How do young Brazilians show off in a country riddled with poverty, where Brazil’s richest 10% earn in one month what the poorest 10% make in more than three years?
You’re going to need designer clothes, sunglasses and sneakers to show you’re not just a favela kid, that you’re ambitious and going places.
Buying designer clothes and jewellery – rather than saving your money or moving into your own place (many Brazilians live at home until they marry) – is the most economically-astute way of showing off your wealth in a country like Brazil, because more people will see your clothes than the inside of your house.
Spending money on ostentatious clothes rather than more subtle indicators of wealth like learning another language or saving up for rent helps to coin in that delicious “status” currency that Brazilians need to get by.
So here’s what you need to be wearing if you want to fit in with the Brazilian kids.
1) Hollister, Quiksilver or Abercrombie shirts. They must have ludicrously large lettering spelling out designer names, and the badge has to be a few times larger than normal.
2) Mirrored sunglasses in either blue, red or rainbow.
3) Neon, candy-coloured Nike or Adidas trainers. Keep them clean.
4) Multi-coloured braces. All Brazilians want perfectly-straight teeth, and if you’re going to wear them you may as well rock it.
5) A cool baseball cap, the peak straight, hanging half off your head.
And you’re ready to hit the streets. Or the night-club. Or church.
The celebration of designer clothes, cars and alcohol aimed at the poorest members of Brazilian society all links to music like Funk Ostentação (Ostentatious Music) in Brazil, where ostentation is applauded and encouraged, even when the money you’re throwing around is fake.