I apologize for opening Pandora's Box in regards to China in regards to their place in the shell shortage. It has snowballed and I didn't mean for it to turn to China bashing.
There are billions of people in China. The ones who are responsible for the outbidding for horse shells don't make up .01% of the population.
Whenever capitalism emerges in a formerly communist country, a new class of uber-wealthy, new money capitalists appear. They don't know how to handle the money and they start going crazy with luxury goods. It happened in the former Soviet Union.
Whoever said, "Class can't be bought or learned" was wrong. Savoir Faire, morals and values cannot be bought, but over time, class can be learned and , sadly bought as well.. Lets not confuse class with the rapid accumulation of the right material goods.
Look at a certain Hip Hop Artist. He went from crack dealer to a rapper who wore Crooks hoodies and Tier Zero Nike gear to an impresario who wears Turnball & Asser Shirts, Anderson & Sheppard Suits and Cleverly shoes.
The Chinese have bought many of the great Chateaux in Burgundy yet 70% of the Grand Cru vintages that appear in China are fake. They made huge investments in Cuba, but 80% of the top tier Cuban cigars found in China are fake.
The new power class within China purchases Italian, German and British Luxury Cars, ship them to Guangzhou where they are taken apart and reproduced part by part. Then they produce carbon fiber Lamborghini's that do 0-60mph in 10 second are don't break 110 mph. They look good though.
They had 34 Apple Stores within Chins, all being identical and carrying identical products. 26 of these were fake and even the employees didn't know that they didn't work for Apple.
A friend of mine did a semester in China and learned about the top counterfeiters in the luxury watch market and wrote an article on how crazy if is.
. He went and spoke with "the guy" and ordered a vintage Rolex that sells for $75,000 at auction. He then bought a brand new Rolex Deep Sea SeabDweller, which sells for $10-$12K. These were not the $60 Canal Street knock-Offs and they weren't the $200 High End Noob Luxury Replicas. These watches were $600-$700 and they all had brand new serial numbers which matched up in the Rolex Database as unique items, He took the watches to 4-5 pawn shops just to see what these "experts" thought. He was made offers from $45,000-$55,000 on the vintage watch and $8500-$10,000 on the Sea Dweller. The final test came when he took it to Rolex headquarters in NY where they cleaned the watches, certified that they were authentic and printed out warranties for the new watch based on their service and it's authenticity. Rolex could not spot the top of the top Chinese Fake. The same thing was done with Tag Heuer, Cartier and Patek. At the end of the day, he did not sell these watches as they were purchases by the periodical for the article and were eventually returned to the original manufacturers whose items had been counterfeited.
While the Chinese might be buying all of the shell, they'll figure out a way to turn calf into undetectable cordovan stamped with Horween's famous logo. They might even start making Alden's which might be nicer than Alden's real shoes.
It's a crazy world and the Chinese are brilliant, resourceful and incredibly productive. They work hard and in the last 5-10 years "Made in China" has evolved and no longer is synonymous with "piece of sh-t." I'vevread that Chinese Denim is sneaking up on Japan. I know that the " All American" made in the USA brand, RRL, makes most of their $500 cotton sweaters and other gear in China.
The Chinese should be applauded for achievements which don't harm humans or infringe on intellectual property. The problem us that most advances in Chinese production and innovation come at a cost usually associated with the firmer or the latter.
i just wanted to remind everybody that the guy snapping the whip at the factories, ordering cases of fake Chateau Margaux, smoking fake pre-Castro Cogars, driving his $60,000 Laambirghini and living in a world of gold leaf which would make the Persian community in Los Angeles seem modest and understated; this guy is not China. He's just the guy that we hear about. From my travels and knowledge, the hard working, friendly, salt of the Earth manual laborer who would give you his last bowl of rice if you were hungry; he is what we should think of when we think Chinese.
While we all laugh and scoff, China has positioned themselves where they now manufacture and produce all of the products which used to put our citizens to work.
Masachussetts used to be the center for US shoes; with Brockton and Fall River being huge centers of shoe production. Foot Joy and Reebok left and now it's just Alden.
As we all see, Alden's quality is going to shit while Carmina, Meermin and the Northhamptonshire British shoe companies along with Viberg and others, are becoming the only shoe companies that we can actually trust with quality. Alden without Cordovan is a mediocre, uninspiring company and that's where we are. The people in the factory don't even realize that those who know think Alden's are a list company. He'll, I've purchased 10 pairs in the last 16 months and have had to return 7-8.