If you know me in person or have been reading my blog for awhile, you’d know that I don’t buy or wear luxury brands. To be completely honest, in fact, I’m rather clueless on most brands high-fashion. And I get questions–criticism, even, about how I can own a fashion blog when the closest I’ve gotten to high-fashion is probably Project Runway…
To me, it’s more than just a matter of taste and preference.
Perhaps it’s partly of the way I grew up…though I am lucky. No one in my family was born into money, and that includes me. And so I am conscious of how it feels to barely have enough. To have a mom working full-time, two jobs a day (and night) to put food on the table. To be living in a room of a house that belonged to someone else. I try not to take it for granted that I now can live (more than) comfortably.
I think I used to brush off the idea of me ever paying for a branded item like it was dirt on my shoe, never really noticing how offensive that could’ve been. Maybe I felt guilty for even thinking about owning a bag that was more than someone’s monthly salary. Maybe I thought resisting luxury was in a way humble and modest. Maybe I was just afraid that it would make me look materialistic.
It’s ironic how on the flip side, some of those who boycott luxury brands are the ones with the superiority complex instead.
A family friend once gave a two-toned silver Mulberry bracelet cuff (God bless his poor soul) to a fifteen year old me who couldn’t see the beauty in simplicity of that bracelet and chucked it into a corner of her room. It was rather costly too–he made a point to tell me so…which instead of making me treasure it, for some backward logic, made me reluctant to wear it out. What if I lost it? What if it got scratched? But most of all, why would he pay so much for a bracelet as plain as that?
But now, two and a half years later, it’s one of my favourite pieces of jewellery I own. And I’m proud of its origin.
The price means nothing. Well…it means something. But it’s all subjective; to who is paying, what it’s really worth and the value the buyer has personally placed on it. $100 to someone could be peanuts to someone else.
If I like a dress, I like it. If it’s pricey and I know it’ll make a dent, I won’t get it. There’ll be other dresses. If it’s pricey but I know it’ll be worth it, I will get it. If it’s $5, even better. It’ll look the same–whether I pay a fortune or get it for free.
Every time I splurge in Topshop, it’s good to remind myself that it’s probably more than what my mom would let herself pay for a pair of shoes. But I have an option. And for as long as I choose to relish that option, I will be grateful that I have it.
My dad took me and his family out to dinner at Great World City the other day, at which the bill came up to about $200. He then took us shopping in Royal Sporting House and Zara which collectively added up to another $500.
I asked if he was doing well at his new job. He must’ve been, surely, if it didn’t hurt to spend almost a thousand dollars in one evening. It didn’t hit me until a day later why I was still feeling so bad. Maybe his love for me gave him the illusion that his pockets were deeper than they really were.
It’s a given. Parents just like buying stuff for their kids or at the very least, like to see them have what they want.
So perhaps until the money comes from my own, I’d try my best not to develop a designer bag addiction…
Putting that aside, it’s hard not to take notice of these brands when I’d, in recent years, been among a more affluent community and culture. And I can’t say altogether that I haven’t cozied up to the idea of owning my very own Céline mini luggage handbag or Chanel 2.55, or that I don’t sometimes envy those who do own them.
Still, I don’t find it worth it.
It’s not that I don’t admire the design and workmanship. At times, I really do. But for me, I don’t think it’s ever actually about the bag.
I will admit right now that if and when I were to buy something branded, it will be because it’s branded. Because if it’s the design that I want, I could find it elsewhere for a fraction of the price.
I think I enjoy finding a “meaning” in every tiny thing just as much as the next girl. So what I’ll really be paying for when I finally choose to get one is the feeling of authenticity, exclusivity and maybe even accomplishment or reward.
There’s a certain sense of maturity and sophistication one feels when they are able to (and I mean, truly) appreciate high-fashion. It’s like the gourmet food of fashion. Your taste buds finally agree that red wine and foie gras taste absolutely delightful and suddenly you feel like a class A adult. Or maybe that’s just me…
I’m sure that when you’re paying for the brand, it isn’t just for the brand–and all the glory that comes with owning it. You’re also paying for quality. Quality that perhaps a cheap knockoff you get from a street-side cart could never give you. Forget the tears in fake leather or discoloured fabrics, this authentic, carefully crafted work of art could last you at least a decade.
But then I think about it…
Do I really want this bag for a decade?
Fashion comes and goes. I can barely commit to a hairstyle for more than two years, much less a handbag for ten. If I’m going to pay (or more accurately, make my parents pay) so much for something, I’d want to make sure that I actually use it and not just wear it while it’s hot and then after, leave it in my closet never to be seen again.
I’m seventeen. I change my mind. About everything. What I like to wear, how I like to wear it…hell, my favourite colour changes every year. (Apart from black. I will always love black. So maybe that’s a start.)
Keeping that in mind, I could live with myself if I got a designer knockoff. I don’t feel that it in any way gives anyone reason to see you as inferior–especially not yourself.
It’s kinda (though not at all close, haha) like getting a temporary tattoo before you get the real deal. That way, if I decide that I don’t like it anymore, damage it or even worse, lose it…I wouldn’t feel the pain of seeing $4000 fly out the window.
Alright, at some point in here, I’ll have to give credit where credit is due. The best designers are known as just that for a reason. They produce beautiful, unique and sometimes timeless pieces of work and there’s no reason not to be successful for that. If I could create something that millions of people wanted to get their hands on, who’s to say it shouldn’t be worth that much?
But, fashion influences fashion; imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right? I read this article titled Why Knockoffs Are Good For The Fashion Industry, and if you’re one who’s against buying knockoffs or disapproves of those who do, try chewing on this.
Nonetheless, it’s the time of my life when I’m thinking about my future and what I want to do as a career during which, I’ve come up with 2 things:
1. I want to write. I want to change minds and create sentiment where there seems none.
2. Fashion, music and design will always be a part of my life in one way or another.
That being said, I’m more than keen on learning all I can about the fashion industry in time to come, even the parts that intimidate me; especially the parts that once seemed out of reach. I can’t promise that I’ll be as well-versed in everything fashion as your other bloggers out there, but I can promise that I’ll try my hardest to stay grounded along the way.
And so I shall wait.
I shall wait until I know I’ll take good care of it. I shall wait until I can understand fully how fortunate I am to enjoy things some can’t. I shall wait until I’m sure that indulging in something pretty and waaaay over-priced is not going to turn me into someone different.
But make no mistake, that day will come soon enough.