Sun, 18 Jun 2000

Name value counts for some in buying shoes

By Bruce Emond

JAKARTA (JP): Say you have a few million rupiah to spare, and you want to do something nice for number one.

Forget about stashing the moolah away for a rainy day or putting it toward the kids' college education. For some of us, a little self-indulgence does not run to a vacation or slap-up dinner, or even a big box of bon-bons in the evening after a hard day crunching figures.

Some affluent Indonesians head over to the best shoe stores in town to make a purchase or two.

Devotees of the best brands of footwear claim shoes really do make the man or woman.

"They feel better to wear and they last longer," said housewife Anita at the launch of Louis Vuitton's new line of shoes at Plaza Senayan, Central Jakarta.

Anita said shoes were part of the entire package of looking good.

"For me, it is the way you dress, from the top down. If the shoes look odd, then the whole look is ruined. People will notice that the shoes are wrong."

Hotel employee Santi also praised brand-name quality.

"Good shoes always last longer and they stay in fashion. For instance, a design may seem to be for a younger person, like these ones, but it depends on how the person feels."

Businessman Mangunsong and his wife said the right pair of shoes should speak volumes to others in their name value.

"The quality is better and you feel more satisfied with them, it's a special satisfaction about their prestige," he said. "I like French products and I have a lot of shoes from Italy. I believe the more expensive, the better."

He added that only the best was suitable for his wife "because she's beautiful. She deserves to wear beautiful clothes".

For advertising agency managing director Zoey Rasjid, top brand-name shoes are a good investment.

"They are more durable and I trust the name because they have been around for a long time," he said as he purchased a new pair to add to several he bought in the United States.

"The way I look at it is that it's worth the money to buy this pair, which will last me a long time, instead of paying the same amount for a few which wear out quickly."

Paying from Rp 2.9 million (US$341) to Rp 4.9 million ($576) for a pair of shoes -- the price range for the Louis Vuitton line -- may seem obscene to some in the middle of the crisis.

Fashion designer Ramli said it was a "relative" choice of picking out the right shoes to go with an outfit.

"If you have the money, then why not?" he said. "If it lifts your confidence and improves your appearance, then I think it's a good thing."

He said consumers did not have to be slaves to brand names.

"It's all about how you use the budget you have to put together a look. If everything comes together right -- if everything matches -- then no one will know that the products are not brand names."

He warned that the mix n' match style of brand-name dressing can be the recipe for a walking fashion disaster.

"If you have a lot of money but cannot fix a look, it's not worth anything. It's better if you can match all the clothes in something that looks good."