Why do students buy what they buy?

INTRIGUED by what their classmates were buying and wearing to class, Trinity College Foundation Studies students Meita Putri, Daniel Pu and Nina Cheng asked their peers what they were buying and why. 

shopping luxury goods

Students come from all around the world to study in Australia, and as a result of that, the classroom has become, not just a place of learning, but a space for different cultures to come together – including fashion.

While styles may differ among students, we were interested to find out where students were doing their shopping, if they were buying the same brands, how much they cared about brands, how much they were willing to spend and why.

The city provides many occasions for students to browse and shop, with popular destinations including Melbourne Central and Emporium. Students are also willing to travel further out to shop at malls like Chadstone.

In addition, students are also shopping online.

Brands that have made it to the most popular list include H&M, Nike, Adidas, TopShop and Universal Store. Students say the reason they like them is because they see these brands as being relatively affordable and within reach.

For others, comfort rules over price.

And for a select few, luxury brands including Chanel, MCM, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy have been the way to go – especially when it comes to bags.

While the prices are steep, students who own and buy them see these luxury items as not only being well-known high-end fashion labels, but of better quality. Most importantly, students say carrying them makes them feel good about themselves.

Some of these perceptions are shaped by the celebrities toting them. A student from China who had bought a MCM bag prior to Melbourne said her decision was influenced by her idol. “I definitely will buy that item if my idol wears it,” she said.

As it turns out, students’ shopping habits and spending differ. How they value brands and the amount they are willing to spend on them, depend on each student’s individual preferences.

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via

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Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

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