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The bathing suit

While I was reflecting on my “comeback” topic, I received an email/newsletter that I would normally tick straight to the bin, but my curiosity about this ”big” announcement of the famous swimsuit brand, caught my attention and changed my train of thought. Since its summer, a look wouldn’t hurt, I thought… And there it was: a glorious introduction of a unique offer, a “limited edition” design (key word for intriguing) only for the Greek public! And just below, the price tag for that very exclusive bathing suit (for men). My eyes rolled in misbelief and that’s when I decided to write about the limitless ruthlessness stupidity of our ever consuming world!

I won’t disclose the brand nor its price; stupidity does not deserve free publicity. To tell you the truth, it was not the price that upset me the most, since it is often the case that expensive brands provide first class material and its better to spend some extra money as an investment in something that you will keep longer contrary to a cheaper version of it. It was the limited edition labelling, addressed exclusively to the Greek market (in deep economical crisis since 2009, remember?) that got my head spinning thinking of the vanity and the careless manipulation of our consuming society. How can a brand promote such a ridiculously expensive bathing suit in Greece while people are faced with challenges over basic needs? How many people would be able to buy it? For a moment, I contemplated on whether the company’s marketing section considers all Greek onsumers idiots or if they just target on purpose that specific category of idiots: the ones with money. I can’t stress enough how provoking this is to me: you have the nerve to promote a product to a market that literally bleeds and only a handful of people would be able to buy it. Now, you are
going to tell me about free market, free competition, that nothing is forced upon you and you still have the choice etc. My problem is the lack of respect and common sense that this advertisement shows towards the Greek people that have endured painful sacrifices the last 7 years. It’s this empty mentality of consuming where branding, and packaging target ruthlessly our wallets. They could have made available this limited design to other countries in order to support Greece. That would have been an applaudable and noble gesture in recognition of the Greek culture depicted on the swim trunks.

Before you judge me as a hypocrite, admirer of the far left spectrum of politics, let me spare you: I have lots of brands in my closet from the cheapest to the most exclusive, I like shopping (often followed by guilts) but I have never succumbed to over the top, over the hills consuming urges just for the sake of shopping. In a world where “I consume therefore I am”, to paraphrase Voltaire, seems to be the norm, I choose to maintain my sanity. Coming this from me, a material girl inrepentance, proves that there is still hope. I do admit being a “byproduct” of this consuming world
that dictates us to consume without thinking , creating all these needs and wants that none of us would have had in the first place! I am ashamed to admit being raised in a society where what you wear defines you, where what counts is the “outside” rather the “inside”, where people are easy fashion victims, doomed to look uniform as another 10000000 around the globe. It’s sad and pathetic that you will make everything to wear that brand, to be on that island, to drive that car, even if you can’t afford it. Often times, I have crossed paths with people that would fall for this type of clueless consuming: no matter what, they would go for the label, feeling exclusive themselves, finding their “happiness” in the material. A limited edition jacket, a limited edition telephone or a limited edition bathing suit up to becoming limited in general!

From a sociological point of view, our western culture has its shortcomings, failing us miserably on this account. The fast-pasted lifestyle and the “shop-until-you-drop” mentality, add up to our everyday stress and anxiety. And then, there will always be a brand to sell you a bag, a shower gel, a t-shirt or even a bathing suit that will make you feel unique, that will provide you with an instant hype only to discover the emptiness of materialism and its artificial urge to consume more. No time for thinking, no clarity, just a show-off in a consumer’s fast life. There is a market for everything but honestly, do we need everything? Some have decided to put our happiness and our well-being in a
bottle, in a box, you name it, as long as it has a price on it. Greece, with its collapsed economy, is no exception. However, thinking of a famous lady’s quote: “The BEST things in life are FREE, the SECOND best are very EXPENSIVE”, I’m still optimistic that we will go for the best and not for the ruthless stupidity of the second. (That was Coco Chanel by the way…)

Chryssa Panou

Born in the city, raised in the countryside: vibrant urban rythms mixted with nature's colours run in my blood. A citizen of the world, a devoted European and a proud Greek, this multicultural aspect of life fascinates me and broadens my horizons. A city encouranges me to respect our differences but empowers me to believe in equality for all. My personal "journey to Ithaka" is finding my place in the universe and its place in me. My motto: "Life is Love and Love is You".