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.


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.


Functionality over form for gadgets, Style over brand for clothing

One thing that’s really changed about me from the past is I no longer care about showing off my wealth; that’s something that I’ve criticized Chinese people for a lot and still do. I don’t understand whats the point of showing off your wealth by buying a fancy car or wearing expensive designer clothing. Like whats the point? You want people to know you are rich? Why? So they can rob you? Sounds arrogant to me.

I am actually quite blessed to say that since 2011 since I got my first job out of university, I haven’t really ‘struggled’ to make ends meet, per say. I’ve been living comfortably (I’m not rich.. just comfortable) for the past 6 years. But I was a poor university student before 2011 plus things in Canada usually cost more, so one of the first things I did when I first came to San Francisco was to buy up a lot of brand name clothing! A&F shirts, Lacoste polos, Lucky Brand / Guess jeans, you name it. I spent a lot of money on new clothes, only to realize that it didn’t really matter. I didn’t really care about the names and SF people really didn’t care either. When I lived in Korea I threw away all my American clothes and exchanged them for no name Korean brands – which were ironically better quality because they were made in Korea and alot of the name brand clothing was made in China. But the important thing is the style. I noticed in Korea people didn’t care about brands so much like in China – they cared about the style more. If it looked good, then wear it. Who cares who its made by? I learned this when I was in Korea.

So now I don’t care what brand I buy or wear anymore as long as it looks good. The opposite applies to electronics. I own laptops by Asus, Microsoft, Lenovo, Dell and Apple. My speakers are made by LG, Sony, Yamaha, Klipsch, Polk Audio, Creative, and Bose. My phones come from Sony, Apple, Essential, Blackberry and Google. My TV is Panasonic. My headphones are Sony, Fender, Monster, Audeze and Master&Dynamic. My microphones are Shure. My cameras are by DJI and Sony. My Keyboards are from Aorus, Logitech and Microsoft. My mice are from Asus, Microsoft, Razer, and Logitech. So yes I have brand name electronics – but they are all different brands. I don’t really have brand loyalty but I do care that they are not some cheap no name Chinese knockoff. That is important to me. But thing to note is that for electronics, I care about functionality of what I buy more than the design.

Take a look at this computer.

Apple MacBook Pro
Apple MacBook Pro

This computer is the epitome of form over function. It’s sexy looking, it’s thin and it’s made of aluminum. It’s nice looking. But it’s rather limited in functionality. There’s no touch screen. The graphics are integrated. The keyboard has shallow travel. There’s only 2 ports on it and one of them is for charging. The only reason I have this computer is for MacOS – which is essential for my programming tasks. It may as well just be a travel ultrabook – and even then the iPad Pro + keyboard kills it in portability, or Microsoft Surface Book 2 just kill it for the specs. Overall I only have this computer for the OS thats it. This computer costs $1900 when configured with the Core i7, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD.

Now look at this computer.

Lenovo ThinkPad TP25
Lenovo ThinkPad TP25

This computer is the epitome of function over form. I use this one as my main computer over the MacBook – even though it costs the same amount of money, $1900. It’s not sexy looking sure – it looks like it came from the early 2000s in fact – but it has way more functions than the MacBook has. It comes with the same specs first off – Core i7, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD. Furthermore – it’s tested to military standards, keyboard is spill-proof, the keyboard is a full 7 row keyboard with at least 4x the amount of key travel the MacBook Pro has, it has mobile broadband (WWAN) and a removable battery (the Macbook you can’t even upgrade the RAM), it has a full set of 8 ports (no dongles needed), it has Nvidia 940MX graphics (granted not the most powerful but still better than integrated), you can use the pointer without taking your hands off the keyboard (its called a trackpoint), and it has a touch screen – and it weighs just 0.5lbs more, and a full 3 year warranty. So yeah. I’m taking this computer almost every time (except when I need to program or use Final Cut Pro).

Here I’m responding to TP25 haters…

Function over form. For much the same reason I have a Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact over the new iPhone X. Because even though that phone looks better with the thin bezels and OLED screens and stuff – mine has more battery life, microSD, headphone jack and IP68. top spec hardware specs too. And did I mention at half the price of the iPhone X? Yeah that too. I’ll always take the more useful over the more stylish for electronics. For clothing I take the stylish over the brand name. Because clothing is a huge part of how people see you and how you present yourself. A good stylish looking shirt or blazer is going to draw way more attention than using a sexy bezel-less iPhone X. I guarantee you.