You will have to be quick if you are to pick up the fashion accessory of the year.
The retailer Asos, who has built their reputation on supplying must-have fashion items, as worn by icons of the screen, has exceeded itself this month by producing a new line of such limited availability that the items could be priceless.
The accessory of the year allows the wearer to be seen in the dark, and buyers from stage, screen and the Russian secret service are said to be scouring the markets to locate them.
So what is it that has caught the attention of those seeking something truly unique – if not actually lethal?
To be fair, Asos probably didn’t intend their metal-studded belts to be quite so special. The metal studs are said to have been contaminated with Cobalt-60 – a radioactive isotope more commonly used in radiotherapy. Asos sold just under 50 of the contaminated belts across 14 countries and they have been on recall since January when eagle-eyed US border officials identified the belts’ unique properties.
Since then, buyers have been scouring nightclubs with Geiger counters trying to track down examples still at large.
The company is playing down their coup, saying the radioactive nature of the metal studs was a mistake, resulting from contamination of the steel during melting; a not-uncommon problem in India where the metal studs were made. Asos is quoted in an FT article as saying the radioactive belts were produced by Haq International, an Indian supplier, that has worked with the retailer for about a year.
Haq International could not be reached for comment and rumors that the owner could only be reached in an isolation ward of the local hospital are said to be untrue.
Reports that the Russian secret service has secured a few of the belts intended for use by secret agents intent on bumping off dissident rivals of President Putin by body-to-body contact in night clubs – those are also without foundation, a spokesman for the FSB said. Unfortunately, the level of contamination was found to be insufficient to deliver a lethal dose.
Shares in Asos edged up 1.1 percent to £38.51, with analysts unperturbed by the news. One said: “It’s not something that is registering on our spreadsheets.”
Well, obviously you don’t have the genuine article then, do you?