Luxury Fashion is about refinement and esteem. Of course, it’s pretty but there’s more to it. It carries a whole world while being just a small portion of a bigger story. It is a peacetime industry. These goods have the simple purpose of making people happy. While some may question its usefulness, other people see it as a force of discovery and elevation. Positive Luxury drives society.
Let’s make sure we are all clear on one point first:
A luxury based on greed, and material desire is not luxury.
Before we discuss its value, let’s address the idea that Luxury is a wasteful, impractical expense. In some circles, it gets the bad rep of being synonymous with excess. It’s not. Luxury’s negative consequence is when it becomes so much of a driving force in some people’s lives that designer goods become a necessity for them to live happily. You know — those who’d sacrifice a limb before parting with a designer bag. It should never go this far, and its intention has never been to be an all-consuming force. This kind of greed and overabundance takes away from what Luxury should represent in society: personal pleasure and societal peace.
Here we will discuss the value of luxury fashion beyond its attractiveness to the consumer. With fast-fashion being so convenient and trendy, how does Luxury stand a chance at survival?
Mass-produced goods lack the depth of Luxury and its ability to represent the past and present.
Culture anchors luxury. Purchasing from a luxury brand is a connection to its story. Fast fashion can never recreate a Luxury brand’s identity. When consumers think of Louis Vuitton, it is associated with France just as Versace is to Italy, and BMW is to Germany. You simply can’t have one without the other. Luxury purchases are more than the end product because they are attached to history. They have an established reputation for the process that inspires loyalty in their customers.
Luxury products are a reflection of quality while dually being a great expression of various cultures. When consumers experience items like China silk or Egyptian cotton, they discover something new and precious from a different place. In a way, they are transported. Purchasing these high fashion items reinforces the feeling of being unique because we know how rare these raw materials are and the level of skill required to create such fine products. It builds heritage and goes beyond the intent of just selling what is relevant in modern society. Shopping Luxury fashion suggests cultivation and substance.
It’s all in the details
Luxury fashion is something that takes time. Let’s just say the Sistine Chapel wasn’t painted in a day — more like four years, talk about patience. Because quality is always more important than quantity, fashion takes the same time as architecture and other art forms. Luxury opposes mass-produced items that are expected to wear out. Instead, these items are well-made and crafted to increase in value with time.
Take a mental inventory of your closet. Which garments are most important to you? There’s a reason you don’t care as much when a Macys’s top gets ruined versus your Chanel. There’s a massive difference in the value lost and, more importantly, the value gained in the initial purchase.
Today luxury brands go out of their way to demonstrate their craft and highlight the process from start to finish. It serves as a reflection of the time and patience put into delivering fine goods to their customers. Highlighting this skill level makes Luxury more than just a pair of shoes or a nice dress. It becomes an exceptional and memorable piece of the brand that makes designers dependable in their customers’ eyes.
“…every luxury product should bear a person’s imprint.” — J.N Kapferer and V. Bastien, The Luxury Strategy
3. Timelessness Tops Trends
Trends fade, but fashion is forever
We’ve established that luxury objects increase in value with time. They have a unique ability to transverse periods in fashion and stay relevant to consumers. Think of diamonds or, more specific to our topic, the classic “little black dress.” I’d bet my right arm we will never see the day when diamonds are “out of fashion,” or a black dress becomes “a thing of the past.” Remember, the name of the game is elevation. Luxury designers depict the endless possibilities of fashion and keep raising the bar. It’s truly remarkable that classic styles, saddled with so much history, which only gets richer through the ages, always resonate with the modern consumer.
The little black dress is a tried and loyal soldier of fashion and a testament to designers’ creativity throughout time. There was Audrey Hepburn in a little black Givenchy for Breakfast at Tiffany’s; Princess Diane’s “Revenge Dress” designed by Stambolian; Beyonce in another Givenchy black dress appearing at the 2014 Met Gala; and Michelle Obama in Michael Kors Collection for her first official portrait as First Lady. Trust me, people — the list goes on.
And, to think there’s all this hoopla over a little black dress that made its mark back in the Victorian era. That’s over 100 years ago and we are still rocking it to this day. Like I said — trends are one thing, but fashion is forever.
4. Show of Humanity
The Value you never saw coming
Who in their right mind would look at the snobbery that characterizes luxury shoppers and see any sign of humanity?
I get it. Allow me to clarify.
Luxury used to be restricted to those of high status. Let’s take it back to Egypt. The Pharaoh, his wife, the High Priest, and a select few were important enough to have such access to fine fabrics a well as other luxury goods. This was for obvious economic reasons. It also shows how luxury has always been a part of society.
What’s a huge driving factor of luxury today? Democratization.
In our modern world, the increase in the dispersion of luxury is clear.
“YOU GET A CAR! YOU GET A CAR! EVVVEEERYONE GETS A CAAAARRR!” Right?
Luxury fashion is no longer a world away. We’ve managed to preserve the good name, increase our access, and share in the pleasure of finer things.
What does this have to do with humanity?
Luxury garments are hand-made. They carry with them the work of skilled laborers that spend hours perfecting every piece. This is a very different process from the work of robot manufactured goods. While it could be assumed that making luxury more accessible to the masses would tarnish the name, the effect has been the opposite. Democratizing luxury has introduced a wider audience to the idiosyncrasies of the industry.
Think of the flagship stores of luxury brands today. They are beautiful and luxurious. Such great splendor is within arms reach. E-commerce made it even easier. Don’t get me started on social media. This more or less free access demonstrates how the rules have changed. People are not just after social status with luxury products. They look for culture and evidence of a story behind the garment. The “who”, “why,” and “where” are very important details. The snobs aren’t going anywhere, unfortunately. However, the true representation of luxury lies with the clients who aren’t just chasing an emblem. They respect the craft and they care about what the brand represents.
Because Luxury is an experience. Just as it is derived from hard-working hands, it is used to celebrate hard work as well. Luxury is a devotion of time on both ends that should be both respected and encouraging.
When you look good, you feel good
To bring this full circle, remember that luxury’s purpose is pleasure. When used positively, it is designed to celebrate and indulge. Never for envy or necessity.
Take a moment and consider the luxury experiences you’ve had. Whether it was sun-bathing on a yacht, the gift of a diamond ring, a shopping spree at LV, or the new car you just bought. How do these things make you feel?
I already know the answer. Luxury items are always the cherry on top used to celebrate and show appreciation in good times, both individually and on a societal scale.
There is a promise that comes with luxury goods. A standard that is top-notch. While one may say this sounds shallow, who doesn’t appreciate quality service? Spending your hard-earned money earns you more than just what you leave the store with. It is the character of luxury to hold more care and attention to detail than other brands. It makes the end consumer feel appreciated for their purchase.
The feeling that positive luxury brings lasts past the initial purchase. It’s a confidence boost with respect for oneself, not a tool to show off. There’s a difference.
Now You Know
Luxury is a social statement and simple pleasure. Like anything else, it is much easier to reflect on the negative. However, its development through the ages is proof of its strength, culture, and influence in our society. When done correctly, luxury fashion speaks volumes and enriches our history. It’s much more than being pretty.