I always thought of why people love, myself included, wearing designer glasses or clothing. A couple of years ago, I read this article on Forbes “Ray-Ban, Oakley, Chanel Or Prada Sunglasses? They’re All Made By This Obscure $9B Company” it made me think again about my Bulgari sunglasses and why did I buy them to begin with, if most of the well-known sunglass brands are manufactured by the same company, which means what I am buying is the name and the status it brings with, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I had to dig more how important that is to me.
I started to ask myself, what does wearing a brand name mean to me? Is it that important? And this is where I started to look at brand-less brands, which is a brand that does not have a name, this is when I started to consider quality over a name.
During my search I stumbled upon Muji, the name is derived from the first part of Mujirushi Ryōhin, translated as No Brand Quality Goods, Muji is a Japanese quality brand that does not have a logo, I was surprised to learn that it has been there since 1979, focusing on design minimalism and recycling. They sell, fashion, accessories, furniture, storage cases, cosmetics and bed linens, they don’t sell sunglasses though.
I am not saying I have abandoned the whole notion of buying designer goods, but what I am suggesting is to accommodate to the idea that there is another option as good as the one we grew up knowing that can offer as much pleasure when adding it to our collection of possessions. We have witnessed our parent’s culture which has made consumption a norm, that said, today I find myself starting to shift from this thinking. What we can do is change our priorities when constructing our image we present to the world, through the clothing and accessories we buy.
The issue of liking brands is not something favored only by people who can afford it, I have to admit I did see many working women who grew up not being able to have many stuff and the moment they got the chance to buy them, they didn’t spare a penny, showing how brilliant these brands are in positioning themselves in the hearts of people with their ads. However, according to a study at Brookings Institute, there is also a growing middle class with significant purchase power that has risen and will continue to do so in our developing countries, they will be an attractive customer base for many luxury brands in the near future.
When I read an article on Refinery29 about an American woman who is living in her car I was stunned, guess what? She makes more than 100 thousand dollars a year as an employee in the Tech industry in the U.S, so she basically is not doing it because she has to or can’t afford rent but because she wants to. I know living in your car in Amman can be problematic, but can you entertain yourself with the idea to take away some luxuries in pursuit of meaning, don’t be Gandhi but be simpler and filled with strength coming from your own self not through what you possess.
As a Millennial generation, we will have to confront in the upcoming years some crucial questions about how to tackle global warming and prepare ourselves for the sharing economy that is taking place around us. If we truly want to find solutions to the problems lying ahead of us we must reconsider our behavior as consumers. Global warming is a fact that is affecting us, the internet is spreading even in our most rural areas in the middle-east and the opportunities it will bring are massive, so are the disadvantages for those who will not cope and adapt to it.
High-end brands will have to rethink, which they are already doing, the way they market themselves to reach customers, and this is how we as consumers can forge the principles we believe in through the kind of products we are willing to buy, ensuring they are produced in an eco-friendly environment.
Featured image: Muji