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Metrosexual: How fake goods rob our stylish looks

We have been talking underwear lately, starting with socks and naturally today should have been about vests before we delve to the real thing.

With underwear it is about finding the right size, material and, yes, colour. And since it is underwear, a lot more care is needed as this article covers fragile parts. As we did previously with caring for our feet, we will also delve into care for our private parts, which underwear primarily covers, like the armpits.

But something is amiss in the news that has a bearing on fashion, more so male fashion and grooming that can’t go unattended too. So, we will cover underwear next time. In our quest to be the men we are – smart, neat and debonair – we have to find and buy the best there is on the market from garments to accessories and even skin care products. In this case, let’s forget the affluent geezer who buys stuff from abroad.

Ignore that snob and critically ask why folks don’t go shopping for the best shoes, perfumes or skin care products from Luwum street or Namaganda plaza. No offence to folks who ply their trade in those places or those who flock those places to buy Guci instead of Gucci jeans.

Traders in downtown Kampala had their shops closed for much of this week; why? They are protesting a government move to introduce Pre-import Verification of Conformity to Standards (PIVoC) programme. The PIVoC system that took effect on June 1 is aimed at stopping substandard goods from entering the market right from the country of origin.

According to the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), the traders are charged with clearing the pre-inspection charges, which has been the rallying point for this strike. But heck, don’t you traders always pass on extra costs to the consumer?

Who says we give a rat’s tail for paying a little more for standard goods? We would rather you charged us an extra coin charge than buying a Van Hussein shirt that you sell at the price of a Van Heusen. If it is going to be a Bruno Magli shoe, let it not be a Brono Magili that costs the same as the former.

My friend Nelson had his face reduced to looking like a Desert Storm military fatigue after using fake Camphor lotion he bought at the price of a genuine one. He is yet to finish the kilos of antibiotics the doctor prescribed months ago. I hope the meds are not adulterated too.

I know friends who hit Guangzhou, China to import men’s suits. They are taken through the ranges, from the genuine Rex Timothy brand to the fifth grade look-alike. They deliberately and consciously buy the third and fifth grades and bring them to Kampala to sell them as first and third grade, respectively. They will profit from selling a fake product at the price of a genuine one.

You and I, who toil and sweat to look good, are the losers in the end because we are fleeced. That is what PIVoC is aiming to stamp out! In addition, the traders know that PIVoC will expose them to higher levels of transparency, the absence of which has been their cash cow. Now they will have to declare exactly what their consignment is and how much it cost.

For that matter, allow me to rant about the different products on the market. A man needs a good set of Gillette blades to shave and I bet my arm, you will find a variation of Gillette blades. How many of you have bought Supermax razor blades to do a pedicure and manicure, only to have them thing break like they were made out of clay?

Here we are out to fight bad body odour and folks are closing shops because they want to continue importing fake deodorant and body sprays. Men’s leather shoes, for example, should not be the disposable lot I see, which when worn for a week have the front part pointing up and the sole rupturing into flakes.

You not only look cheap wearing a fake necktie made from nylon but it hurts more if you bought it at the price of a silk one. And fake products are NOT limited to the stuff we wear or lotions we apply on our faces; that implies the packed food we buy for our consumption and that of people we love, like our children.

We toil to look good; we shouldn’t be forced into fake stuff by blackmail from dishonest traders. Step aside fake traders and let the government step forward to protect us from your fake stuff.


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