One person’s run-of-the-mill is another person’s opulence. TikTok users who bumped into a viral unboxing video got this nugget of wisdom, after a Filipina became the subject of backlash for calling the fashion brand Charles & Keith “luxury.”
On Sunday, Singapore-based Filipina teen Zoe Gabriel uploaded a video of her on the social media app, where she unwrapped a present from her dad: a black Double Handle Tote Bag, which is priced at P3,299 in the Philippines.
In the 30-second video, the 17-year-old was all smiles as she documented her purchase and sleek new tote, thanking her father in the caption. Initial comments, however, weren’t too kind, with users quick to correct her that Charles & Keith isn’t considered a “luxury” brand.
“Who’s gonna tell her? [laughing emoji]” one comment read.
In response, Zoe posted another video. “My family didn’t have a lot. We couldn’t buy new things as simple as bread… That kind of thing was such a luxury to us when we first moved to Singapore.”
Teary-eyed, she continued: “Your comment spoke volumes on how ignorant you seem because of your wealth. To you, $80 may not be a luxury. For me and my family, it is a lot.”
The response video's comment section was flooded with support, with Charles & Keith being part of those moved. In an email to The Straits Times, the Singapore brand revealed that its founders Charles and Keith Wong invited Zoe and her father for lunch, alongside an exclusive tour of their headquarters.
“Our heart really went out to Zoe, but we were so impressed with (how gracefully) she handled the situation, displaying wisdom far beyond her years and values that resonated with us greatly,” they wrote.
“Our founders believe that our products should spark joy, empower fashion lovers and give them confidence, something we believe she presented so eloquently in her video and for which we are so grateful.”
In an Instagram post, Zoe shared some snaps of her and her dad during their visit to the Charles & Keith headquarters.
“We had the chance to sit down with Keith and get to know their company a little better,” Zoe captioned the photos, which featured her wearing the brand's Lucile satin platform sandals along her tote. “Thank you to everybody who has shown their support!!! [smiley face] Without you, we would never be here.”
Charles & Keith's official account replied: “Thanks for visiting! We were happy to have you and your dad at our HQ office—hope you enjoyed the lunch and had a meaningful experience with us [heart emoji].”
We’re happy for you, Zoe! Check out the exact bag she got below:
Double Handle Tote Bag, P3299, CHARLES & KEITH, charleskeith.com