I came up with the idea for Prada Economics while writing my Panda Economics – Lessons from 看熊猫 & 红烧熊猫.
The study of Prada Economics is a study and discussion of the love & hate and the “prices” people pay for international fashion brands like Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton in Hong Kong.
While I think these brands/lovemarks have been popular in some circles of the rich and famous for many years but the pathological obsession and blind lust and admirations of these famous brands by young school girls to ladies of all ages is a more recent phenomenon.
The almost benign form of “admiration” by purchasing fake brand name handbags with prominently displayed logos to enhance ones’ image has a price. In fact, for some girls and ladies, these fake bags may be their toy-cigarettes and simulate-cocaine that trains their minds to view these brand name expensive goods as a total-representation of their beings and self-worth. Unfortunately, I’ve also read reports of some extreme cases where young school girls were selling their youth and sex to older men so that these innocent girls can earn the thousands of dollars needed to buy these latest brand names handbags and shoes, etc.
For the working ladies of Hong Kong (especially those in the business district of Central), brand names expensive handbags, shoes, and clothings are almost like uniforms that formed a de facto dress code. While I respect these working ladies’ freedom to to spend their hard-earned money on anything they wish or desire, I submit some of these ladies may have unwitting have these material goods as a measuring stick of their social standing and self-worth and I think this approach can be detrimental to their ultimate growth as a woman.
I wander if the schools (the equivalent of grade 1 to 13) in Hong Kong (including teachers and school principals) are working with parents in Hong Kong to try to reverse the tides of materialism and blind lust and admirations of luxury brand names in Hong Kong? Ultimately, has Hong Kong lost a few generations of girls and boys in the battle of blind lust and admirations of luxury brands?
Here is one of the quotes I love,
“The most beautiful make-up of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.”
– Yves Saint Laurent, Fashion Designer
Here is my take.
A complex set of qualities like smarts, smiles, looks, wits, caring nature, gentility, insights, etc makes a woman charming and attractive. But designers handbags are easier to buy.
Brands/lovemarks like Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton have their places in the world. But in the current twisted value system of Hong Kong, it pains my soul to see generations of HongKongers being engulfed by the tidal waves of blind lust and worship of expensive brands like Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton etc.
In my humble opinion, the high prices (especially the non-monetary prices) are too high to pay for these brands. As a former resident of Hong Kong, I can’t do anything but I can only hope there will be movement to change Hong Kong for the better. Someone has to start it. If you live in Hong Kong and are in position start the change, why not?