In Hong Kong it seems to be common for people to think very highly of expensive brand-name clothes and fashion accessories (e.g. bags and shoes). This is true of students as well as adults. Write an article for your school magazine. Explain why many Hong Kong people think this way. Say whether you feel that this is a good or bad trend for students to follow. Give reasons for your opinions.

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Brand-name goods: good or bad?

It seems like everybody owns a brand-name bag nowadays, doesn’t it? Hong Kong people think very highly of expensive clothes or accessories by famous designers and shops, even teenagers. Do you think it’s cool to own designer clothes? Do you know why such a trend is prevailing in Hong Kong? If you want to know the answer and my views on whether this is a good trend for students to follow, read on!

The first reason to Hong Kong people thinking highly of brand-name products is the excessive advertising and advertising strategies of famous brands. To promote their products, brands tend to use a lot of commercials, both online and on television, to reach as many people as possible. As we live in the digital era, lots of people, like you and me, spend a lot of time surfing the Internet and checking their social media accounts, so advertising on these platforms is much more far-reaching than one may expect! In these commercials, the backgrounds are always posh, using colors like gold and silver to symbolize wealth or status. The companies would associate their products with recognition or prestige, precisely capturing the mentality of the audience – I mean, who doesn’t want to look good and be admired by the people around them? Through watching a large number of such commercials, we are actively receiving the message that using brand-name products can symbolize wealth and enhance social status, which would attract people to think very highly of designer clothing and accessories.

The second reason is peer influence, and this applies to both adults and adolescents, though the latter would be more affected. For the adolescents, they are particularly prone to peer influence because they are in puberty. When all their friends think highly of the brand-name products, the teenagers would likely think the same as well. Also, they view the products as a means to fit in, which is another desire of teenagers. In this respect, adults are actually no different. Both teenagers and adults want to fit into their school or workplace, or social circles, so using brand-name goods together with their classmates or colleagues can give them a ‘common interest’. Having the same interests is the best way to get along with others because then they will have common things to talk about, paving the way to friendship. As a result of peer influence, many people think highly of brand-name products.

However, from my point of view, this is by no means a good trend to follow.

First, thinking too highly of brand-name products could fundamentally alter the values students have towards the world, which would bear disastrous consequences. As mentioned above, teenagers think brand-name goods are very important because they believe they can avoid being marginalized by the people around them. Teenagers will no doubt start projecting this mindset in their everyday lives, and because the goods supposedly indicate wealth and status as well, they will think the goods are all-powerful in helping them gain recognition. As a result, they might do whatever necessary to get the brand-name products due to their overbearing desire, and may even resort to illegal or immoral ways to do so, including selling drugs and engaging in compensated dating. These actions have serious ramifications on the teenagers because if they are caught, their criminal record could hinder future prospects. Also, because many students think the products are so important, they might look down upon those who do not own luxurious things. This attitude is very undesirable because it undermines the harmony and relationship between people. Therefore, this trend is bad.

Second, thinking highly of luxurious goods could cause teenagers to start living beyond their means and this would destroy their financial management, an essential life skill. There are many examples of 18-year-old university students debt-ridden because they overuse credit cards to buy expensive brand-name products. Financial management is a very important life skill because everything in the world involves money. Only through good management skills can teenagers maintain their quality of life in the future. If they constantly have to worry about where their money would come from, they will be very stressed and their mental health could deteriorate.

While brand-name goods can serve as a good encouragement sometimes, they should not be the focus of our lives. Let’s cherish what we have and work hard if we want to achieve more!