Why buy expensive/designer clothes?

To me its a total waste of money.

There’s only one reason you would ever buy designer clothing and thats to show off that you are ‘better’ or have more money than others i.e as a status indicator.

I think it also highlights a big cultural difference Chinese-Canadians like me have with mainland Chinese; how much we care about how others perceive our ‘status’.

I don’t particularly care about how rich or poor others think I am, so it’s not a big deal to me.

But Tong, you may ask, why do you have such a low opinion of designer clothing? Don’t you care about fashion a lot? Don’t you preach a lot about how others should be like Koreans more and care about their appearance?

Yes I do. I am a big believer in YOYO – You’re Only Young Once. So while we are young we should try to look our best – lasik surgery, skincare, shaving, waxing, painting, fashion style, hairstyle and yes even plastic surgery – I believe appearance is important no matter where you go since its the first thing people notice about you, and its a confidence booster as well.

So why do I dislike designer clothing? Well there’s a few reasons.

  1. The low end labels are just overpriced made in Asia clothes– low end designer labels are usually made in low cost Asian countries. China, Vietnam, Phillipines, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia etc. They are the result of sweatshops. Why would I pay $100 for an Armani or Calvin Klein branded piece of clothing when I can just go to Asia or get it shipped from there for a fraction of the price (sans branding)?
  2. The high end labels are also overpriced – Designer brands are expensive because they hand make their clothing with exotic materials – yes sure, the high end Hermes, Coach, Burberry, LV labels hand stitch their clothing or use some expensive alligator leather or lambskin in Italy/France/England/etc – for a price. For that price you pay (4/5 figures) for these high end pieces of clothing – you could have been investing that money in a stock or an ETF or an index fund *and* bought 10x the same number of clothes from a no name brand. Yes, I’m sure those high end pieces of clothing last longer – but like I said you could literally buy 10 sets or more of a lesser brand *and* have enough money leftover to make a better investment – for the same amount of money.
  3. The clothes they make are really not all that stylish anyways – now this may be a controversial opinion, but just because a fashion designer made the clothes does not necessarily mean that their tastes will look good on you. 
    Designer brands’ style to me are either too weird (derived from the catwalk – clothes that look exotic but you would never wear in real life) – or are derivative of a ‘common’ brand like H&M or Uniqlo. For the price you could get a better style or better fit from a lesser brand or from a no-name brand. 
    Ever notice that regular Korean guys/girls all dress very well – but you don’t see any fashion logos on them? Because the brands don’t really matter- it’s the style that matters. Go to Dongdaemun in Seoul and you can buy a piece of made in Korea clothing (decent quality) that’s a fraction of the price you’ll spend on a designer label – and it’ll be much more stylish as well.

People here said rich people buy designer brands because they know what’s good quality. No – rich people who care about their status buy designer brands. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet still wear Old Navy sweaters and Ross shoes. 
That’s all the proof you need to know that designer labels are really for people care about following trends and insecure about how others view their status and wealth.


What is socially acceptable in Korea that would be horrifying in America?

Women baring their legs in skirts and shorts so short that sometimes you can’t even see them. Some of my Korean friends went to the US and got mistaken for a prostitute because of the way they dressed.

Here’s the school uniform in Korea

Granted this isn’t the exact one they wear in school but you often see girls outside with these shorter uniforms and no one really cares. If a young girl walked around wearing this in America she will definitely raise a few eyebrows. One of the fundamental differences I noticed about fashion in Korea vs America is that legs aren’t considered sexy in Korea but if you wear a tank top in Korea as American women often do you will get strange looks. It’s quite the opposite in America I think.

Edit: clarification to my answer here, it’s not that wearing miniskirts are unacceptable in the West; I’ve lived in California before so obviously I’ve seen women wearing them before, but the important difference about Korea is how ubiquitous it is, and how Koreans just do not see it being as sexy as Americans do. Usually Westerners wear short pants or skirts if it’s hot outside or going to the club; Koreans just seem to wear it everywhere and even in the winter and it’s not just some girls but a majority that’s the difference.


Can you personally tell the difference between a Korean, Japanese, and Chinese person?

Yes, from makeup and fashion.


Hairstyles makeup and fashion are all extremely varied, basically. I can’t pinpoint one Japanese fashion other than they are fashionable, but there’s different variety. While Japanese girls all wear makeup I cannot pinpoint a specific style since they are all different.

In contrast..


Koreans all dress kind of similar, as everyone who has been in Korea can attest to. You can tell they like a simple, elegant, clean style. Makeup is always the same – pale face, red lipstick, black eyeliner. You can manufacture many Korean girls this way. Note that 90% of Korean girls dont wear glasses, btw.


Chinese fashion is also really really varied. I will say that because China in general (not excepting Beijing/Shanghai) is not as rich as Japan/Korea the fashion industry is not as developed as Korea/Japan but they are catching up. For now, their fashion looks like 1980s/1990s Japan or Korea style at best. Makeup – most Chinese women still don’t wear any makeup but the ones that do tend to copy Korean style makeup. Chinese guys btw tend to have shorter hair than Korean or Japanese men. (The short buzz cut is typical of Chinese guys) and they dont dye their hair as often as Koreans/Japanese.