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  • Andi Dela Torre- Griffiths

On the SG-Based Teen who Got Bashed Over a Bag

A few days ago, I saw an article about a TikTok user named Zoe Gabriel, who got hate for calling a Charles & Keith bag a luxury item. The bag was a gift from her father.


So here's what happened: Zoe posted an unboxing video of the bag on the video-sharing platform, then got poked fun at by other users for referring to Charles & Keith as a luxury brand. If you watch the video, you'll see that she was genuinely excited to share the moment. Her expressions were pure, and she was grateful for her present (Zoe didn't seem like one of those teens who would show off expensive goods on social media regularly, this was a special event for her).


That's why upon learning about the mockery, it upset me like it did many people. Like, how could you rain on someone's parade like that? It gave me the impression that those haters are probably the type whose identities revolve around what they own instead of who they are as individuals. Of course, there's nothing wrong if you can afford to buy expensive stuff or have a penchant for the best money can get, but if it consumes you and corrupts your mind into thinking you are better than someone solely because of your material possessions, that's sad. Going back, she quickly gained support and responded to the situation perfectly.


Has the true meaning of luxury been reduced to material possessions? Does wearing something more expensive make someone better? It's concerning how the other teens who commented on her post made it seem like she should be embarrassed for receiving an $80 bag.


There was no need to insult the kid. It was a gift from her dad; that's where the real value was. Zoe understood that it was worth more than what it cost.


Singapore-based Filipina teen got invited to tour the Charles & Keith headquarters in Singapore with her dad | Zoe Gabriel lunch with Keith Wong | Charles & Keith luxury saga
L-R: Zoe with her dad at the Charles & Keith HQ, interview with CNN Philippines
Luxury is relative

While Charles & Keith does not fall into the luxury category in the consumer goods sector (price-wise and compared to Gucci, Hermes, Dior, etc.), it does for Zoe and most of us (and that’s okay). Luxury is relative.


To the restless and overworked, sleep is a luxury.

To a starving community, food is a luxury.

To couples in long-distance relationships, time together is a luxury. To a person fighting for his life, health becomes a luxury.


You get the idea.

Zoe's Well-Deserved Reward

So yeah. The great news is that there was a silver lining to all of this. Zoe (along with her dad) had lunch with one of the co-founders and got to tour the Charles & Keith headquarters. She has also received personalized bags with her initials on them. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I’m glad the brand responded quickly and reached out to Zoe after what happened. It’s a win-win situation. Zoe can take this opportunity to lead a good example with her increased following. Charles & Keith can also do the same and create something purposeful out of what happened.


TIkTok teen Zoe Gabriel receives customized bags from Charles & Keith and visit headquarters
Photos are from Zoe's social media accounts

Zoe is still young and has a life ahead of her. I wish for her to receive more success in life because she deserves it. You can tell from her response and demeanor that her parents raised her well. A sensible young woman like Zoe is the type of role model girls nowadays need.

If you ever read this, Zoe, you’re awesome! You go, girl!! You make us proud and we admire you.


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