Are Flash Sales Encouraging New Global Tastes?


These Russian socks, which are sized like shoes, will never be available through an online sample sale.

Are flash sales, however unintentionally, sparking a trend for offbeat foreign fashion?  The Wall Street Journal certainly thinks so, arguing that Gilt Groupe and its ilk have made it so easy to buy high-end designer goods — like, say, a Marc Jacobs bag — that, as a way of making any kind of style statement, women are looking toward one-of-a-kind items from all corners of the globe.

When it comes to the business angle, the WSJ notes that a new crop of online boutiques — like one one of our favorites, L-Atitude — are taking advantage of the trend by offering internationally-sourced goods. The WSJ also quotes designer Julie Chaplin (who uses African textiles in her line, Gypset) who points out: “It’s not so luxurious to have something that everybody else has, that’s sold in every city in the world.”  Meanwhile, from a shopper’s perspective, LuxCartel co-owner Natalya Rovnar tells the paper that “People will come up to me to ask about things I’m wearing, and it’s not like I can tell them to go around the corner — I found the moccasins in Beirut.”

So in other words, unusual, non-branded items seem to be having a moment.

At the risk of sounding like passport-stamp-collecting brats, we must admit that while wearing unique items bought on various trips, we too have experienced that sudden uptick in attention.  For the past year, we’ve alternately carried two bags — an open woven and leather basket from Marrakech that smells a bit like goat, and a sleek black Gryson bag — and it’s the smelly basket that received heaps of praise from people on the street.

What do you think of the “unique global” trend?  Have you been inundated by flash sales and cheap (or, cheaper) designer goods to the point of seeking out the weird, the exotic, and the one-of-a-kind?