Saturday, May 2, 2009

Who Cares if it's Fake?

If I must say so, my first two weeks participating in the challenge went well. I bought a wallet and coin purse on Sunday. However, those things did not count against the challenge because they were gifts for a friend whose birthday was last week. Other than that, the only things I can recall buying were food and a blue book.

Yesterday, I found a Coach bag that my godmother from the Philippines gave me two weeks ago. I sat for a while with the bag in hand and wondered why I had stashed it in the closet in the first place. I looked at its details as well as its design and pattern. Lastly, I paid attention to its overall appearance. It then finally hit me why I decided two weeks ago that I didn’t like the bag and that I had no future plans of using it. I love Coach, and I have (ridiculously) spent hundreds of dollars on their bags and wallets. But I decided that I would not wear this bag because it was not “the real thing” (Decker 11). It was a counterfeit!

I read “‘Knockouts of Knockoffs:’ The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy” last week. In her paper, Melissa A. Decker points out that “it’s OK to buy knockoffs” (10). When I first read that line, I agreed with Decker because I found it absurd to pay over $2500 for any article of fashion such as a designer handbag. “That’s basically my tuition fee here at Davis. If you can get it for a cheaper price and it looks exactly the same, then that fine. Plus people only buy designer stuff not for the quality but rather for the name itself,” I said to myself.

Isn’t that ironic? I told myself it was alright to use counterfeit goods; however I decided that I wouldn’t use a counterfeit bag that I had.

I needed time to rethink things over. I finally came to a conclusion that my reasoning for not wanting to use the bag had to do with the “social system” I came into contact with (Kawamura 75). Decker points out: “Sporting a knockoff no longer carries the same stigma as it used it” (10). In my case, however, I felt that statement was not valid. Like Hejazi women, the people I came into contact with viewed designer paraphernalia as a “significant status indicator” (Yamani 59). It didn’t necessarily have to do with whether one had a lot of money or not. But rather, having a designer bag signified that one had class (good taste in things). “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” states Decker. And I believed that statement was true. My family members and friends had designer bags, and they believed that having those bags was a necessity because they were “desirable” (Kawamura 74). In order to keep up with them, I felt it was necessary to buy designer bags as well. It is for that reason why I believe I told myself two weeks ago that I didn’t like the bag my godmother gave me. I felt that if I wore a fake, this would degrade my perception by other people. People say it doesn’t matter what people think of them and that what people say has nothing to do with how the way they dress. But looking at my example as well as others, it can be seen that that is total bullshit. To some extent, the perception of others does matter, and it does influence how we dress.

Overall, I should rethink about my reasons for buying things. I do not think it is bad for a person to buy something that is over a hundred bucks so long as one is satisfied. Occasionally when I shop, I splurge all of my money on one item. However, after analyzing all this, I now think it is important for me to realize why I want to buy things. Regardless whether something has a brand name or not, I should buy things because I want it, not because of what others think or how I want to be at the same status as others. I should use this idea when I decide what I want to wear as well.

Decker, Melissa A. "'Knockouts of Knockoffs:' The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy." (2004).
Kawamura, Yuniya. Fashion-ology. New York: Berg Publishers, 2005.
Yamani, Mai. "Changing the Habits of a Lifetime: The Adaptation of Hejazi Dress to the New Social Order." 55-65.

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