At a Bollywood award function last year an actress was asked by the host whether brands mattered to her, her reply was an instant negation. Then when her whole attire was evaluated, it came close to a few lakhs; she was branded from top to toe. Yet no matter how much the celebrity denies we know she is not alone, many of us too have been bitten by the brand bug. We do gasp when we hear about a certain celebrity buying a sunglass worth our entire salary but then isn’t there always an element of wistfulness in that? If we closely look at the increasingly brand conscious youth of today it reveals many interesting facts. Firstly, it is yet another form of one’s quest to establish one’s unique identity in this world, buying something unique or custom made gives them that “high”. It also is a form of establishing one’s independence, gone are the days when children would wear whatever their parents wanted them to wear, now we are only too aware of what we want. There are various things, which draw us towards the brands, for instance it may be a desire to possess something of superior quality, or peer pressure or simply a surplus of income. Many of us would, however, agree that brands couldn’t compensate or substitute good taste and aesthetic sense.
While some are loyal to brands because of quality, which many brands do live up to, there are some who swear by the regular store stuff, and find the ultimate delight in street shopping. They are not willing to shell out extra bucks for something which they believe they can get for a fraction of the money from the streets while brand loyalists swear by the quality (sometimes inventing them in desperation to prove their worth). In fact, there is a thin line that separates aesthetic sense or taste from superficiality or a desire to maintain a façade for the society. At least I find it ridiculous when the so-called modern homemakers search the shelves of the supermarkets for frozen cold broccoli when fresh cauliflowers await them in the local market.
One fact that is becoming obvious with the flourish of the mall-culture is the youth becoming increasingly indistinguishable from one another. A recent reality show had various budding directors presenting short films on this subject and one dealt with this issue, where eventually all the characters who pride themselves on being unique; end up wearing the same branded T shirts, shoes, watches, and underwear and spending one third of their salary on brands. A grand effort to be unique and yet ending up strangely like one another! On the positive side again it does encourage foreign investments as we provide them with a lucrative market.
Everyone has the right to live his or her life according to his or her own will. If one is earning money then one has the right to spend his hard earned money as he wishes to do so without paying heed to anyone’s judgment. It is precisely because of this that one should buy things according to one’s own choice, which is not influenced by the decisions that others make. Perhaps only then we will stop looking like clones and only then will our lifestyle reflect our own personality. It is after all better to be a first rate version of oneself than a second rate version of another.