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Sunday, May 8, 2011

ON BRAND CONSCIOUSNESS: SOMEONE TELLS YOU WHY AND WHY NOT

Brand- consciousness, by definition, is not only limited to clothing and style. It can be used to classify behaviors and attitudes toward preferences such as drinking a specific soda brand, using a particular laptop brand, etc. But let's limit it this time to fashion, since "Brand- Consciousness" is always associated with this topic.

"ARE YOU BRAND- CONSCIOUS?"

This is probably one of the most asked questions when it comes to fashion. And most of the time, "YES" would raise eyebrows, and awaken some patriotic sensibilities from someone who cannot understand and is against such behavior. So being a brand- conscious myself, I've been to the good and bad side of it. And in this comprehensive entry, I will tell you why.

My blog captions tell you that this blog is about CASUAL STYLING, DENIM, AND BRANDS. Ever since I was old enough to understand the importance of fashion and styling, I already had this strong preference for branded stuff. I would have to credit magazines and the media for their wonderful job of creating creative and effective advertisements to make you shell out money for their goods. Also, my mom, herself, is brand- conscious.

For polo shirts, I prefer Lacoste. For bags, I prefer Longchamps in a hundred colors even if they all look the same. For denim, I prefer Seven Jeans, Current Elliot, and Lucky Brand, and so on and so forth. But I am no profligate neither am I a show- off. I am wise enough to know what I can and cannot afford.

I would assume that the word "vanity" comes right out of your minds right now. A resounding yes. First. I have to admit that this is one of the reasons. Branded goods, believe it or not, give you confidence whenever you are wearing one or if you're clad with it.

Secondly, branded goods have value. A premium item, no matter how long you've had it in the abyss of your closet, will always have a value even years after you bought it. You'll thank your branded bags, shoes, and clothes one day when you're starting to go on a deficit.

Third. Branded goods provide comfortable, relaxed, and perfect fits most of the time. I am having a hard time finding a nice form- fitting, shape- flattering pair of jeans from local and Asian brands. I am not really a snob when it comes to entry- level clothing. But most of the time (if not always), these brands don't have my size. Sometimes, I get lucky and find a size that fits. But the form looks horrible. Since we're talking about jeans, High- quality denim doesn't come at a cheap cost. But you really do get what you paid for once you slip in them.

Fourth. Buying branded goods is a way to reward yourself. This is what I got from my mom. Any branded item that she buys is indicative of success in her career. So if you find yourself buying a Birkin one day, you'll probably just smile and look back at the glorious memories, your journey in the hard but wonderful path called life, and how the hell did you get to where you are right now.

Fifth. You can save more by buying branded stuff. Think of this analysis. What's cheaper? A 50php white shirt or a 550php white tee from Zara. Bargain hunters and cheap thrillers would go for the former and exclaim "SAVE!", let me tell them that no, that would be "SPEND!". You will always get what you paid for. So a 50php tee is nothing more but a 50php tee. So if it shrinks after washing, you travel all the way to the tiangge where you bought it, wash it, then it shrinks again, and the vicious cycle continues. Sometimes, bargains are not really bargains. Think of the time and efforts wasted. These are equally valuable too! So do yourself a favor and buy that Zara tee.

Lastly, Quality. My first ever Lacoste tee was bought at around 6 years ago. And it's still in perfect condition. My pair of 7 for all mankind, which I wear six times a week, still returns to its original shape right after ironing. And it doesn't fade! From stitches to washes, you're pretty sure that they're all excellent if you're investing in a premium label.

I've presented to you now why some people are and choose to be brand- conscious. Those who diss and criticize should now understand why.

Photo credits: sue-du-jour.com

But Brand- consciousness can lead to Brand- Obsession. Here's the dangerous part. Let me tell you why as well.

Photo credits: fanpop.com

My being brand- conscious peaked when I was in High school. During that time, my mom didn't have enough money to buy branded goods for the both of us. So I settle for whatever measly- priced branded stuff that mom could afford.

So even if the style is blah, or the piece of clothing/bag/jewelry/footwear doesn't really suit me, I would still wear them to places that I go to, as long as people know that I'm clad in branded clothing.

'Twas a good thing that I was able to battle this spending problem after high school. I became more conscious about money, and learned to appreciate its value. So from then on, branded or not branded, as long as it looks good and feels good, I'll buy it if it's worth the dough.

Recounting this experience made me to think of some of the dangers that entail brand- obsession. So read on.

Photo credits: bantulcraft.com

First. Poser. Yes. That's what you will be if your brand obsession starts to soar to the heavens. One of the possibilities is buying counterfeit goods. Admit it or not, if you let vanity take its toll on you, you'll always find a way to please your ego and induce yourself, even if its impractical already. So what if it's a Secosana or a Kimbel? At least it's the real thing! Spare yourself from supporting infringement and give credit to the brains behind the brands. I'm sure if you were in their shoes, you'll feel bad too.

Second. Becoming a profilgate. Also known as a "Spendthrift". Lavish and extravagant living can be your financial downfall. As Baz Luhrman would put it "Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you have a wealthy spouse. But you don't know when either of the two will run out."

Third. Brand obsession distracts you from your goals. Would you rather have a trust fund or Louis Vuittons in all shapes and sizes? You should always have a clear goal in mind when it comes to planning your future.

Fourth. Impractical sacrifices. You will eat crackers and water for the rest of the year because you are dying to carry around a trendy Balenciaga. Before you can say hello to your Balenciaga, you're probably dead by then because of malnutrition and extreme caloric deficit. Remember to always be reasonable. One valuable thing my mom has taught me regarding trends is that trends will always change. They're meant to be that way. Before you know it, there's already a new fad and your item has become obscure. So learn how to be practical when it comes to following trends.

Lastly, Brand obsession can lead to the worst thing: Stealing. It can happen.

Brand consciousness is really hard to fathom, in the same way I can't comprehend K- Pop dressing. Some like it, some don't, and some really can't put a finger on it. There is totally nothing wrong with it. In the end, it's all a matter of preference.



HOW ABOUT YOU? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS REGARDING BRAND- CONSCIOUSNESS?

5 comments:

Diary of a Late Bloomer said...

learned a lot from your post, sis! well-written! :)

THE BEAUTY JUNKEE said...

diaryofalatebloomer: thank you. :D

THE BEAUTY JUNKEE said...

diaryofalatebloomer: thank you for reading. :)

chowchow said...

branded bags and shoes lose their value once used unless they are limited edition.

branded things like jewelry or watch/timepieces do appreciate in value.

So not all branded items would increase in value in the coming years. Bags even if they are made of real leather will do come to a point of wear and tear due to different weather conditions. Same goes with those of shoes.

Investment is a term used when you earn something from selling something. So branded items are really not "investment pieces" to begin with if you will sell them at a cheaper/lesser value of the original cost.

just my two cents

THE BEAUTY JUNKEE said...

chowchow: Hi! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Very much appreciated.

Bags, for example, like Balenciaga and Hermes, you can't sell them at a very cheap cost like most brands(LV for example). In some cases, like the birkin, you can even sell it at a higher price when it becomes a vintage item (in terms of color). And it's true, that some brands will lose a percentage of its value in terms of pricing when it comes to reselling, but not to a point where the price is already a giveaway.

For jewelry, yes I do agree.

What I mean when I say "investment", is where you sell your branded stuff, but it can't go below a crazy and super cheap cost (for example, as low as P1000). There's still "value" in branded/luxury stuff no matter how obsolete the style/color is.

Thank you for the comment. :)

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