With the fashion industry worth hundreds of millions of pounds, designers continue to charge extortionate prices for their garments. Although some believe that these prices are what constitutes an item to be luxurious, others believe that charging tens of thousands of pounds for a Hermès Birkin bag, for example, is absolutely absurd – even if it is considered one of the greatest investments! (Side note: If you haven’t seen Kylie Jenner’s closet tour on YouTube, now is the time.)
We all know the pain of seeing something drop-dead-gorgeous on the runway and wondering if we will ever be able to fill our wardrobe with the latest designer items. The sad reality is that this is not realistic for the majority of us. Faced with high-end fashion magazines on a regular basis, luxury items are labelled as aspirational, yet remain unobtainable for those on the average salary.
It seems like this is one of those discussions that has been classified as a taboo subject as many of us shy away from what we can and cannot afford. If your monthly disposable income doesn’t leave a small fortune aside for designer clothes, then you’re not alone. Unfortunately, essential living costs get in the way and we have to weigh up whether the new Dior saddle bag is really worth being broke and unsociable for a few months. However, a lot of people have resorted to saving up their wages over a long period of time in order to finally treat themselves to their dream fashion statement, and this is not an uncommon approach. Those that are still studying, take advantage of their student loan in order to splash the cash on a luxury item and those that work full time will either save up gradually or spend most of their wages to make that luxury purchase.
We spoke to *Anna a female student at Royal Holloway University of London, who has made a habit of making a Gucci purchase each time the student loan drops. After asking about how she justifies this, she said:
“I love a bit of Gucci and use my student loan to buy myself shoes, and leather goods such as wallets. Stupidly I sometimes have to struggle afterward but I think it’s worth it! It’s a treat and I feel like you need it during the stress of student life.”
And Anna isn’t alone in this view, as another female student who attended the University of Chelmsford splurged on a Mulberry bag with her whole student loan installment. Although the loans that are granted are intended strictly for living costs, she made the purchase and then worked a part-time job in a bar to fund day-to-day life.
“Yes, I spent my the whole of my student loan on a Mulberry bag but I think it was worth it, I made me happy at the time and although I was completely broke and had to get a job at a dingy bar, but my purchase made me happy”
This debate surrounding student loans is one that we have seen circulating on social media a lot recently, as some students disapprove of the fact that whilst some can book an impulsive holiday with their loan, or buy a designer bag, others have to work multiple part-time jobs just to cover their rent and food for the week.
It comes as no surprise that many of us are left yearning to make that designer purchase, as we are all living in an ever-growing digital age that thrives around the avid use of social media and the rise of the blogging industry, which makes luxury items the absolute must-haves. Although it’s unintentional, designer hauls and the Instagram explore page has a tendency to leave people drawing comparisons between themselves and influencer’s who seem to own the majority of Net-a-Porter. What we all fail to realise sometimes is that some of these bloggers are often offered incentives to advertise certain brands and therefore do not actually pay the full price, or any price at all for that matter, for the clothes and makeup that they present on Instagram. Whilst other bloggers and influencers are getting into incredible amounts of debt just to keep up appearances on social media.
There appear to be two sides to the debate: either purchasing affordable, fast and disposable clothing to keep up with every trend or channeling every ounce of self-control you have, to buy far fewer garments of a significantly higher quality and therefore higher price point.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this? Would you go broke to purchase a luxury item? Or do you consider that totally clueless?
Words by Chloe Hill
The UK's first Career & Lifestyle Magazine for women in the Creative and Media industries.