Friday, February 11, 2005

"Did you get that outfit from a vending machine?"

I would not be surprised at all to see edgy fashion stores like Fat putting jewellery and accessories in vending machines. The Japanese know that vending machines aren't just for Coke. Although the most popular jidoohanbaiki do dispense drinks (Saige rhapsodised about energy drinks and miraculous cans of hot coffee) some sell clothing and accessories.

You'd probably be familiar with the Western gumball-style vending machines you see in supermarkets, where the contents are sealed in plastic spheres and are randomly dispensed by putting a coin in and turning a handle. Those do sell jewellery, although it's invariably crap, leaves green marks on your skin, and has recently been recalled in the US for fear it'll give the kiddies lead poisoning.

But at Marc Jacobs in New York, there's an identical vending machine in the foyer that sells rather more upmarket items. Karen Parr from New York magazine interviewed Iloire Blanos, a sales assistant at Marc Jacobs:
I've spent many a dollar at the gum-ball machine at the Marc by Marc Jacobs store on Bleecker Street.
Yes, the vending machine. You can get lots of cool little trinkets there.
I'd spend all my paycheck in the vending machine.
Oh, it's a problem. I buy everything.
Have you gotten anything good from it?
I actually got some of the spring jewelry - a necklace, and then the charm bracelet, which was very exciting. Then I got all the little heart marbles.
This is the sort of machine that I think we'll start seeing over here soon.

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