I know you don’t want to hear things that reek of negativity. I don’t want to wallow in negativity, either. However, today is the exception. Please allow me 2 minutes of uninterrupted ranting so I can get all of the pent-up anger out of the system before I can continue.
Alright. Here I go.
I f#%^&king hate Vietnamese customs with a burning passion. I swear this is the last time I will have anything shipped to this third-world country. The backstory: I recently placed two orders on Closed, both of which were on sale at 66.39 and 63.03 euros (approximately $86 and $83) respectively. Normally, I never ship anything here because I’m well aware of the fact that the whole airport customs thing is a real sonovabitch. However, since the shipping was free and the total value wasn’t a lot, I decided to push my luck. I was willing to pay some taxes. My friends sent me care packages of greater value than that of this order in the past, and based on what I had to pay back then I figured the tax amount wouldn’t be obscene this time around. Oh, Lord have mercy! I almost died when being informed of the total amount of money I had to dole out to receive the package. 57 euros (or $75) of tax for the order’s value of 129.42 euros (approximately $170). That was a f@&^*king 44% of duties for just two pair of chinos. I was tethering on the verge of a nervous breakdown, but being a rational person that I was I stopped myself short and asked whether it was possible to not receive the package. The delivery man said no problem, but I would have to pay for the postage which cost a whooping $100 or so. The return fee was basically equal to the tax. Seriously, I could use some anger management courses right now! I have softened a great deal since coming back last year and let a lot of barbaric behaviors slide, but this one is wrong on so many levels. I have had packages shipped to USA, UK, and Singapore, all of which was easy breezy. In Singapore for instance, you aren’t slapped with taxes unless the package’s value exceeds $500. Even then, I can say with certainty the rate wouldn’t be 44% for clothing. I’m so DONE with daylight robberies in disguise like this. I swear on Louis Vuitton (lol) that from now on, I will try my best to find voluntary “mules” whether they are in the US, UK, France, Italy, Singapore or Kenya, Zimbabwe and ship my orders there. Over done out with a thing called supporting your homegrown economy.
That’s all. I’m done. Thank you very much. Now let’s get back to business.
Indignant as I was, I immediately breathed a heavy sigh of relief after opening the package because 1. everything remained intact (yes, it’s commonplace for goods to be damaged at best or stolen at worst. And that has nothing to do with senders.) and 2. the pants fit wonderfully. And I was even more impressed with the Campaign Magazine for AW13 that accompanied the items. I ordered on many different online retailers and brands in the past, but this is actually the first time I received promotional materials with substance and worth poring over. Kudos to the Closed team 🙂
I don’t have an accurate recollection of how I chanced upon Closed. All I remember is I ordered this pair and this pair at the beginning of this year (and smartly shipped them to my cousin’s place outside the country) and have been heads over heels in love with the brand since. First and foremost, I love how their pants fit snugly without ever feeling too skinny, which for the purpose of full disclosure I just don’t have the legs for 😛 Secondly, while I can’t speak for all of their clothing, I simply love the fact that mine were made in Italy. Don’t get me wrong; I’m no country hoe but given the pricing points and the quality which has proved itself after repeated wear, it’s rather impressive. Last but not least, it sounds uncanny that whenever I’m in the market for a new pair of colored pants, Closed offers the exact color that I’m searching for. Always. Speaking of the products’ origins, what I learned from the magazine is that more than 70% of Closed products and denims are made in one of the finest denim factories located in the East Coast of Italy. The process begins with an exhaustive analysis of design sketches sent from Hamburg, and then the seasoned denim makers utilize their expertise to turn the sketches into reality. The magazine then provides a very detailed account of the process from A to Z and the photos of workers who are involved. From a consumer’s point of view, I find information like this very educational because it makes me feel “part” of the process and more appreciative of the amount of work that goes into making a product. It’s especially important to educate consumers these days on that because when people know how much it takes to create something, they’re likely to value it more. In the photos you see below, the 5 bullet points you need to know are quite interesting as well. I have been raving about the quality of their products for the longest time, but I certainly didn’t know about the ever evolving research and development process happening inside the office that strives to innovate and make every product as comfy as humanly possible. Saying I’m impressed would be a bit of an understatement. It gives me some food for thoughts about the bigger issue of creating fashion for the sake of a better lifestyle versus creating fashion just simply for the sake of creating it and indirectly endorsing consumerism. I didn’t take pictures of every single page in the magazine, but if you are inquisitive and want to learn more about the brand, head over to their website. Meanwhile, below is a sneak peek into the world of Closed.