People show off using luxury brand paper bags

  • Confined Shanghai residents have found a way to show off their wealth by using shopping bags.
  • These bags hang on the front doors, containing residents’ Covid tests for health workers to collect.
  • Many use paper bags like Prada and Hermès to decorate their doors.

Shanghai may be under a strict lockdown, but the city’s affluent have always found a way to show off their wealth and status – using paper bags.

In recent weeks, it seems paper shopping bags from luxury brands have become more coveted than designer handbags themselves – and can be seen hanging outside apartment doors across the city.

Residents use the bags for their Covid antigen rapid self-test kits, which are collected daily by health workers as part of efforts to minimize contact, according to Chinese luxury newspaper Jing Daily.

While residents could have used any old plastic bag to do the same, many opted to pull out their paper bags from fashion houses such as Prada, Louis Vuitton and Hermès.

Hundreds of photos of the trend have been circulating on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform, drawing laughter and mockery from other netizens.

“Covid tests are so small and these bags are huge. Are there 20 people living in this apartment?” one person said in response to a photo of a large Chanel paper bag hanging on a door.

Others commented on how the trend is proof that people in Shanghai – a wealthy financial hub of 26 million people – live different lives than the rest of China. “They are in their own materialistic world,” another Weibo user commented.

Since late March, the city has been under a strict, indefinite lockdown amid a surge of COVID-19 cases. Public anger has intensified over the authorities’ handling of the situation, with residents across the city saying they are running out of food and patience.

On Tuesday, the city recorded 2,494 symptomatic Covid cases and 16,407 asymptomatic cases, according to the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission.

Ethel J. Montes