Monday, May 14, 2012

Quote of the day: fashion

Thursday we had a major storm that took our river from empty to overflowing and that flooded the surrounding areas. I gave a final exam that morning in a room with no electricity and half the floor covered in water. The funny thing to me was seeing my students wearing sweaters and jackets on a day warm enough to have a thunderstorm.

I commented on this last night to a Nigerian fellow I met. He said, "They weren't wearing them because they were cold. It was to prove they own them."

As quotes of the day go, it's not a very funny one. To me it was insightful, a reminder of how you signal high status differs wherever you go. In another final, someone accidentally forgot their Gucchi handbag and someone else left their Macbook. As conspicuous consumption, I'm not sure how high sweaters and jackets rate, but it's just one more signal.