Online Store of the Week: This is Not a Mall brings you the best from South & South East Asia without the cultural-mislabels or the price gouging (plus, we’re getting an extra 10% off!)
The shop: I’m always looking for a good eff-you to Urban Outfitters, and This is Not a Mall—a new fashion and artifacts e-venture from Aussie girls Courtney DeWitt and Annisa Dove—might just be it. For one thing, I found out about it through Susie Bubble, who always knows what’s up. For another, besides their use of the term “curated” (let’s return that word to its original definition; it’s like a year overdue) to describe their hunting-and-gathering activities, DeWitt and Dove are doing things right. Ace vintage? Yes. Correctly identified foreign objects? Yes. (No factory-made, vaguely “ethnic” ripoffs here.) Best international magazines? Some of ’em, yes. Everything under $100? So far, so yes, although DeWitt says she’ll soon add “super dope higher end labels” along with more menswear and even acer vintage.
The goods: If it looks like it’s from Thailand or India, it actually is: a boon to the socially conscious in ultra-commodified times. Gem-coloured turbans ($8), gold nath and tika chains ($16) and handcrafted slippers from the Hmong Hilltribe ($34) are all bought fairly (i.e., directly from the South and Southeast Asian craftswomen who make them) and sold at double-take prices. Better and cheaper than the mall? I’m almost worried that if I look too long, this oasis in the desert of globalization will turn out to be a mirage. But DeWitt assures us they’ll only expand their purview, adding fair-trade goods from countries like Cambodia and Laos and collaborating with the Hilltribe artisans on special pieces.
The shipping: Sent by Thailand mail, packages should arrive between seven and 15 days, although international couriers are available (for a price), and there are no returns (except on faulty items). The site caveats that “in extreme cases” of security delays, packages could take up to 30 days to arrive. Patience may be one of the virtues entailed in shopping here, but for a metallic leather wallet that’s as cool as Comme des Garçons and a quarter of the cost, I can wait. And DeWitt makes it worth it: “We take pride in our packaging, and large orders are always bestowed with lots of free loot, glitter tattoos, coconut lipbalm, and more!”
The deal: For the next 10 days, shop This is Not a Mall using coupon code thisis10percent and get, yessss, 10% off. This is not a suggestion! Go!