Why We Buy: Brand Names Part 1

When I started earning/saving a bit more money than usual, I noticed I was able to buy some brand-name labels I just gawked at on the streets in Rome. My first purchase was a trench coat in seasonal blue, since I thought to myself that it wouldn’t be my only one. Somehow, I got a feeling that I became an expensive advertisement for my newly acquired and prized coat. Is this my straitjacket of consumerism?

Why did I do it? Maybe it was materialism in our rampant capitalist culture rooted in superficial elitism. Do I think it was worth it? Even after writing this, yes.

When I bought this item, I semi-consciously thought that having it would make me an exclusive member of the brand’s club. Perhaps having it would open my image to others on the street to acknowledge me and have me part of theirs. It happens often; someone admires what you’re wearing and that accessory or piece of clothing can be an ice-breaker into a conversation. As I’ve heard: “Being well dressed is a beautiful form of politeness” and would attract those similar kinds of people around you. The reply to the question, “what are you wearing?” is a speak-easy to join the crowd of those who believe possession is equivalent to having a high-profile status.

What do the individuals who sit in the front row of runways have in common? Each received an invite and possibly for very different reasons. Their relationship with the brand or industry earned them an exclusive party where they talk mostly about the new line that just passed them.

This association with high-end fashion is a culturally crafted phenomenon that exists on the streets to a certain level. Sharing the common feeling of privilege with others makes people happy; rejoicing over bags has become a bonding moment. Purchasing that emblemed lip-gloss and using it in public puts one’s elitism and brand association on display; we’re all eating it up.

“Don’t say you …

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
– H. Jackson Brown Jr.

There comes a point in our childhood where we realize that adults are not super humans. We get to the same age as that celebrity who starred in that movie, or that author who published that book; not only did they do it in their time, they did it in our time. H. Jackson Brown Jr. awakens us to the fact that we are the Shakespeares of here and now; we’re just spoiling the moment. Certain circumstances and success may go hand in hand, but the only thing that can stop determination and hard work is laziness. Motivation is a beautiful gift, and those of us who can afford to dream and act on the things in which we’re passionate can not only make the world a better place, but our place.