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I've seen posts re North Face clothing at Tolia Shop, Hanoi Towers and visited there today. North Face Gore-tex jackets for 950000VND is very cheap and they insist (convincingly) that they are genuine and from the Vietnam factories. I've seen excellent NF etc copies in China so I'm not convinced. (You know they're fake when you find they are as breathable as a bin-liner). Does anyone have any knowledge on whether these Tolia ones could be genuine or not? Thanks!
My guess is that they are genuine. Unless you have a trick to check otherwise.
During my last trip back home i wondered into a Sport Expert shop while waiting for my wife, and had the idea to check the tags of major brands to see where they were manufactured.
To my surprise: "made in vietnam" was quite popular as well as "made in Lao", made in Philipines" etc... less in China though.
And i'm talking about major brands here, if i remember correctly North Face is one of them. Maybe you can have someone back home checking for you. that would confirm what i am saying below.
Thus, my guest is that, as i like to say, what you find in this shop are stuff that fell from the back of the truck ;) if you see what i mean.
I hope that my theory will help you. But keep in mind that i'm still not sure 100%.
I have bought NF stuff here some time back, and my wife who is Vietnamese grilled the shop owner, and she was convinced that they were original, but with a minor defect. The woman in the shop even pointed out the defect for us, which to most is imposible to find.
If it was fake i couldn't tell as i used them just for the cold winters here. My friend who bought a load of stuff to go skiing in NZ never had any complaints either.
My view is, if your only buying for the name, and not using the clothing for the correct use, I.e. Mountain Climbing, artic expedition. I'd proberly buy them and take the chance, if you intend to use for correct purpose, it's not worth risking at all.
Good point natinnam. True: if you plane of climbing K2 then you might want to head over to Thailand or somewhere where you can genuine store, just to make sure.
But like i said, there many brands that are manufacturing in Vietnam but don't have the license to sell on the Vietnamese market, it's only for exportation (we won't get into the legal stuff here). So from time to time you must, like everywhere else in the world, have items that are finding there way out the factory.
Again i would not bet my money on it. I'll head back home in september for a month. I'll have a look at "real" North Face clothes tag to see where they are made.
I've bought a few things from that shop and in my experience the goods are "genuine" but are seconds quality, i.e. have defects that prevent the factory selling them to the clothing company (and shouldn't be sold on in country either). I've never had major problems with anything I've bought there, but a close look will reveal a defect of some kind, usually pretty small.
On the other hand, there's no real way of knowing unless you know someone who really knows their stuff regarding the specific brand.
Thanks for the replies so far. Seems its difficult to tell whether this stuff is real or not. I'm not sure the fact that NF is made in Vietnam has much bearing really, seeing as hundreds of brands are made in Asia and yet the market is flooded with fakes rather than 'back of the lorry' stuff.
I've bought a fake NF jacket from Silk Street in Beijing before and ended up giving it away to a charity shop as it was so unbreathable. But sure, it looked nice!
Anyway, thanks for the comments. I think it would be interesting to hear from anyone with a definite link between a NF factory and Tolia Store.
I know it has been a while but like i said on my post above, i went back home and took 5 minutes to check cloth tags while shopping for running shoes (they never have my size here !).
Well whether being North Face or any other similar famous brand, everything is either made in Cambodia, China, Laos, Bangladesh, Philippines and ... and ... yes ... yes ... you guested it ... Vietnam.
Now, the winter jacket made to climb K2 specifically was not made in Vietnam, but i saw other cloth from that brand made here.
So it leaves us with a smaller doubt that it was not genuine.
I can tell you that the NF clothing here is fake as I have taken some clothing to a NF disturber in another country for examination. NF pointed several flaws in the fakes.
The most easily recognisable is the logo - you'll see a small stitch between letters which indicates a fake. A genuine product has no stitch betweens letters.
But the fleeces are very warm, well made and cheap.
The Gortex is not Gortex and is not waterproof, it is water resistance to a small degree but not rainproof. I have tested 3 jackets all failed. Alright for small quick sprinkles of rain but you wouldn't want to pack any of these fakes for a serious expedition.
Yes alot of clothing is made here but it is then boxed and exported quickly.
You find that the owner of the factory making the genuine products have a 2nd factory making the fakes nearby,