Wednesday, November 29, 2006

will sell coke for fashion

I feel that my job on a daily basis is to both entertain and to enlighten the mind. Occasionally I actually achieve this. The following article from my hometown L.A. Times about people in the Congo who spend excessive amounts on lavish clothing while living amidst incredible poverty:
In a country where many survive on 30 cents a day, Papy Mosengo is flashing $1,000 worth of designer clothing on his back, from the Dolce & Gabbana cap and Versace stretch shirt to his spotless white Gucci loafers. "It makes me feel so good to dress this way," the 30-year-old said when asked about such conspicuous consumption in a city beset by unemployment, crime and homelessness. "It makes me feel special."

But Mosengo can scarcely afford this passion for fashion. He worked eight months at his part-time job at a money-exchange shop to earn enough for the single outfit, one of 30 he owns, so he'll never have to wear the same one twice in a month....

..."When I dress this way, and sit here with a beer, no one can touch me," said Patou Coucha, 29, in a tomato-red Paul Smith suit with thigh-length coat. It took him a month of selling cocaine to raise $1,500 for the outfit, which was bought secondhand by a friend in Europe. "I don't hear anybody else. I do what I want."

Japanese designers are the hottest right now, they said. Yamamoto and Miyake. They pooh-poohed American rappers and hip-hop stars for copying their style.

"They don't really know how to dress," said Dede Forme, 27, wearing red Dolce & Gabbana pants and a matching sailor shirt. "We're the one setting the tone." (L.A. Times, 11/28/06)
It's pretty incredible if you think about it and makes you wonder how people can live that far beyond their means.... or maybe it's not so strange. Whether it's living where you can't afford in Manhattan or driving what you shouldn't be driving in LA the underlying principles are not that foreign.


shahnaz said...

Also this consumption is happening in an apparently credit-free culture. I had always imgained that conspicuous consumption went hand-in-hand with credit cards and instalment payments.

Shakes said...

oh my. perish the thought!