep our economy and universities alive) is rife and disgusting.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benn98 View Post
You won't see it bandied about on mainstream press because nobody really cares about the gripes of Chinese consumers. They're just expected to buy, buy, buy, that is, when they're not supplying cheap labour. If this happened in a Western country (with the same murky claims in mind) I can assure you it would have spread like a wildfire all over the place.

I think there's wayway too much Sinophobia in general, especially in France. Yet on the flip side their brands are breaking its backs to throw more goods at them. So the way I see it, it's just resentment. It's also not much of a revelation that they're voicing discontent. The new breed of consumers definitely know how to leverage their spending potential to get the right treatment. And high time too.
Yes. No fashion media posted it because no one cares about discrimination/racism towards Asians-- and this includes South Asians. That’s a simple truth.

Asians have always been discriminated against, bullied and mocked by every other people. One either learns to puts up with it or fight back since no one is going to stand up and support Asians anyway— and definitely not the media.

I’ve noticed that it’s Asians— and Asian women in particular, that are usually never supportive of my work professionally as an Asian. Maybe that’s the case with Allure’s Michelle. Is it self-sinophobia…? Hard to say: My impression is that like many in the industry, she’s just conveniently woke, meaning she's just going with the whole diversity (except Asians) and female-empowerment trend because that’s what sells at the moment. So Asians need to make an effort to be more understanding, more open-minded, more patient than they are ever shown— and more resourceful and stronger, in finding ways to make things work for them. That’s just the way it is. Asians will feel the sting of discrimination from all people— Black, White, Brown, Red, and even other Asians.

With this case, that particular store likely saw the hysterical, irate mother.son and sided with the others instead. Maybe they looked cooler than the mother/son..??? It’s the doorman mentality. Still racist on the part of that particular store— just not the blame of Balenciaga the brand as a whole in this case.

“High designer” sneakers are a total scam targeted at fashion victims, as well as will always attract the lowest of the lows hence the ghetto behaviour surrounding their launches. These triple S kicks are the nastiest pieces of garbage yet. I wouldn’t wear them if I were paid to do so. So vile.

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they kind of lost me at "those Albanians" (sure they're not Romanians? or "The Turks"? )... but we all know racial profiling is only awful when it's your race.

That guy's trying to get on a serious issue of race and violence but somehow drifts like 'ok but I'm really pissed they did get the shoes!'... so what are you really upset about? is it about inequality and discrimination or the shoes you didn't get despite the "hard work" of lining up overnight for them?.. bottom line is, if you have to line up for a f*cking pair of obscenely priced SNEAKERS on a daily (!) basis, in a country where nobody has to line up for their weekly portion of milk and grains or medicines and in a world where people can't go to school because they can't even afford slippers or rope sandals, which are definitely needed to avoid blisters when crossing rivers and mountains in order to reach the nearest school (count China among these countries), connect the dots, question yourself a little.

101 of lining up for status objects (and I did this once, years ago, it was really the design but that thirst and competitiveness shouldn't get any sympathy.. ): tell yourself repeatedly "I'm the lowest form of humanity right now, I'm the lowest form of humanity, and if an earthquake happened right now, I would die and be remembered as someone that DIED for logos and potential ebay resales". Once you accept that and slowly approach the door and surprise, are treated like cattle, and a fight or stampede ensues, save yourself the shock and be thankful for that "what are you doing with your life?" call from the above.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsamg View Post
Agreed, I lived in France for three years and never noticed this. In Australia, however, the racism towards Asians (aka the only people who keep our economy and universities alive) is rife and disgusting.
As a black woman, I can testify that the Asian community is one of the most respected and fairly treated community in the country. I wish Black and Arabian people were treated the same way all over the country, independently of their social background.

To be totally honest, racism is not that obvious here as it is in America for example (in our everyday life) and when it is, it’s generally toward blacks, arabians and Gitans.

But one thing is sure, parisians are fed-up with tourists and unfortunately, the Chinese, due to their number and the way they experiencing their tourism are the main victims of that. I know that a lot of Chinese people are traumatized after some of their visits in Paris but I don’t think that should be a reason to put a whole country in that box.

But yes, if you’re a Chinese tourist in a group of other tourists, walking around near the Boulevard Haussmann (where you have Printemps, Galeries Lafayette) there are little chances for you to have a «*great*» experience there.
Paris is not a city adapted to this kind of mass tourism/shopping. During PFW it’s a real nightmare.

To me that controversy has more to do with people’s rudeness than racism. But I can’t dismiss the way the Chinese customer perceived it.
Asian people are very polite and delicate and it can be tough to be at a city where everybody is kinda agressive and not patient at all. People take advantage of you...

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As a black woman, I can testify that the Asian community is one of the most respected and fairly treated community in the country. I wish Black and Arabian people were treated the same way all over the country, independently of their social background.

To be totally honest, racism is not that obvious here as it is in America for example (in our everyday life) and when it is, it’s generally toward blacks, arabians and Gitans.

But one thing is sure, parisians are fed-up with tourists and unfortunately, the Chinese, due to their number and the way they experiencing their tourism are the main victims of that. I know that a lot of Chinese people are traumatized after some of their visits in Paris but I don’t think that should be a reason to put a whole country in that box.

But yes, if you’re a Chinese tourist in a group of other tourists, walking around near the Boulevard Haussmann (where you have Printemps, Galeries Lafayette) there are little chances for you to have a «*great*» experience there.
Paris is not a city adapted to this kind of mass tourism/shopping. During PFW it’s a real nightmare.

To me that controversy has more to do with people’s rudeness than racism. But I can’t dismiss the way the Chinese customer perceived it.
Asian people are very polite and delicate and it can be tough to be at a city where everybody is kinda agressive and not patient at all. People take advantage of you...
Thank you, thank you and thank you Lola701.

Plus the problem happened in one of our department stores . The security does not belong to Balenciaga but to the concerned department store. So i don't understand why the blame i've been put on Balenciaga.

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^^
It happened at the Balenciaga corner...

To be honest, if you’re in Paris and want top quality service as a tourist, the best way is to go at St Honoré or Avenue Montaigne. I can understand why some people (mainly local) may feel intimidated by having to go to the boutique and prefer to go to the department store but when you’re a tourist with a spending power, go where your treatment will be representative of the brand your purchasing at.

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Originally Posted by MulletProof View Post
they kind of lost me at "those Albanians" (sure they're not Romanians? or "The Turks"? )... but we all know racial profiling is only awful when it's your race.

That guy's trying to get on a serious issue of race and violence but somehow drifts like 'ok but I'm really pissed they did get the shoes!'... so what are you really upset about? is it about inequality and discrimination or the shoes you didn't get despite the "hard work" of lining up overnight for them?.. bottom line is, if you have to line up for a f*cking pair of obscenely priced SNEAKERS on a daily (!) basis, in a country where nobody has to line up for their weekly portion of milk and grains or medicines and in a world where people can't go to school because they can't even afford slippers or rope sandals, which are definitely needed to avoid blisters when crossing rivers and mountains in order to reach the nearest school (count China among these countries), connect the dots, question yourself a little.

101 of lining up for status objects (and I did this once, years ago, it was really the design but that thirst and competitiveness shouldn't get any sympathy.. ): tell yourself repeatedly "I'm the lowest form of humanity right now, I'm the lowest form of humanity, and if an earthquake happened right now, I would die and be remembered as someone that DIED for logos and potential ebay resales". Once you accept that and slowly approach the door and surprise, are treated like cattle, and a fight or stampede ensues, save yourself the shock and be thankful for that "what are you doing with your life?" call from the above.
I've been in refugee food lines so this sort of queuing is tad offensive for my senbibilities to ever willingly participate in. Even as a social event, it's so ridiculously demented. Have you seen the outrageous queuing for utter garbage like Anti-Social Social Club and FOG collars/exclusives/premieres in LA????

It’s predominately kidz— cuz I can’t imagine anyone over the age of 25 doing this (unless I were so high and drunk) and not feeling like a complete sucker. And I definitely wouldn't subject my mum to such humiliation. Unless… it’s in Japan, and that’s where the 35-45yo male demographic are in full force for these sort of things; whether that be for denim, kicks or toys… Still ridiculous and insanely dignity-gauging, as far as I’m concerned (like lining up to get into a club): Queuing for and to then scramble and hoard overpriced stuff like monkeys being fed to be pointed at, laughed at by tourists. No thank you.


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Where did you get that from?
This is just one of many examples. It really started years ago when French brands mistreated Asians for fear that they're only shopping to counterfeit the goods.

You or others may not 'see' it, or may feel that it's only centralised in Paris (which, quite frankly, doesn't justify anything), but that doesn't deny the fact that French fashion houses can do a little bit more to accommodate their key spenders.

Also, the Paris/French divide is pure semantics to the foreign observer. Splitting hairs, if you must. A Parisian is still French regardless of the cultural divide which exist in your country.

I think this situation highlighted a necessary debate. It's just a pity that the context of it all is so vapid.

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Chinese Tourists are Returning to France, But Racism Hasn’t Gone Anywhere

By Frenchly - Saturday, April 14, 2018

In 2016, the number of Chinese visiting France declined dramatically. Data from the Office of Tourism and the French Congress demonstrate a 25% decline in Chinese tourism. This is significantly higher than the 6% decline in tourism overall, a drop that is mostly attributed to the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. However, the disproportionate difference between the decline in general tourism and Chinese tourism indicates that something else is going on for Chinese tourists.

Chinese travelers historically favored France as a vacation destination, but acts of aggression against people of Chinese heritage are prompted them to look elsewhere for their travels. In 2016, a group of 26 Chinese tourists were assaulted by six men while boarding a bus. In 2017 in Val-de-Marne, a French department southeast of Paris, four men targeted forty Chinese tourists in a tear-gas attack and robbery outside a hotel known for having a large Chinese clientele. Less than two weeks after the gas attack, three Chinese exchange students were deliberately hit by an automobile in Blagnac.

Because France does not collect data about ethnicity, even for crime statistics, it is difficult to know the exact number of crimes against people of Chinese heritage. The crimes against Chinese often begins as a robbery, motivated by the stereotype that Chinese individuals are more likely to carry cash. These robberies often escalate to the point of physical harm. Available statistics reveal that the number of violent robberies targeting the Chinese in Aubervilliers, a suburb of Paris, increased from 35 in 2015 to 105 in 2016 during the January-August period. This represents a rise from 7% to 16% of total violent robberies in Aubervilliers. Robbery and assault are the most prevalent threats against Chinese individuals in France.

Richard Behara, the author of China in Paris, describes the Chinese as just recently migrating to France. He states that Chinese travelers and minors are particularly vulnerable to violence, but “for fear of the police, they prefer to silence their suffering.” According to Behara, 90% of Chinese in France are victims of at least one assault per year. “[The Chinese] are still perceived as being capitalists, wealthy, dominant, and not worthy of defense.”

Chinese officials in China and France have repeatedly expressed concern over the safety of their citizens and people of Chinese heritage. According to Jean-François Zhou, the president of the Chinese Association of Vacation Agencies (ACAVF), “not a day goes by” that Chinese tourists are not assaulted in France. He asserts that this is “because [the Chinese] are known to travel with large amounts of cash.”

In recent years, Chinese tourists and residents of France have begun to retaliate. Four thousand protestors took to the streets after the death of Chaolin Zhang in August of 2016, a Chinese tailor in Aubervilliers who was violently robbed by a group teenagers, and died from the injuries. In an editorial, Caroline Chu, a Chinese woman living in Paris, described how her Asian features make her an ideal target for violence. “I was peacefully walking not far from my home when when two men attacked me by surprise and threw me to the ground … one of the two men leaned down to take away my bag.” She explains that “others, who had too much shame to speak out before, began to tell the same story,” making her realize that Chinese-targeted robbery was more common than she had previously believed. The youngest generation of Chinese in France have reacted by creating their own movement, the Chinese Youth Association in France, which made it their goal in 2015 to combat discrimination against the Chinese.

French politicians have voiced their support for the Chinese community after extensive protest efforts, and the French government has invested substantial amounts in security for tourists. In February 2018, according to European Travel Commission Executive Director Eduardo Santander, “the Chinese are very alert to questions of security, [but] they tend to forget more easily than other tourists.” This, as well as increasing security measures broadly appear to be producing positive results for French tourism, with a 7.7% increase in general tourism (89 M up from 82.6 M), and a 19.3% increase in Chinese tourism. According to French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian “After the downturn following the attacks in 2015, the recovery is here.”
Source: Frenchly.us

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MulletProof View Post
they kind of lost me at "those Albanians" (sure they're not Romanians? or "The Turks"? )... but we all know racial profiling is only awful when it's your race.

That guy's trying to get on a serious issue of race and violence but somehow drifts like 'ok but I'm really pissed they did get the shoes!'... so what are you really upset about? is it about inequality and discrimination or the shoes you didn't get despite the "hard work" of lining up overnight for them?.. bottom line is, if you have to line up for a f*cking pair of obscenely priced SNEAKERS on a daily (!) basis, in a country where nobody has to line up for their weekly portion of milk and grains or medicines and in a world where people can't go to school because they can't even afford slippers or rope sandals, which are definitely needed to avoid blisters when crossing rivers and mountains in order to reach the nearest school (count China among these countries), connect the dots, question yourself a little.

101 of lining up for status objects (and I did this once, years ago, it was really the design but that thirst and competitiveness shouldn't get any sympathy.. ): tell yourself repeatedly "I'm the lowest form of humanity right now, I'm the lowest form of humanity, and if an earthquake happened right now, I would die and be remembered as someone that DIED for logos and potential ebay resales". Once you accept that and slowly approach the door and surprise, are treated like cattle, and a fight or stampede ensues, save yourself the shock and be thankful for that "what are you doing with your life?" call from the above.
Amen! Excuse me, but i have take out the world’s smallest violin and sympathise. He could have lived with being roughed up at a luxury store queue, but not being allowed to buy those sneakers it’s simply unforgivable. The horror! The horror!
Regardless he left me with a burning question that unfortunately i may never get the answer, how do I identify an Albanian?


Last edited by Les_Sucettes; 27-04-2018 at 05:35 PM.
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I want to sympathize but I just can´t. First, what does the brand has to do with a mall security guard mishandling a chinese person? Second, how did this guy know that the men were albanians? french albanians at that! so albanians cut in line? good to know, I´ll be on the lookout for albanians from now on! please, don´t play the racism card when your´re doing the same thing

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