As far as collaborations go, the latest Gucci and adidas partnership is meant to evoke a sense of modern nostalgia, mixing the retro stripes of the sportswear giant with silhouettes and quirky design ethos of Gucci.
The result is mix of products ranging from a studded clog to colourful co-branded bags and accessories to high-end outerwear. One such accessory item is an umbrella, which in Europe retails for 990 euros and in China is nearly 50 percent more expensive (11,100 yuan, approximately 1,300 pounds).
The item received much criticism on Weibo, the Chinese microblogging site, with users complaining of its high cost yet apparent little value. The problem? On Gucci’s website it states the umbrella is not to be used in the rain as it is not waterproof, and should only be used for decorative purposes or sun protection.
A hashtag on the site, which translates to “the collaboration umbrella being sold for 11,100 yuan is not waterproof,” has so far clocked more than 140 million views, said the BBC. One user wrote: “They can steal your money but still give you a useless umbrella in return.”
Join the waiting list
Currently there is a waiting list for the sun umbrella, as for all the collection items, with the collaboration launching online and in select stores on June 7th. Gucci was quick to respond to the criticism, changing the product description on its Chinese language website to ‘sun umbrella’ instead of ‘rain umbrella’.
It is the second time for Kering that one of its brands is criticised for its product choices, with Balenciaga last week facing criticism for selling a ‘destroyed’ sneaker for 1,450 euros.
China remains imperative for growth for luxury companies and brands are becoming more scrutinised on the products they drop, especially concerning market specific ranges. It is no longer possible to release just ‘any’ product in China, where demand for luxury may be high but standards and awareness are also increasingly more sophisticated.
As one user wrote on Weibo: This parasol is “a very big but useless fashion statement”.