ALL THAT JAZZ: Would you live beyond your means to afford luxury goods?
Bags are the quintessential fashion accessory. They can elevate your outfits with ease. But for luxury bags, it does a lot more than just carry your stuff.
As a woman, I can’t deny the appeal that luxury bags bring. I’m sure men can agree to it too.
Whether the design stands the test of time or just a one-season wonder, the construction of soft or hard leather that comes with sleek, classy silhouettes, paired with clever brand storytelling, has created decades long demand, despite them being notoriously expensive.
It’s obvious why the conspicuousness of the brand’s logo is important for many. Flaunting a posh arm candy is like wearing a badge of honour. In one perspective, it signals your social status, just like houses and cars.
I mean, let’s be honest. How many times have you assumed someone’s social status just by looking at their handbag? The higher the hierarchy of the brand, the higher the social status, right? First impressions are everything, they say.
Of course, it cuts deeper than this and opinions may be divided. Some view luxury bags as investment pieces, some save money over a period of time to treat or reward themselves, as a sense of accomplishment. Not everyone can boast a substantial amount of disposable income to purchase luxury items on a whim.
Nonetheless, it is ingrained deeply within us, to want a luxury life and own branded goods. The common perception is that higher priced goods are of better quality and more durable.
But would you live beyond your means to afford luxury bags?
Experts predict that the world economy is perilously heading for a recession this year. Economic troubles may affect consumers across income brackets, yet according to recent news reports, luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton have produced upbeat results from their strong sales.
In fact, LVMH co-founder and chief executive officer, Bernard Arnault, who runs the French mega corporation that operates brands like Christion Dior, Tiffany and more, just moved up the rank to become the world’s richest person, knocking down Tesla founder, Elon Musk.
In this state of economy, people are still making pricey purchases, which proves no harm if one is spending within their means.
In an interview with Sinar Daily recently, Wahine Capital founder Rejina Rahim said that women between the age of 24 and 35 are the age group most with personal loans.
These personal loans are typically what feeds their lifestyle needs, it could be buying luxury handbags, going for expensive vacations, and more.
To understand more about the spending habits among Malaysians, Sinar Daily has kickstarted a special series called “Living Beyond Your Means” where our team heads on the ground to interview locals and their shopping habits that feed their lifestyle. Are people living beyond their means to afford nice things?
Appropriately, the first episode focuses on bags. Some say they would splurge at most RM3,000 for a bag, while others would go up to RM30,000 and even RM100,000.
They were divided if a bag symbolises a person’s status - some don’t agree to this. One interviewee, Qi Razali who was formerly a member of the local band OAG, said it’s hard to say that owning a luxury bag would signal a person’s status.
“To highlight your status, I think anyone can save up and purchase a USD 20,000 bag, it doesn’t mean they earn USD 50,000 a month,” he said, to which I agree.
This brings me to ask, how do you define luxury? Do higher priced goods really do offer better quality? I came across this man on social media who goes by Tanner Leatherstein, a leather craftsman who cuts up pricey bags and purses to reveal if the quality of the materials used by these luxury brands measure up to the hefty price tag.
Our intern wrote an article about him which you can read here.
The concept of luxury means different for everyone. Take for example the recent viral story of a young Singaporean girl who was mocked for calling Charles & Keith a luxury brand.
The 17-year-old who goes by Zoe explained that she didn’t grow up with a lavish lifestyle so yes, Charles & Keith is considered a luxury brand for her.
If my father bought me a Charles & Keith bag at the age of 17, I too, would think it’s a luxury!
We’ll be going on ground more frequently to discover more about Malaysians and their shopping habits so stay tuned for On The Ground: Living Beyond Your Means!
Watch the first episode.here.