I am honestly perplexed at the brouhaha and negative uproar over a young girl’s posting on social media about her joy at receiving what she described as a “luxury” bag, a gift from her father. Good for you, Zoe Gabriel!
I was quite shocked that people would call her out for calling the brand – Charles & Keith – “luxury.” I had to Google search the brand, one out of Singapore started by two brothers – yes, Charles and Keith Wong – in 1996 as a shoe store and which now has about 400 stores internationally. Singapore may not be Paris or Milan in the rarefied universe of fashion and accessories, but the brothers must have been doing something right to have become so successful. And the prices of their products may not be in the five or six figures, but they’re not chicken feed either.
Following an appointment with my eye doctor last week, I went to check out the Charles & Keith store in the mall where the eye clinic is located. The shoes and bags were nice enough, but I’m hardly a competent – or willing – judge, or even a potential and discriminating customer, for that matter. I haven’t bought a bag in…decades!
I have to admit I’m not helping the post-pandemic economic recovery very much, except perhaps at the grocery and wet market. That visit to the mall last week was a rare outing; the week before that I had to go to another mall for a haircut (the requisite haircut before the lunar new year), but that was the first in many, many months. I try to stretch the time between my grocery runs to once every two weeks, but the trip to the Sunday market is a weekly must-do. Thus while I may not be able to say what is luxury and what is in fashion in terms of shoes and bags and clothes, I sure can tell you what is “luxury” in the palengke these days – aside from onions, that is.
Social media is a marketplace of free – sometimes too free – expression, so I guess the “bashers” – is that what they’re called? – have the right to express and articulate their standards of “luxury” or say which designers/brands are luxury and which do not quite make the grade. To each his own, is the best attitude here, I say.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting or buying luxury goods; fine craftsmanship, excellent design, quality materials are definitely luxury and – I guess, probably – worth the extreme price tags. And I suppose if you’ve paid six figures for a bag you’re entitled to gloat a bit. As I said, to each his own.
But please give the girl a break; not everyone can go out and buy a Birkin (I had to Google that too to find out exactly why it’s so expensive). Don’t begrudge her the happiness of a Charles & Keith bag, or me the pride in the handwoven bag my friends from the Good News Clinic in Banaue gave me.
I may be promdi or cheap – probably both – but I envy that young girl Zoe for the great joy she derived from receiving the bag; the care and thoughtfulness that her father put in to choosing and buying the bag for her and the love with which it was given. That is luxury beyond price or measure.
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