Designer or Knock-off



For most of my life I have been told that I am very hard on shoes and purses. After only a short time, many of the items that I utilize will have some kind of scuff, mark or tear. This is not intentional, and I would find myself frequently upset because I wanted my belongings to look nice. I would try to be extra careful, taking extra effort to not drag my feet or bump against things, and I would have special places to keep them so they would not get messed up. But imagine my frustration when there would be some kind of damage on them anyway. This was very disturbing to me and I had to reflect on why it was bothering my so badly. I came to realize that growing up part of what I had internalized was the importance of outer appearance and having everything look perfect. Having a lot of possessions meant you could rotate them often and keep them in good condition. But as I have come to know myself better, I realize I am not that kind of person. I don’t care to have numerous purses to change and rotate with various outfits, but instead one durable bag I can carry every day. I don’t prefer a closet full of shoes to switch every day of the week, but a few comfortable and versatile pairs that I can rely on. I then realized that my current preference did not match the quality of items I was purchasing. If I was going to rely on only a few items to be both functional and fashionable, I would have to invest in items that would meet that need. Once I started purchasing high quality items, I have had little to no issues with scuffing, scraping, peeling, or ripping. Since this discovery, I have considered that maybe I wasn’t as “rough” as I thought I was, but maybe the items I was using before weren’t made of the materials that fit my level of usage.


There are many lessons I have been able to learn from this seemingly insignificant part of my life. One of the first is that the appearance of quality and actual quality are, in fact, not the same. I grew up in Detroit, a city where almost every corner store, gas station, beauty supply store, barber shop and beauty salon could afford you the opportunity to purchase “designer” items. And while the exterior of the items may look almost identical to the actual designer items they are intended to replicate, they are not made of the same materials, provide no warranty, and don’t require the same level of investment. So, at a distance the items look good and seem authentic, but they lack the value of the authentic designer and that becomes evident the more they are worn. But because it was cheap and there wasn’t a si