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Designer brands versus character

Yesterday in the papers, I read about people flocking to the Johor Premium Outlet in search for branded designer items like Calvin Klien, Coach, etc. Then there’s another article about those who make designer brand shopping part of their holiday plans- sometimes having to travel outskirts of cities to the factories.

Sometimes I really wonder- a small little Coach pouch costs over RM200 and the design is quite generic. It must be one of the most copied brands around because I see so many Coach imitations in the markets and pasar malam.

No matter how poor they are, many people say that they at least want to own a Prada, Burberry or a Coach bag- but often, they do not rest after owning one. They would want more.

From the time I started working till now, I am seeing more and more people living beyond their means in search to adorn themselves, their home with designer branded items.

One wonders what is the underlying factor to all this craze going around- granted, branded items usually come in better quality but it would not justify the astrominical sum that you need to pay for it. I used to shop for shoes in Isetan wearing Snowfly, Clarks and Hush Puppies shoes because I was told that they were the good brands. But these shoes get worn off after a while- today, my favourite brand is Crocodile and Hawke- they are comfortable, enduring and sometimes you can get some discounts during sales. So, brands do not guarantee comfort.

Perhaps it is the self image, the need for attention and respect that had urged one to feel the constant need to adorn in designer and expensive brands. Again, I feel because really, many people are seriously living beyond their means, taking up loans and owning credit card debts that they would not have the means to pay off because of their perceived important of style and brands that results in never ending shopping spree.

Respect is earned, it is not given. In the end, people know you and value you for your sincerity, sense of responsibility and genuine care and concern for them. We can adorn ourselves with the most expensive brands and with a heavily made-up face, but when we look down on people, intimidate others, break people’s ricebowls and yell like a hyena, no one would respect us. No doubt, they would need to take the shelling with downcasted face….because we happen to have a reasonably high position in the organisation. But the moment we leave, instead being being sad to see we leave, they would rejoice and even hold a private celebration.

If people do not like us, we can sense it deep down inside. Sometimes that may trigger us to be even more nasty and believing that the world is indeed a bad place and we need to be mean to get ahead. But in truth, it is not the world, it is all our own doing.

The language of the heart is above all language. If we are genuinely kind and care for others, it shows forth in our actions. People around us can feel it even though we never verbalise it in words. We do not need to wear designer brands and carry Coach bags for people to like and respect us. We only need to be a bit kinder.

If those around us only give us a second look if we ‘look expensive’ and ‘happening’, then, seriously, we are in the wrong crowd and mixing with the wrong group of company. Real people don’t give a hoot about what you wear- you can be shabby as a beggar and yet people love and respect you.

I use to travel a lot and often, I wear worn out clothings. Going to other countries, sometimes people would just dismiss me with a single glance when they look at my worn clothing and cheap bag.

But many accept and look beyond superficial appearance. Those are the friends I would like to have and keep. Life’s too short to spend time in bad company and fake people.  And the outer appearance can be a great filter to filter off the fakes.

However, on the other hand, we also must give people the benefit of doubt. People do change. Fake or real, I believe each and everyone of us have a heart. Try not to judge others- real people can turn fake through circumstances and many fakes, whose life being touched by someone, would transform into real inner beauties.

Most important, don’t spend your life being a slave to the latest fashion and gadget craze. Just because everyone have it, it does not mean you must have it too. You are find and great just the way you are… you just have to believe in your own inner beauty and greatness.

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