How many times have we entered a shop and forced ourselves not to look or even touch the most expensive designer bag? The most common feeling is the impossibility that our wallet implies. It’s incredible how our mind works; the more expensive a bag is, the more we desire it. Let me tell you that this hidden desire of buying it despite our limited possibilities will explode sooner or later.
In our modern society luxury goods equal social positioning. If you are a Leo like me, you definitely crave for the latest designer bag. This is due to the effect luxury has on your personality. You would feel complete and powerful when buying luxury goods, as if you really earned them with your efforts.
Interestingly, in an Ugly Betty episode, n.11, “Swag”, two opposed visions are compared during a sale at the magazine closet.
On the one hand, Christina, the designer, due to her artistic-driven perception, highly values and praises a Gucci purse as a piece of art. She encourages Betty to accept it as a present because
…fashion is good for the soul, for just how it makes you feel.Christina in Ugly Betty
She mirrors the common idea that a designer piece gives you social recognition, power and confidence. All these intangible aspects justify the price of a product that even triples the effective cost of the object. Thus, the brand value leverages on the brand perception and resonance.
On the other, Betty craves for the bag but for other reasons. She does not aim at showing off, although she feels empowered when getting noticed because of her Gucci bag by her fashion-victim colleagues. She develops a sense of longing for the bag because it reminds her a fake bag her mother gave her when she was little.
(Betty’s mother) knew how it made me feel … When I was walking around with my Gucci bag today, it was like I was three years old again and holding mum’s purse. I actually felt pretty.Ugly Betty
At a certain point, she decides to trade the Gucci bag for her dad’s prescriptions, making a more reasonable choice. Witnessing the scene and knowing how much that bag meant to Betty, Walter, Betty’s boyfriend, apologises to her after a fight with a more affordable counterfeited version of that bag. Although the second option is less expensive and also not ethically correct at all, Betty accepts it. This action reflects an investment of passion, equalling Christina’s position of fashion being good for the soul.
We all value a brand or product for different reasons. Yet, we are all fascinated by the social implications that a recognisable luxurious object can give.