BAGS Whole document is based on my observation of bags at places, time and culture. I have tried to critically analyze and examine that how people wear bags at different places like streets, parks, shopping center, railway station and how their unconsciousness of mind changes the style of carrying it for example people hold their bags tightly in the railway stations its not because somebody is stealing their bag at that moment but in reality people are scared of pick pockets present in the surrounding and moreover announcements which are being done again and again has left a mark on people’s mind.
Now even sometimes you notice there is no announcements going on but still people carry their bags so tightly as if they are going to be robbed, it just because of unconsciousness of mind which is ruling ones body language. I have also observed different types, shapes, sizes and colors of bags, and tried to judge the hidden meanings behind the scene, different perceptions and use values of the bags.
Lets take an example of fashion orientated women which I have observed in the gally lafatte to them a tiny clutch in hand or back pack slung over shoulder, never mind what is inside in it, the thing which matters to them is a bag, which tells their whole life story, her reality and her dream. This type of behavior pattern is may be because handbags are visible on the body and gives the wearer chance to show off and publically declare their status, fashion statement or inspirations like Channel, Hermes silently.
Today when you walk into any luxury brand store any where in the world, you will find yourself surrounded by millions of identical bags who have lost their meaning since they are mass produced as Marx says, “Abstract member of species identical by definition with its other member. ” (Taken from class handout) In simpler words, today buying a luxury brand handbag is an exercise in banality, where you walk into the well appointed store pass the chic suited security guards, see different peruse what is on display, choose one of them, pay bill and walk out with your purchase.
The shopping experience may have been pleasant but in the end it was not a different experience then going to the H&M, ZARA or GAP, except from the price. There is nothing unique about the handbag: the brand has churned out thousands of them, absolutely identical. But this fact cannot be ignored that the handbag, which has been brought temporary satisfies our desire and makes us feel special by this thought that we own something, which is socially recognized and well perceived by the materialistic society who recognizes a person from its possessions owned.
Despite this worldly feeling which excites us that we ignores the fact that bag which we have brought might not be able to fulfill exactly what we desired or excepted to be in our mind before going to the shop. This can be only possible if we place a special order to have something custom made especially for us, according to our wish list. Practically speaking in present world there are hardly few companies who produce like this.
Hermes would be the perfect example to discuss but they are extremely expensive out of the range of ordinary person so what you get in usual cases is a ready -to -carry bag. Hermes bags on display in the store are just display models to show options, you choose the material, order according to your desired size, color and shape. Then you wait for several months until it is made according to your specifications. When it arrives in the shop they invite you to pick it up, it your bag because of its unique style of making it.
When I visited Hermes store I realized most of the designs have been around for century and they still have long waiting list not because they are in fashion but in actual they never go out of the fashion. Hermes bags don’t have logos because bag themselves are sufficiently recognizable. They convey the image of old money, craftsmanship and refinement _ even if those who carry them have neither. They are luxury discreet symbol of wealth and success.
It helps us to understand what luxury once was and what it is no longer. Handbags have become an intoxicating lure, which we don’t realize but it in reality it is killing every single women from inside who cannot afford to buy. Their obsession to have a bag is mounting to such great extend that even don’t bother from where it is coming, only what matters to them is bag and how they can have it regardless of this fact that whether their pocket is giving them permission to purchase it or not.
This time when I went back to the Pakistan I observed some girls who belonged to a very reasonable family but this bags lust badly hooked and disturbed them to such great degree that they started to work as prostitutes just to earn enough to get a Channel, Dior or Hermes bag. I know it sounds bit unrealistic but unfortunately it is bitter reality of this cruel society, who have pissed off those poor girl under the pressure of so-called high society where if you don’t carry a nice expensive bag, then you don’t have a right to socialize because there persons are not one who meet with each other its actually things who are displayed on the show.
This whole drama staged increases the importance of a bag that it why automatically gets surrounded by thick clouds of wealth and privilege or in simpler words its a way to show off yourself to the society that you are doing well, despite this fact behind the picture that how much you have sacrificed to buy a bag. Once I read a very interesting article written by English journalist during London fashion week in 2006, “Everybody-everybody is talking about handbag with the intensity of cardinal appointing a new POP”
From this we can imagine how serious bags are taken regardless about which culture east or west you are talking about. Women obsession with logos has become such a big part of western society that contemporary artists riffed on it, they states these luxury brands often creates great displeasure. Understanding bags phenomena today is not an easy question to answer, it is actually very complicated in a highly complex society where its use values iffer with time-to-time or person-to-person, even if I take my example I might also use my Never full (LV BAG) for various purposes. While going to the university I always use that one because I find it more practical, spacious, strong ideal to put my books and laptop rather then my Armani bag which is new latest above of all its in my favorite color red but still I like to use my Never full more while I am traveling or going to university reason behind might be, that it provides me grater level of comfort and enable me carry my stuff easily.
Where as in night when I am going out with my friends, I might prefer to use Armani bag or may be Never full but this time its meaning, purpose would change as it will be more like a fashion statement and representative of my personality. To me my bag says everything about myself_ my taste, my style, in short it explains my whole life history and at the same time it represents my present thoughts prevailing in my mind, my mood swings etc. From here we can analyze this small thing “bags” have become necessity of our lives, which is actually more like our mirror image reflecting unsaid things about us to the society silently.
Most interesting thing is that people not only understands this ideology but also responds to it. So we can conclude like this from street bags like H&M, ZARA and MANGO to Haute couture collection, handbags have become carriers of the secret, signifier of power, status and beauty for women or we can say it other way around as it is a keeper of the equipment of daily life which have been strongly influenced by technological and societal changes such as the development of money, jewelry, transportation, cosmetic, smoking, cell phones and role of the women in society.
In this wonderful modern world of bags in which huge array of different designs and colors have made ones life more complicated, instead of giving pleasure to own something it has become source of displeasure. Even a richest lady cannot afford to buy all desired designs and colors of bags, because everyone has certain limit to purchase things which does not allow her to have all unlimited designs displayed in a market.
Every women is badly in love with handbags but they feel reluctant to express themselves that’s why they take shelter of different excuses for example once I heard a women saying that I pay high price for Hermes or Louis Vuitton bag, because their high quality makes it timeless, radiates richness, glamour and excellence_ even if it is but it does not mean you are paying hundreds of dollar for these factors ignoring your pending credit card, electricity, phone bills to make up for the alligator skin.
Have we ever thought why we do this even when our pocket doesn’t permit us? Is it really important to prove our financial status or power from bags, do we? Personally for me the answer is no, you buy a bag to satisfy your desires, needs and wants _not to show off or to prove somebody that you have power to purchase a bag. I think real power is gaining government positions; raising healthy kids, leaving an abusive relationship, fight against corruption. That’s real power. Power isn’t that poor, dismembered crocodile you’re lugging around everywhere you go.
If you have Hermes or LV bag that’s good for you nobody has to do something with its that’s all about our mind, who thinks you have succeed in this world trust me no one even bothers and nor you suddenly gain status in life or neither your nose turns from it natural position to more elevated position. Seriously to me having an expensive bag will never help you to gain respectable position in the society it’s your behavior, good deeds and nice gesture towards other which actually succeeds in the world not these bags.
I don’t know how even a reasonable educated women think like that, why they don’t understand this simple fact that how a man made thing can make once personality on the whole, I am not denying this truth that to some extend it contributes to once look but we cannot give full credit to it. If we will then to me its like you are not giving any room to the rest of the factors education, your brought up and moral values which you have been given by your parents. Don’t feel from my argument and observations that I am against of handbags;
I am just opposing wrong behavior pattern, which is being developed by this so-called society in which we live and we don’t realize it, but this problem is growing day by day it has become serious matter of life and death which need to be considered. I know women without her handbag feels as lost as a wanderer in the desert because I am also one of them but it does not mean that we should forget everything just go out in a search of nice Hermes leather bag. After all we have other social responsibilities, which should be cater on first priority.
Basically handbag is the movable base for supplies or a depot of women expected needs. These eventual needs may reach out to a degree far beyond any man’s power of imagination and becomes a mysterious dungeon. The typical handbag of typical women contains a certain number of fundamental things, plus her individual touch, it is that individual touch that fills the bag. Some item is pretty sure to roll out the moment the bag is opened. Every woman’s handbag is lost and found department in itself. It is strange, but things actually disappear there, as by magic.
And then few minutes later, it finally reappears on the surface after three or four investigations. Most funny part is that every man knows about this two-minute drama, which is repeated almost everyday in life, “Heaven, I must have lost my watch, or my keys, that important letter” It usually has a happy ending by saying, “Oh I found that”. Nothing gives a man more self-satisfaction than such an experience, which explains whole myth of the superiority of men is built on the fact that a man never carries a handbag.
Moreover it help to develop man’s relationship with her girl even more stronger when he lifts her bag while she is trying on clothes in try room, going to public toilet and she doesn’t want to carry it, when she is holding his baby or too tried to hold it while shopping. This whole act of holding a bag shows a kind and sweet gesture of a man being developed on these bag phenomena, which played a role of bridge between two people, thus bringing them even closer to each other. In order to have better understanding of what is a bag? , How serious they are taken today?
What is the current status? _ Hunting these answer since last two months finally I ended up with an experiment of my theories about bags and how people perceive it, moreover further analyzing how their behavior changes with the power of bags. I went to galle lafate several times in different clothing styles and bags, I won’t take individual brand name because I feel as I am singling or pointing out any particular one among all which is unfair-there what I observed was the treatment gap is likely to occur in almost all luxury retailers based on consumer possessions owned.
First I went in carrying a really old bag, which I even don’t remember myself when I used that last time along with this, I wore my last year faded jeans which is almost out of the fashion now days but on the top I wore really nice shirt which I recently brought from Zara, what I noticed was complete ignorance from salespersons who were passing me weird looks and they might be thinking in their mind who let me in this luxury store because my physical appearance reflected an image of below then average class girl who even don’t have a right to see these things but in reality that time I was carrying 500 euros in my bag.
Then second time I went in wearing the same jeans with last year top and carrying a regular nice bag which I usually use for everyday grocery or random shopping with 300 euros in it, what I felt this time was quite similar to first one complete ignorance but with little improvement this time there were not passing me those weird looks which were quite embarrassing thank God.
Then next time I went there wearing that same jeans and a really old top on it but this time I was carrying my Never full LV bag _you won’t believe it what happened the moment it stepped in the same brand shop were I went before I heard “hello” from the sales person who was standing right on the front, seriously I was so amazed to see that because she was the same one who passed me such wired looks and now she was greeting me as if I am a princess. In fact whole time she was there to attend me. Trust me suddenly whole world fell under my knees, asking again and again that how I was doing? Or whether I need some help? I was not dressed any more expensively- in fact I was wearing clothes that would hardly cost 25 euros but the empty bag from inside was only one thing that people could see from outside. Seriously if I had been gone naked carrying my LV bag, I don’t think anyone would stop me or ask me to leave. Of course, this was a strictly informal and non-scientific test, and I’m sure that sales persons at stores would have been happy or at least compelled, if not enthusiastic to help me when I was carrying my regular or old bag and they might have attended me if I had approached or asked them to help me.
But from this experiment I got a very clear message that bags are likely to be one of the most important accessory even more important then our clothes which normally persons look upon and judge whether we are worthy of positive attention and interest by others or not? In short bags is a big deal and understanding that how you should dress largely depends on our bags. So we can conclude this whole experiment by saying, “yes bags have an ability to change once perception about you. And In this so called- perfect world where its really difficult to judge once mind because society in which we live isn’t without flaws, so for the time being if you want to survive in this materialistic world its better to settle the situation by having nice branded bag to show others you are doing well, even if in reality you are not but it doesn’t matter because you have shelter of your branded bag under which you can hide your reality.
I know this is silly to hear but unfortunately this is an easiest solution so far I am able to find, if you really want to be treated as respectable person in this brand conscious society, where they look your bag first and then decide whether to talk or not. From the beginning, I knew this was going to be the result but when it happened actually I went into the shock after looking such diversified behavior, which would be even better to say, two opposite ends of one’s personality you can see from this bag phenomena.
I would like to sum up my whole document by summarizing what Marx and Benjamin thinks about bags in today’s world and what I have perceived about bags from my last two months observations. Marx is a sociologist and Benjamin is one of his followers, they both focuses on the things taking place in everyday life and strongly rejects the idea of expanding mass culture which is tied to industrialism. They view act of creating an object (for example a bag) as an exercise where worker embodied his sprit to the object and make it special from his feelings, but introduction of mass culture has divorced mankind from the real object.
So the bags, which are being manufactured now days are to them, soulless and objectified, Moreover Benjamin feels these bags on display in luxurious stores like Luis Viton store are scene of destruction where workers stand as customer in the foreground who is not capable of buying it, in short in his believe people are enthroned to merchandised, where they are being manipulated by the objects which are out of their approach and at the same time they enjoy feeling of alienation from themselves and others because their social need are not meet when they forced to work whole day with machines, resulting in soulless ready to carry bags available in the market who have lost their actual meaning.
I would totally agree with both of them because I also view quite similar to them, now days in actual society has become classless, objectified and materialistic who only look forward to MONEY AND MONEY that all, nothing more then that if you carrying nice expensive bag only then you have a right to breath otherwise not. Seriously I don’t understand why is that so? Why a normal person don’t have right to carry what they like or what suits they budget? Why there is always society pressure on one’s decision making? Why they don’t they analyze person from its skills and ability of doing something instead of looking upon her bags that how many branded bags she own? I know these questions are very frustrating and cannot be answered quickly at once because people behavior pattern vary a lot with time-to-time, person-to-person, culture-to-culture but all it ends at one point “obsession of bags” and its “growing hunger” to have more and more.