What LUXURY means to you?
Something qualitative? Something rare and exclusive ? Something expensive?
These statements were true 50 years ago. But today, the term luxury has shifted.
A luxury item used to be also a SLOW FASHION item. Something that would take time to be created and mainly coming from European-based legacy brands (Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Hermès, Louis Vuitton…to name a few…). The price would then reflect the time spent on the product and the quality of the materials used to craft it.
For the majority of customers, fast fashion became the new (only?) way to consume clothing and accessories. Before, when you wanted a luxury bag, you had to go to the actual store, pass the door, select your product, meet with the sales representatives and wait for your package to be cautiously wrapped. It was truly a unique experience and you felt very special.
Today, to buy that exact same bag, you can be wearing your pajamas and brushing your teeth while passing an order on some random website - the whole thing happening in few seconds.
The easy worldwide access to luxury made this term understated. Because customers are looking for fast and convenient ways to shop. And because social media influencers took the lead in promoting luxury brands.
Before, when you wanted a luxury piece, you knew where to find it. Some brands and stores would carry a curated selection of garments made with high quality materials and by high skilled people.
Today, things are different. Take a basic cotton shirt (not even organic cotton), put a Chanel logo on it and dare selling it for over $300. You would be surprised how many people would rush to buy that piece just because of the famous logo. This is also called luxury. But there is nothing refined or high quality in this product. It is just the logo attraction and the desire to belong to a certain category because we are wearing this branded tee-shirt. Because of the broader exposure to luxury fashion through social media and their influencers, today’s customers want a piece of this luxury by any means.
The French movie “All that glitters” (Tout ce qui brille) explains this very well and I highly recommend it. It is an excellent dramatic comedy about two working class young women trying to penetrate the elitist world of the Parisian upper class.
Again, this has changed. Why some bags cost over $5000 but made in the same workshops, by the same people and with the same leather as bags that cost $500?
One word: advertising
Whenever you buy something, over 70% of the price is for the advertising that made you buy that piece in the first place.
Brands who established themselves over the years have to stay super competitive to maintain their exclusivity. So nothing is too much: TV commercials, models, pictures, ambassadors, partnerships etc…And all of this isn’t cheap.
We like to use the famous Chanel Medium Classic flap bag as an example. In 1955, this iconic piece was sold for $220 (which would be today $1,967.17 instead of the actual $5,600.00! That is definitely a huge difference.
As a true admirer and former employee of prestigious French Fashion Houses, I also can tell you they are no longer the only luxury ones on the market if we consider craftsmanship, exclusivity and quality being the driving factors of LUXURY. The designers I work with at galanteboutique.com have equally amazing crafting skills, work in the same high standards workshops and use the same high quality raw materials. They just invest a very small budget in advertising, packaging and branding. What you buy is pretty much the gross value of the item. I also personally like the fact than my designers have small collections (some designs are only produced in limited quantities). And that is why they are exceptional and will last you forever.