Bag Snob Shopping in Hong Kong

parisstation.jpg

Hong Kong has THE best shopping in Asia. I know some will disagree, but for me the combination of a convenient modern city, awesome food, and luxury shopping on every corner tops it for me as the ultimate. I went with my husband who is in Hong Kong for the first time, and he was in awe that the number of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, Prada, and Gucci boutiques sprinkled throughout Kowloon and Hong Kong rival that of Starbucks in the States (okay, slight exaggeration, but not by much).

I literally became tired of looking at all these high end boutiques and started venturing in the alleys for more interesting stores, like this one in Causeway Bag called the Paris Station. I thought they sold fakes and was shocked at the blatant display of Gucci and Balenciaga in the windows, so of course I had to go in. And what did I find in there? An entire case of Hermès Birkins and Kellys! They didn’t allow cameras or I would have taken pictures of this case, but my husband snuck this one from the doorway with his iPhone. They looked pretty good, so I asked to take a look at a 30cm dove gray in chevre leather. I was at first confused by the lock and key and then was pretty damn impressed by the quality, but then when I asked the price and the guy told me it was $86,000 HK Dollars, I was floored. Maybe I heard wrong. Perhaps it’s $8,600, which is still pretty expensive (around $1,200 USD), but he repeated $86,000 HK, which is $12,000 USD!!!

I then pissed him off by asking, “Is this real?” – which is a legitimate question considering that this was not a normal looking store. He emphatically announced that this is of course authentic and then snatched it away from me. Then with the bag in his hand he looked me in the eye and asked if the price is acceptable to me. I looked him right back and said, “No, it is not even close.” Everything about it looked good, the seams were clean, the edges were immaculate, the hardware flawless, but there was something about the shape that looked slightly off to me. The Birkin is a pretty square bag, but this one had a slight bulge around the middle. Also, the color was not exactly right, I have seen Tina’s dove gray, and this one seemed more clayish. They had a turquoise like mine that was not at all like mine.

Regardless, I would not buy a Birkin at a store like this and certainly not pay $12,000 for one without unfaltering confidence that it is real. I wouldn’t even spend $1,000 on a fake that looks flawless (trust me, we have seen fakes that are hard to detect). The rest of this store sold secondhand bags, which I am sure are real and even if they’re not the prices are good enough to forgive the difference. Which is another reason why no one should buy a supposed authentic Birkin for $12,000 here.

38 thoughts on “Bag Snob Shopping in Hong Kong

  1. fake or not,I would never buy from a shop that displays bags as if they were fruit and veg:/

  2. Bagsnob fan in Hk on said:

    For your information Kelly, these shops in hongkong are well known in asian for selling second hand stuff, as in if anyone needs cash they head in to sell their luxury bag to them at maybe 25% off the price they bought, and they will then re-sell it again. I think you should do a bit more research before saying that you though that they were fake. There are so many high end shops in hk do you think the management of these shops will let shop sell fake stuff in this blatant manner. do not simply assume that hk = fake without understanding how does the luxury cycle works there.

  3. bagsnob fan in Seoul on said:

    yup, this is the norm in Seoul too.

    They sell brand new authentic Birkins at that price.

    And people buy because supply is low and demand is high for Birkins.

  4. Bagsnob fan in HK, maybe it is real but there are so many fakes in Asia (especially in HK and China). Some of my freinds proudly showed me their First Class imitation of designers bags. They were sold at only 20% (or less) from the original item price. I am from Malaysia and I really know it is quite easy to get fake designers bag in Malaysia but everyone here (esp the fake bag lover)knows that the best imitation bag is from HK or China or korea.. which is a favourite Malaysian tourist destination!

  5. Bagsnob Investigates… The bags do look a little sad just thrown together on the shelves like that. It kind of sucks the fun out of buying high end in the first place.

  6. hey kelly! you should also check out Twist. there’s one in Central on Wyndham Street.

    it sells real designer bags, shoes, clothes at a discounted price (and has up-to-date stock).

    i think its just the same as being a VIP at e.g. BV and getting 10% off their products. But, of course, without having to purchase excessive amounts to become a VIP!

  7. Bagsnob fan in HK, as you’ve pointed out these are second hand bags-I appreciate that the shop owners have some sort of expertise in recognizing fake stuff but nonetheless I can’t help but see it as a street version of ebay. I would certainly be worried if I saw a Birkin that did not look quite right..

  8. Bag Snob Tina on said:

    Actually the fakes have clean seams and good hardware but it’s the stitching that give them away.

    One look and I can tell if it’s fake. I’ve been taught by a master craftsman how to check the stitching… and of course the fakes have a similar stamp on back of front strap but you can tell the real blind stamp, it’s just more refined.

    I have heard of Paris Station, supposedly they do sell authentic bags.

    The really square ones are fakes from Italy, the Italians outdo themselves and try to make it better.

    But to ensure your bag is real, buy it from the Hermes boutique!!!

  9. i actually work around the store you mentioned, Kelly, and the bags are real. You can take the bag you bought to the Hermes boutique next store to get it inspected (Lee Gardens). It’s standard practice in HK, Milan, France, Paris Stations, along with other stores, there’s about 5 in the block I work in alone! Do keep in mind Causeway Bay IS the most expensive rent-area in HK. These stores will be caught dead selling fakes considering that store’s rent is close to 40kUSD/month, if not more.

  10. The Hermes @ Causeway Station are real. :) I know most are from some mistress, wife, or girlfriend of some Hong Kong millionaire.

  11. Singapore has the best shopping. And I’m not even Singaporean but I have to admit it. Regardless of whether the bags in that store are fake or not, the fact that Hong Kong and the north Asian region produces almost all of the counterfeit bags in the world is suspect enought not to buy it from any store other than the original or authorised retailer. who pays USD12k in a “second-hand store” anyway. Foolishness!

    Remember everyone: buying counterfeit is supporting organised crime. Don’t do it.

  12. Are you in Hong Kong?? I’m an American and have been here for six months or so; bag shopping is pretty much my favorite hobby!

    I love your blog and would love to meet you in case you get five minutes free (even/especially if it’s for shopping!). Milan Station’s a fun store – there’s another one in LKF that’s great as well. Anyways, if you’re bored, let me know :)

  13. Really enjoyed this blog.Thanks for all the comments from everyone. I haven’t been to Hong Kong in about 15 years.

  14. I would never shop at these stores. I’ve seen it in HK and it just doesn’t appeal to me at all. Yes, maybe you can get a discount but if you can’t afford it then don’t buy it. That’s my two cents.

  15. Bagsnob fan in Singapore on said:

    I’m alittle suspicious of these stores too. I prefer to have my IT bag brand new first hand, the smell of new leather just makes me high! I like to buy my branded bags in HK because it is cheaper in HK than in Singapore. And HK has alot of flagshop stores that I really love! But do come Singapore if you have the time Kelly… everything is ON SALE now!

  16. I’m a Singaporean, but I don’t think that the shopping here is fantastic at all. Its nothing compared with Hong Kong!

    Many Singaporeans, including me, make yearly trips to HK for the summer sales there! (And it saddens me to say this too, but many make regular trips to Bangkok and Malaysia to buy imitation products too.)

  17. I’m Singaporean and agree too. Shopping in HK and Bangkok is more interesting as the shops have more character and there is more diversity among them.

    Singapore is great because the shops are concentrated in 1 area and easily accessible. Streets are clean and safe. Store return policy is lacking here though.

  18. I love Singapore and Hong Kong. Kelly, what airline did you fly? I have to say that Asian Airlines (Korea, Singapore, etc) are the most luxurious and have the best service out of all commercial airlines.

  19. Anonymous on said:

    I live in SG, and no where is SG close to HK!

  20. Wow..haha…how did this turn into a HK vs SGP question! It just shows, Singapore women are fashionistas!

    I don’t think Singapore has the brand/store density that HK has and one thing I notice is that HK has stores in the business areas, whereas Singapore’s finance area is pretty dry and stores are mainly in the dedicated shopping street.

    I live in Singapore and shop in HK maybe twice a year. That store looks like a Milan Station and I agree, some of their bags look dodgy, although I’m sure most of them are real.

    The reality is that Asia doesn’t have the range of bags that you can find in Europe, so there is a premium on luxury bags. In addition, given the movements in currencies of late, I do think it is now cheaper to shop in the US, America and Australia than in HK and SGP!

  21. On the topic of sg vs hk, maybe bagsnob can consider featuring a shopping “round the world series” where we can know more about shopping belts and great shopping experiences around the world? that would be fun to read and i’m sure readers like us would love to share tips too to help fellow bagsnobs snatch great bargains =)

  22. I would never spend 12,000 uSD on a bag in a sloppy funky looking store. I would only buy a brand name bag like a Birkin in a regular authorized store. Just like I only buy my LV from LV stores and my Prada from Neiman or whatever.

    I think unless you live in Hong Kong and know the shop well and it has a great reputation, when you are on vacay is not the time to possibly throw 12K away. That is 2 or 3 month salary for the average american woman, so unless you have millions of dollars to throw away, beware.

  23. someone in the know on said:

    i know someone who knows the owners of the “station” stores…there’s real and really good fakes all mixed up in the stores. so do your homework.

  24. Gals,

    I’m in Hong Kong right now and I’m interested – how are the real purse prices compare to US?

  25. Bagsnob fan on said:

    I much prefer Milan Station to Paris Station. I find Milan station has much better kept quality bags, you wouldn’t doubt their authenticity even though the format/platform of the store itself is more or less the same. I also adore TWIST, the prices are cheaper, the things are brand new, and they have things that are still in store, no idea how they do it.

    I currently live in Singapore but travel frequently and have to say that HK has the best shopping in Asia for sure. Bangkok comes in as a close second, but while in HK luxury rules, in Bangkok, it is more the artsy up and coming Thai designer scene that is interesting, plus the flea market random stuff.

    Singapore is sort of a less variety version of HK, and the homegrown fashion industry is small. I do like alldressedup though.

  26. Are there any places i hong kong which sell good replicas?

  27. hi, i just want to know since a lot of shops here in hk sells second hand branded luxury bags, i’d like to know if there are store/shop that offers “rental” of designer bags? please let me know..thanks!

  28. You can check out http://let-trade.com, I do Air Cargo for them to Philippines

  29. Luciana Cruz on said:

    Does anyone know a good and safe website to buy nice / good quality second hand or replica designer handbags from Asia? I live in the Gold Coast – Australia. Cheers, Lu

  30. Being a Hong Kong local, I can asasure you 100% that Milan Station and Paris Station stock completely authentic designer bags. Of course, there are the other stores trying to affiliate themselves with these well-established stores, calling them “something”-Station but Milan Station and Paris Station only sell authentic bags. They are mostly new or lightly used bags sold to these stores by wealthy locals.

  31. U guys check on Taiwan as well, You’ll be surprised on the shopping there, it’s like a whole village of pre-owned designer bags!

  32. Interesting story. I know little or nothing about Hong Kong’s luxury market so I found this story interesting. Could you do a follow-up? Where do they traditionally makae the fakes?

  33. Why would anyone want to carry a bag that is so heavily knocked-off that the odds are that people will think you’re carrying a knock-off, even if you’re carrying the genuine article? I’ll never understand the craving for status that leads people to buy into that game.

  34. Not sure if I posted on the right forum but anyone know the buying policy from these kinds of shops? I am in Japan. Currently buying secondhand brandname bags for shops in Thailand but would like to sell to HK shops.

  35. Heejun Phạm on said:

    hi everyone ….. let me know, please because i’m vietnamese, i want to travel to hongkong …. i want to buy secondhand things to save …. let me the address

  36. hi, it is nice to see your website. well I want to import your bag to my country (indonesia). can you give the service ? please reply my message. or you can call me at +628563404184 . thank you . nice for having bussines with you.

  37. hi Kelly:
    My husband and I are travelling to Hong Kong in November of this year – would you be able to tell me where I can shop in Hong Kong for designer bags that aren’t priced at such an exorbitant rate? I’m thinking in the low hundreds and cheaper..thank you.

  38. Re: Secondhand Brandname Bags From Thailand dated 8-January 2012
    Hi MeeChan,
    I am from Malaysia and would like to resell secondhand/used Brandname bags.
    I seek your advise where in Thailand I can buy this secondhand designer/Brandname bags?
    In need your advise and appreciate your sharing.
    Thank you.
    My email: anntan2010@gmail.com
    Mobile: +60 12 3082252

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