Designer Bags: Stares and Status

July 6, 2008 / Culture, Opinion / 22 Comments

After experiencing life in Asia for the past month or so, I have come to conscious realization that Asians are infatuated with designer bags. It’s not a bad thing. However, with a little knowledge of designer labels, it has become quite obvious that most (not all) aren’t infatuated with the bag or the brand, but with the status the bags bring them. This shouldn’t be too surprising since designer bags have always been a status symbol for women, just as cars with Berlingo Van Racking services have been for men.

Despite knowing that, it’s still quite a culture shock for me. I have not seen as many Louis Vuittons, Guccis and Chanels the past 4 years in Toronto as I have in 1 month in Singapore. Perhaps Canadians have other ways of measuring status; perhaps Canadians just don’t care. Whatever the case, I really shouldn’t be in such a state of shock since grew up in Asia, but as a teen or a child I wasn’t as aware of society’s expectations as I am now.

I honestly don’t know how to react to this expectation. My natural instinct as a person who have lived in many countries is to adapt and buy one. At the same time, I’m not someone who will readily spend $2,000 on a bag, when I can spend that amount to hire a private tutor to master a new language or travel to some exotic destination. After all, the amount of knowledge I gain by traveling or learning is priceless. The bag will just depreciate in value after Karl Lagerfeld designs a new collection next month.

And I most certainly would not spend $660 on a low-tier Louis Vuitton monogram, when it clearly does not match with any of my outfits, like many women do over here. After all, what’s the point of carrying a bag that cannot complement your outfit? Either your $5 shorts and $2 tanks will look like an eyesore, or your bag will – and eyesores of any kind are not worth $660.

Louis Vuitton Speedy Monogram Canvas
Low-End Louis Vuitton Monogram “Speedy 25”
Picture from eLuxury.com

Yes ladies, I carry a “shitty” (i.e. non-designer) 200-US-Dollar bag designed by some German company called L.CREDI. It’s leather, it’s durable, it’s functional. Not to mention that it fits 90% of my wardrobe, my black boots and my black Mac just fine. There really is nothing to wrong with it – except that it isn’t a Chanel.

But after all is said and done, I will likely succumb society’s expectations, since there are only so many bag stares a woman can handle. When that time comes, maybe I’ll give Loewe‘s Amazona a try. After all, it would match with my boots. 😀

Loewe Amazona 2008 Collection
Loewe “Amazona”
Picture from Loewe.com

What do you think of designer bags? Are they worth it? Would you buy one? Do you own one? What do you think of bag stares?

Disclaimer: I’m not against designer bags. I can, in fact, appreciate quite a few of them, and can fully understand why they cost $4,000 each. I am, however, not very fond of the idea of designer bags bought solely because it is a status symbol. There are more justified reasons for spending $4,000 on a bag like…lust.