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Teen mocked for calling Charles & Keith a luxury brand tours company's headquarters, meets founder

Zoe Gabriel's response to the people mocking her for calling her black Charles & Keith Double Handle Tote a "luxury" bag gained her an invite to meet the founders of the Singapore company. 

Teen mocked for calling Charles & Keith a luxury brand tours company's headquarters, meets founder

Teen Zoe Gabriel's TikTok about her new Charles & Keith handbag went viral after she called it a luxury brand. (Photos: TikTok/zohtaco; Instagram/zoeaaleah)

Teenager Zoe Gabriel in Singapore wanted to share her excitement at getting a new handbag as a gift from her father with a TikTok video on Sunday (Jan 8). Instead, she got mocked by some TikTok users for calling her black Charles & Keith Double Handle Tote Bag, priced at S$79.90, her “first luxury bag”.

But the way the 17-year-old Zoe, aka "Zohtaco" on TikTok, reacted to the mocking with grace earned her praise from many people – and an invite to meet the founders of the Singapore fashion chain known for shoes and bags. Her dad was invited as well.

On Thursday (Jan 12), Zoe posted a photo on Instagram of herself and her dad standing in front of the Charles & Keith headquarters, beaming about the amazing opportunity to visit and “learn more about the behind-the-scenes”.

She added in the caption: “It was so fun, everybody was so nice and accommodating. We had the chance to sit down with Keith and get to know the company a little better. Thank you to everybody who has shown their support!!!!” Keith Wong and his brother, Charles, founded the brand in 1996.

She also mentioned in her post that she was wearing the Charles & Keith Lucile Satin Platform Sandals in the photo and it was “with special thanks to Miss Lyn Ng”.  

The company responded to her post by thanking her for visiting. “We were happy to have you and your dad at our HQ office – hope you enjoyed the lunch and had a meaningful experience with us.”

Days before this happy outcome, Zoe had posted a video of herself unwrapping a Charles and Keith tote bag with the caption "my first luxury bag ;))", along with the words "thank u dad".

The post invited a number of buzzkill comments such as "Who's gonna tell her", along with a laugh emoji, and "calling c&k a luxury brand is just too much".

The apparent meanness of those comments sparked a wave of counter-comments, with people showing support for Zoe such as "I love the bag! It’s timeless. Enjoy it girl" and "Congrats dear!! happy for u".

The video has since chalked up well over 6.6 million views, more than half a million likes and close to 18,000 comments.

In Zoe's response video to the "who's gonna tell her" comment, she shared that she didn't have a lot while growing up.

"My family didn't have a lot. We couldn't buy new things as simple as bread from Bread Talk ... That kind of thing was such a luxury to us.

"When we first moved to Singapore, every time we passed by a store, my parents would just say next time. But next time we'd never come.

"Your comment spoke volumes on how ignorant you seem because of your wealth. To you an S$80 bag may not be a luxury. For me and my family it is a lot. And I'm so grateful that my dad was able to get me one. He worked so hard for that," she said, choking up.

"I can't believe I got hate over a bag that I was so excited to have," she added.

She told the Straits Times in an email that she and family moved to Singapore from the Philippines in 2010. 

The response video has gone viral as well, with close to 2 million views as of Jan 12.

Source: CNA/sr