The world of luxury brands and goods is a very big world, in terms of numbers and market value, as well as in terms of cultural relevance: luxury goods set trends, they have an extremely high importance for many consumers and they drive innovation and progress.
Despite this, the luxury world is quite small. Only about 200 people worldwide buy haute couture clothes and the numbers are also not very high when it comes to other types of luxury items: cars, houses, decorations, food and experiences.
This might sound strange to the some consumers, especially to those who love to browse the web and discover new and exciting products. And there’s a good reason why it sounds odd. The term “luxury” is used so much that for many people it has come to mean something else. In the eyes of many, “luxury” is just a good item.
This vision is not one that is pushed by the consumers, but by various brands and people who are trying to get on the luxury train in order to differentiate themselves. If you take a close look on websites that work with startups looking for crowdfunding platforms, you will notice that almost every other clothing or accessories project is branded as “luxury”. Luxury watches, luxury shoes, luxury socks, luxury suits and even luxury bed sheets.
In the end, it seems that almost everything these days is a luxury. We all know that there are different levels of luxury, which makes the phenomenon seem plausible, but that is not the case.
The defining characteristics of luxury are of course the fact that that luxury products feature a very high quality standard, but the main trait of a luxury item is its inaccessibility. In other words, if a company has a limited edition watch, which they brand as “limited edition luxury” and sell it on a crowdfunding platform, it is not a luxury just because you decided it to be. What makes the difference when it comes to luxury items is the offer and demand ratio. If you only make 100 watches of a model and have 90 customers, then the watch in discussion is not a luxury. If your demand goes up and you are willing to make watches to match up the demand, then you can hardly claim the status of “luxury brand”. If you only make 50 watches of a model, but 100 000 people want them, then, yes, you can say you have a luxury product on your hands.
Just as basic supplies are luxuries in harsh times, luxury items are the things you can’t easily have in everyday life. Quality is an extremely important factor, but it is not the only factor that drives the luxury market, it is not even the most important factor.
Luxury goods are those that come in a short supply, but for which there is a strong demand. While you might make series of 50 watches and have 60 people be interested in them, if the interest pales after a year, you, once again, can’t claim to be dealing with luxury.
Many people today want original, vintage bags, cars and even clothes. As time goes by, they become more and more scarce and so, if the demand is high, their price goes up. The same happens with contemporary luxuries. If a brand makes an item that many people want, but can’t have and if there is going to be continuous battle for the respective item in auctions and other similar contexts, then we can say we are dealing with luxury goods.
Fraquoh and Franchomme
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