What is luxury?
Luxury is something that is wanted but not necessary. This could unquestionably explain much of what is in the fashion world, so what separates specific brands?
Luxury by definition is something expensive and hard to come by. I agree that vintage luxury falls into this category, but now luxury brands are available all around the world and purchased by many diverse people.
Luxury brands like Versace and Lavin have created modest price items for fast fashion companies such as H&M ("Versace for H&M," 2011). This brings up the concern, are these companies still luxury if they produce low end merchandise? Or does this mean the image of luxury is changing? Unfortunately, looking at luxury this way does not provide a clear knowledge of what luxury is. The face of luxury has changed as did everything linked to it.
With economic growth in emerging countries and the desire of the middle class to emulate the nuevo rich. Luxury is said to be a factor of social tension. Within these ideals luxury items are being bought by more people and the market is expanding rapidly. Luxury is supposed to be long lasting and durable which is a key element of sustainable living. However, with a growing market the mass production of luxury items has created new problems.
The mass luxury market is making merchandise that can meet the demands of the public but recently quality is replaced by quantity. To deliver high quantities of identical merchandise the companies push towards outsourcing, which generally means unfair sweatshop work. So, the question that arises is why don’t customers know?
There are many reasons for this, the obvious answer being that education can be problematic. Educating the luxury consumer about sustainability could show the ugly face of fashion. Sustainability is a lifestyle designed to reduce over indulgence and, using resources wisely. A complete contradiction to the luxury lifestyle where over abundance and comfort are main priorities.
But then again, with proper education and prominent luxury brands developing sustainable lines the consumer could be drawn to the good intention and willing to pay higher premiums for better products. An informed customer can also become a great marketing tool. These customers are likely to spread their knowledge to friends and become loyal shoppers.
When a customer is able to know the process in which their clothing is made and the elements that come together, they gain a deeper understanding of the product and stronger connection. Along with educating the customer the business will gain credibility for providing valuable informing for the customers benefit.
Sustainable fashion must be embraced. For luxury brands this means an end to fast trends, poor worker conditions and unsustainable materials to develop a new standard of style.