A few years ago, a new sexual classification emerged on the scene. As funny as I thought it was when I first heard the term "metrosexual," I think it's even funnier that it stuck around. Oh no, metrosexuals weren't just a passing fad —people now comfortably identify themselves as such. Now it appears there is a new name for members of the fashion-forward jetsetting set, "Jetrosexuals." Also known as "flash-packers," jetrosexuals revel in fashion and travel.
Applied to individuals who travel worldwide in search of fashion bargains, jetrosexuals are known for having their passport ready to go at a moment's notice, and an eye for stylish, cheap faux couture clothing. Most commonly found travelling from the US to Asia in search of a bargain, jetrosexuals are known to carry little more with them than an iPod and the latest issue of Vogue.
Apparently, the new trend is being fueled by two things: Ridiculous airline discounts that chop $1000 fares to Asia to less than $50 from gateway cities, and the booming Asian textile industry.
And it's not just the jetrosexuals who are evolving — the money spent on textiles and fashion in Vietnam has brought about dramatic change in the economic and cultural landscape of Hoi An. Although still conjested and plagued with poverty, this city is now known as a tailoring hub. It all started years ago when European and American designers began outsourcing the production of their fabrics to Asia.
I was curious to find out what (besides a plane-ride across the Pacific) separates jetrosexuals from people who take the subway down to Chinatown to buy fake Louis Vuittons. Apparently, quite a lot. Jetrosexuals don't just take a copy of Vogue with them for reading on the plane — they take it to show tailors how to copy the garments. So, in a matter of hours, a jetrosexual can arrive in Hoi An, point to a Marc Jacobs jacket in a glossy fashion mag, and get back on the plane to L.A. wearing what appears to be a $1000 couture coat. In other words, it's made-to-order knock-off couture.
Surprisingly, (unlike a fake Vuitton) this violates no copywright laws in the U.S. Unless a Marc Jacobs label is stuck in the back of the garment, there is nothing stopping a tailor from copying a designer garment.
What do you think? Is it worth the trouble to venture to Asia for discount couture clothing? And will "jetrosexuals" stick around?