Approaching a new world where luxury goods are deemed non-essential, how do brands pivot in to rejoining this new lifestyle? Here’s where luxury fashion stands in 2022.
When we think of the highest echelon of luxury fashion we think of couture where each made-to-measure piece is worth a minimum of $100,000. On the next level we see luxury ready- to-wear pieces where exotic leather bags get the ticket of most expensive items. But as the pandemic arrived worldwide, luxury purchases plummeted down to red alert proportions. Shifting to just the essentials, consumers traded their luxury purchases for hygiene products and tech items that help purify their homes. Luxury bags were traded for durable work-from- home furniture and comfortable sweats for movement.
BACK TO SQUARE ONE
In 2021 the world is slowly opening and new consumer trends have risen allowing the fashion world a bigger perspective to the forever changed psyche of the shopper. One of these trends is the rise of second hand luxury stores like Vestaire and RealReal where value for money is much more important than having the latest ‘It’ bag especially now that luxury brands have not stopped their price increases during the pandemic. Aside from bags and shoes, a lot of fashionphiles focused on vintage jewelry as well as vintage couture from stores such as Shrimpton Couture and Pechuga Vintage. An uptick, especially for new brides and their guests, was seen as it was a more practical approach to a one-time event.
And who is dictating this new luxury movement? According to Luxury Daily, today’s millionaires who are liquid enough to spend are mainly concentrated in the 18-44 age bracket. This means a more conscious effort into looking at the value of products and a new kind of ‘cool’ for both generations that brands need to keep up with. For the Millennial it is the simple luxuries that attract them. Craftsmanship and understated pieces come as top standards. For the Gen Z or TikTok generation its all about taking styles from past generations and recreating them into larger than life pieces. Big brands saw this opportunity and dove head first into the trend. Two of these brands are Gucci and Balenciaga, top 1 and top 12 of the most popular luxury brands list this 2021.
Together they released a collection that combines the street cred of both brands through logo mania the iconic shapes of each brand. Following their footsteps is Kim Jones’ Fendi and Versace whose use of pop stars Dua Lipa and Addison Rae tried to make #Fendace happen. Older critics were quick to judge to the viability of these collaborations as ‘uncool’ or ‘too much’ but these brands, as stated earlier, are trying to break into the scene for a new generation of consumers.
INTO THE METAVERSE
As many countries are still on lockdown and travel also upgrading itself to a higher luxury.–many consumers express themselves on in-game fashion. From mobile games to MMORPGs, consumers are dressing up their characters even more fantastic than real life. Brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Valentino saw this new opportunity in the now multi- billion dollar metaverse and wanted a part of the pie. From Louis Vuitton’s capsule collection with League of Legends to the rise of Non fungible tokens where brands like Burberry and Gucci created their one-of-a kind virtual products, luxury as we know it transcends worlds.
SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE
With today’s luxury goods continuing to rise, there are some who complain about quality. A quick search on youtube about “Chanel quality issues” garners a whole plethora of video complains about the luxury fashion house. Increased prices with lower quality and exclusivity (Chanel just recently limited their most popular bags to one person per year) just doesn’t match the earlier criteria. In essence, what consumers really want is a value for their money. Whether it is high quality or a means to show off online, the consumer is ready to pay if it satisfies one’s need to connect outside of themselves through this luxuriously priced version of self-expression.
As we move forward to a new world we see luxury as true freedom. Free to buy what we want. Free to spend our limited time however we want. Free to move outside of ourselves. How ironic that something free seems so expensive and out of reach.
A new power rises as the future of this sector wholly depends on how we spend. As the new conscious shopper, we dictate the future of fashion.