Bank-breaking price tags on the clothing and accessories donned by Vietnam’s adolescent elite have brought the country’s rich kids to the forefront of a social media debate over how the wealthy spend their dough.
The online community was quick to memeify video interviews of teenagers disclosing how much they spent on their outfits at Sneaker Fest – Impact Con 2018, a showcase of the hottest sneaker and street fashion trends in Ho Chi Minh City.
In the interviews, teens sporting high-end T-shirts, pants, bags, purses, and shoes from BAPE, Gucci, Balenciaga, and Givenchy were not shy about how much they spent on each item, with one girl admitting that her outfit came with a VND100 million price tag (US$4,400).
Another teen proudly boasted that his face mask, normally a VND10,000 purchase, cost a whopping VND1.4 million ($61).
Some teens at the event, however, were not willing to break the bank just to look good.
None were more so than the boy in the ‘zero-dollar’ outfit.
“My T-shirt is borrowed, my pants are borrowed, and my shoes are borrowed,” he shared.
|This girl wears VND88 million ($3,800) worth of clothes.|
‘Rich kids’ and ‘spendthrifts’
The video was quick to become a hot topic amongst Vietnam’s online community, racking up 188,000 views and shares just 17 hours after being posted on Facebook by Sneakers Vietnam (SNKRVN). Of course, most of the criticism was directed at “the rich kids.”
Comments ranged from attacking the clothes worn by the teens, saying they looked the same as those bought in local daily markets, to direct attacks on the children’s families for letting their kids run wild with a credit card at such a tender age.
Other commentors suggested that the money would have been better spent on helping those in need.
|Comments attacked the teens and suggested that the money should have been better spent.|
Still, many jumped in to defend the opulence.
"Their parents are rich, so they buy expensive stuff. Your parents are not rich so you spend with a budget. You’re both the same – you all have to depend on your parents. Why condemn them?" Trinh Quynh commented.
Commentor Ho Phuoc Hiep also jumped in to add her two cents, reasoning that "60 percent of teenagers can earn a lot of money online, so they choose to reward themselves with things they like, the same way adults buy cars and houses.”
|This girl wears a VND10 million ($430) hoodie.|
SNKRVN founder Tan Truong told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the video was originally meant to highlight the hottest brands popular with local youth and that “SNKRVN did not anticipate such [negative] reactions from the online community, considering that the sneakerhead community is quite small,” Truong said.
Truong expressed his respect for the teenagers to choose where to spend their money, adding that “no one has the right to judge.”
“Don’t just judge them negatively because of their valuable items. Their outfits are contributing to creating a fashion culture for young Vietnamese,” said Truong.
|This boy removes his VND1.4 million ($60) face mask to answer the interviewer.|
‘Poor kids’ version
Of course, the negativity Truong was referring to was quick to spread across the Internet in the form of memes and parodies.
Pictures and videos of Vietnamese youth sharing the frugal price tags on their outfits went viral shortly after the original footage first appeared.
Now, those wealthy kids are more of a joke than a target.
“A free ‘skin’ shirt badly smelling with no bath. Shorts bought at a daily market for VND20,000 [$0.88]. Slip-ons borrowed from my younger brother who wants me to return them,” reads one witty Facebook post.
“Shirt cost VND45,000 [$2], on-sale joggers cost VND30,000 [$1.3], shoes cost VND50,000 [$2.2] and belt cost VND99,000 [$4.4],” another post reads.
|A screen capture of a “poor kids of Vietnam” meme on Facebook|