Thursday, May 26, 2011

Brazil: third impressions

After a while of being back you start to realize that things you did not like before you left are still the same... Like status: what people do for status here is impressive. First of all people dress up. All the time. No baggy sweatpants and flipflops on the street. No t-shirts (except for guys, but paired up nicely) and an amazing amount of heels of all sizes, and the thinner the better... As a friend once said in commenting about women's shoes in different countries: "the worst the sidewalk the higher and thinner the heels women use".

And together with status come brands. Everyone seems concerned about brand clothing, shoes, purses, makeup, anything you can imagine. They are not local brands either: CK, DG, Gucci, etc which are flaunted around and make their way into conversations in which I have very little to contribute. Due to import taxes these things are even more expensive than abroad, so you can only imagine what these prices are. Even brands that are not that highly ranked abroad (think GAP, Levi's, Lee) are also high fashion brands here with prices MUCH higher than in the USA (for example you can easily pay USD150 for a pair of Levi jeans here). Considering that the income per capita in Brazil is around 10k per year (adjusted for purchasing power) you can see that people here spend a lot more on looks than in many other places.

A side effect of the search for status and the craze about brands is the belief that anything that is imported is better. While much of the developed world is going about trying to promote local in Brazil we are still looking for something made elsewhere. Even department stores have special tags saying "imported" in glittering capital letters. Why is it that we think so lowly of ourselves? Why can't we promote local and reap benefits from such? Why are we so concerned about our external image? Good questions...


  1. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the one you have up for this post begets only one: Ouch!

    Since when did heels = nails become part of the fashion equation?

  2. Hi DsylexicHippo,
    I'm not sure when but I'm sure why: they became a part of fashion through some sadistic male designer...

  3. i think this applies to all latin america, im mexican and it works the same way..

  4. Do you really believe all these brand clothes are original ones? I'm sure they can easily fake them over there.