I like buying unique clothes. This doesn’t mean I follow the way of Lady Gaga and wear meat for covering, but I’m drawn to asymmetrical shirts and coolly patterned pants.
Unfortunately, American in-store fashion tends to be very square while I prefer other types of quadrilaterals – even ones with tangents and asymptotes. This has led me to online shopping.
One store I frequent is ASOS where I bought the shirt to the right. It’s hard to tell, but it’s a gray tee with an overlaid black piece that is not, unfortunately or not, stitched down. Aka if I move too fast, which I tend to do when walking, it flaps like a cape. But it has a cool textured appearance and, most importantly, is unique.
However, I do have to clarify it’s not a cape; I don’t think it’s Superhero Friday. When people ask me about my shirt, I get to say, “It’s actually from London.” Or any British city I want to cite. Maybe next time I'll say it's from Cardiff to sound even more posh.
Along with ASOS, I follow @UrbanStox on Instagram who hail themselves as “bringing contemporary and urban men’s fashion to you.” Sounds up my alley, right?
Except I found myself recognizing some of their pieces from other websites. I had seen some of the shirts on a South Korean site last year and thought about buying them until I read online reviews of child’s sizes being delivered or just poor quality. Sorry, $30 is steep for a shirt that is reported to fall apart after one wear.
But I really liked the shirts I was seeing. Why is it so hard to find original clothing? Where could I find this?
This led me to Google Image Searching the clothing articles I liked and their descriptions only to locate them on a few other sites, notably AliExpress.com. But I’m a wary customer. I did some Googling and discovered UrbanStox and other retailers like to buy items from Alibaba.com, otherwise known as AliExpress, and sell them with inflated pricing, sometimes three times the cost. But what about Alibaba? Is it/he/they trustworthy? I discovered they tend to be more reliable based on the fact payments are withheld until the customer confirms receipt of the product or opens up a claim.
(All my gratitude goes out to Reddit for these facts.)
So do I funk with Alibaba?
I also just like saying Alibaba.
But there it was, the coolest shirt ever, for a little over $8! And free shipping.
What world is this? Oh, wait, China.
Here is the Alibaba shirt: $7.51 to $8.46.
Here is the UrbanStox shirt: $45.
I decided I should test the waters. I could afford to toss $8 into the Chinese sea and see what came back. Of course, credit card theft is a very real thing, but I’d let my bank be on the prowl for that. I bought the shirt and ordered a size up because Asian men are slighter and every website said to do that.
Minor issue: The Alibaba site was in Spanish.
Envío gratis 2015 nuevos Mens del ocio del verano T-shirt moda delgado corto manga V neck T shirt botón de la decoración camisetas / Tops
Da fuxx does that mean?
Flashback to ninth grade: How did I get through Spanish III? FreeTranslation.com. Duh!
I filled out the payment and delivery method on their site by clicking between FreeTranslation.com and AliExpress.com. “Nombre” was easy, but “número de tarjeta de crédito”? Hmm? Most people would have stopped here. Nah, not me.
I then received my confirmation email.
Tu pedido n.º 684539481795 Envío gratis 2015 nuevos Mens del ocio del verano T-shirt moda delgado corto manga V neck T shirt botón de la decoración camisetas / Tops ha sido enviado por el vendedor el 2015.08.03 17:44. Te aconsejamos que consultes con él los detalles del envío.
La Protección del Comprador para el pedido n.º 684539470295["Envío gratis 2015 nuevos Mens del ocio del verano T-shirt moda delgado corto manga V neck T shirt botón de la decoración camisetas / Tops"] terminará el2015.08.30 17:44.
And so I waited. At one point I got emailed they shipped the item (FreeTranslation interpreted). And on the day I got another email asking me to confirm receipt, I received my package.
Kids' clothing?? Excuse me, I ordered an adult large?
But then things looked better. I think I can fit in this.
Except what is this?
Wang Bang??? Da fuxx?
I was trying to look the other way on this shirt possibly coming from a sweat shop, but now it sounded like a sex shop.
My brother Snapchat me the same thoughts:
Despite my trepidation, I tried on the shirt. Amazingly, it fit. I could fit in a child's large! A bit snug in the arms and shoulders, but you can't complain when it's $8.
And then I wore the shirt to a happy hour as you can see here. I haven't decide if I'm going to funk with Alibaba again. We'll have to see how it washes.