India becomes brand aware 

India's middle class is humming with "brand freaks" obsessed with luxury labels like Prada and Louis Vuitton, according to a February Washington Post dispatch, even though more than half the country lives in "abject poverty" (and even though Gandhi got along fine with just a loincloth!). Said one super-consumer, "I'll spend my whole salary for a really swank brand and eat (steamed rice cakes) for the rest of the month."

According to the newly launched India edition of Vogue, the country's "Me Culture" has taken over, where, on an Ahmadabad road underneath towering billboards for Tag Heuer and Mont Blanc pens, barefoot kids with begging bowls tap on car windows. Though animal rights activists estimate that the country has more uncared-for dogs on the streets than any other in the world, Gucci dog bowls are for sale in New Delhi.

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