In The Valley of Prada


Once Upon a Time there lived the Global Brand Index survey, which told everyone around the world and their almighty governments, which cities have the most famous brand. It was the Citi-Universe pageant while Saturn, Venus, Mars and Pluto watched from their galaxies. Like the reoccurring Miss Venezuela, this pageant belonged to Sydney, again and again. So they tell us Sydney is the most famous city in the world, but which “brand” is the most famous “brand” in the world? What would the most famous “brand” plus the most famous “city” is like when put together? I know. A battle down under!

On a typical Sydney sunny Saturday I went in to good ol’ Sydney town with a good friend of mine to farewell the city before my friend hopped on a plane to Dubai, not as famous, but probably just as beautiful, like Miss Norway. We parked the car and made our journey to the world’s 7th or thereabouts most expensive street in the world, Pitt St mall. While it sounds flash, Pitt St mall is nothing but an overpriced (pedestrian-only) street housing C-grade department stores. We decided as men with electronic fetishes, we would rather go play at the second largest apple store in the world, with a MAC on George St, the most famous street in Australia. After indulging in the great Apple, not the big Apple, we left for some more shop-til-you-find-something-cheap-in-the-15th-most-expensive-city-in-the-world-drop. We were after clothes, preferably a brand name, as we 21st century hand moisturising men have become obsessed with.

So we headed for Chinatown and came across a closing down sale. The Closing down sale is a man’s best friend. Our fathers taught us that the best bargains are at Closing down sales and moving overseas sales.

I became aggressive at the China town store and began rummaging through the Prada section while my friend stared at himself in the mirror in the valley of Armani suits. Armani is a classic brand, it is the Milan of the Global Brand Index Survey or the colour black, it will always Suit well (no pun intended) but it’s no match for Prada, which is the new-New-York.

Three racks later, I found the perfect sized shirt and grabbed it when suddenly a foreign voice yelled “No.” Who was this strange Italian 40-something yelling? It turns out that Prada does not come quite as easy as Armani. It was the only single piece of clothing that fitted me in a Prada drought and all of a sudden it belonged to someone else and then right before my eyes flashed the heartbreak of my ex-girlfriend ditching me for a less than perfect hobo.

Just like I fought for her in an unsuccessful war, I was not going to give up this final piece of hope in my life without a fight. I held it and refused to give it to the older, tired looking man until he could explain how his beer gut could fit in to a medium size. Just like I expected he began cursing me in his foreign language.

On further inspection he had harboured so much Prada with his wife, there was practically nothing left for anyone. The battle went on until my friend left his Armani friends and battled on with me. We were an army from Sydney battling the foreign troops of an Italian man and his wife for our Prada nuclear. As my face turned red and I became extremely angry and stood in my boxing stance, it dawned on me. Here was a married larger Italian man and a gym obsessed amateur boxing Sydneysider boy standing in a China town store fighting over Prada, this was the ugly side of the 21st century.

I halted the fight, released the Prada and sat in the naughty corner to contemplate. Our forefathers fought for our land and freedoms and here we were, the new millennium men, fighting for our new land, a department store and our new found freedom: the right to wear Prada. Was this what it had come down to? Was Prada the new “freedom?” Were shopping malls the new undisputed “land?”

In light of the China town Prada war, I withdrew my troops and said goodbye to our Armani counterparts, who never hurt any man like Prada did. Suddenly outside, Miss Venezuela did not look so beautiful anymore and I could hear Venus and Saturn’s thundering laughter. Then just like that as I walked so shamefully I pictured my ex-girlfriend and hobo in their GAP attire giggling at the man who lost his land and freedoms in a war that should have never been fought to begin with, kind of like every war in this world.