When I buy clothes, shoes or jewellery I expect a certain correlation between price and quality. Of course, above a certain point, most luxury goods are priced as to what the market will bear, not as a value of the intrinsic worth, but one doesn’t expect that pricing strategy so much at the lower end of the scale.
I was given a Shopbop $100 gift certificate when I spoke at Evolving Influence a few weeks back. They now ship internationally, so when I got back to England I picked out a couple of pieces of jewelry that came to around the value of my voucher, paid a $27 customs duty deposit and duly waited for my new jewellery to arrive. The necklace above is the one that I chose. At $68 (approx £50) it was hardly inexpensive: for that price I would expect a good piece of costume jewellery. After all, Shopbop sell themselves as a place to find designer looks and for half that price I can go to New Look, Forever 21 or Freedom at Topshop to find High Street pieces.
Imagine my surprise when it arrived and I was presented with a cheap necklace, with dyed plastic stones, backed with shiny, cheap metal, of the kind you find on market stalls for about a fiver, maybe ten quid if you don’t know how to haggle. It wasn’t just an homage to the 80s, the quality was a throwback to the decade too. I was not best pleased but, as the voucher had been a gift, I shrugged my shoulders and continued planning my LFW wardrobe.
I wore it for the first time on the penultimate day of London Fashion Week. I chose my camel coat, pale blue Uniqlo denim leggings, grey suede high ankle boots and a taupe sweater, and the idea was the the neon of the necklace would bring the look together and give it some pop.
Unfortunately mid-afternoon I looked down and realised that the necklace had broken literally in half whilst I was wearing it, with the two ends hanging down. I was not amused: after all I had done nothing more vigorous than attend ten or so fashion shows. It wasn’t even as tho I was running around, thanks to the Mercedes & driver I am lent during LFW as part of the LLG collaboration with MBUK.
I tried to link the two ends together, but it was obvious that the very cheap metal of the necklace wouldn’t re-connect. And then two stones popped out. Great. I put it in my coat pocket and went off to do a TV interview, exceedingly miffed that my outfit was now just rather dull.
At the end of the day I pulled the necklace out of my pocket to discover this:
Clearly the connectors between each link aren’t strong enough to actually hold it together. I still cannot believe that Shopbop have the temerity to charge $68 for a piece of what really is junk jewellery.