The Luxury Brands

Unravelling the Psychological Effects on Consumers

Luxury brands hold a unique allure that extends beyond the possession of high-end products. These brands are not just about material possessions. In fact, they are about status, identity, and the dance between desire and fulfilment. So, I intrigue you to explore the complex interplay of emotions, perceptions, and societal influences that shape our relationship with luxury products.

The symbolism of status

Luxury brands often serve as symbols of social status and wealth. Indeed, a designer handbag, a luxury car, or a unique timepiece can elevate an individual’s perceived status in society. Psychologically, this association with prestige triggers a sense of accomplishment and reinforces one’s social identity. So, the external display of luxury items becomes a visual cue to others, communicating success and affluence.

But is it gold all that glitters?
It’s crucial to acknowledge that the status associated with luxury items is often a construct and may not necessarily reflect true personal achievements. Specifically, wealth’s display through luxury possessions might be more about perceived status than authentic accomplishments. This can contribute to a sense of superficiality in pursuing social recognition.

The pursuit of exclusivity

The scarcity and exclusivity associated with luxury products contribute to their allure. Limited editions, rare materials, and meticulously crafted designs create a sense of exclusivity that appeals to consumers’ desire for uniqueness. The psychological impact is profound, as individuals feel a deep feeling of importance and distinction when they possess something that not everyone can have.

Self-expression and identity

Luxury brands often serve as a canvas for self-expression. In fact, the choices individuals make when selecting luxury items reflect their personalities, tastes, and aspirations. Through these purchases, consumers shape their identity and convey aspects of their character to the outside world.

Emotional fulfilment

The act of acquiring a luxury item is often accompanied by a surge of positive emotions. From the anticipation of making the purchase to the euphoria of possession, luxury consumption triggers feelings of happiness and satisfaction. Also, a sense of accomplishment. These emotional responses create a strong association between luxury brands and positive experiences, fostering a continuous cycle of desire and consumption.

In conclusion, luxury brands weave a complex orchestra of emotions, desires, and societal expectations, influencing consumer behaviour profoundly. The psychological effects range from the satisfaction of status symbols to the fulfilment of emotional needs and the expression of individual identity.

On the flip side, the psychological effects of luxury consumption spiral into a dangerous cycle of excess. The insatiable desire for status, exclusivity, and emotional gratification may propel individuals to continually seek the next opulent acquisition. This relentless pursuit fuels a voracious appetite for the latest trends releases. But also plunges society into the treacherous depths of overconsumption.

Ultimately, the pressure to maintain or increase one’s perceived status drives a culture on the verge of excess, promoting unsustainable consumption patterns that jeopardise responsible consumerism.

Credit: Post written by Gabriela Preuhs, a Brazilian scholar pursuing studies in economics and psychology at Cattolica University in Milan; currently interning with suite123.

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Behind the Seams: Fashion Industry & Forced Labour

Understanding the Joint Roles of Brands and Consumers

Let’s delve “behind the seams” to unveil the link between the fashion industry and forced labour. The connection is robust, a topic often discussed yet incredibly overlooked by consumers despite the information.

In a recent post, we exposed the symbiotic relationship between luxury brands and fast fashion, both operating within the capitalistic framework. Today, we peel back another layer, examining recent cases.

Behind the seams of luxury brands

First, we happened to read a BOF post: “Luxury brands lag on efforts to reduce forced labour.” Reduce? But isn’t it appalling that brands discuss reducing forced labour instead of eliminating forced labour? By the way, the graphic in the attachment gathered luxury brands and fast fashion brands. All the most popular ones! (see it here).
Second, these days, the news reported the case of Alviero Martini. The company is under investigation for starving wages.

These two elements confirm our thesis: luxury brands and fast fashion share the same pattern, just for different pockets. But, above all, they highlight how deeply this issue is rooted in the fashion system, revealing it as a consolidated practice to maximise profit.

Also, it is interesting to notice that luxury brands often blame fast fashion while hiding their practices that are no different! Luxury brands exploit people’s work precisely as fast fashion does. Whatever the “made in” label says.

According to “Knowthechain” – a non-profit organisation:
“Today, an estimated 24.9 million people around the world are victims of forced labour, generating $150 billion in illegal profits in the private economy.”

Forced labour & modern-day slavery

Forced labour refers to individuals compelled to work against their will, under threat of punishment or coercion. In other words, individuals suffer exploitation as they are deprived of their freedom, coerced into labour without fair remuneration, and subjected to conditions over which they have no control. Forced labour can take various forms, including human trafficking, debt bondage, and other forms of modern slavery, and it is a violation of fundamental human rights as well as international labour standards.

Although condemned and prohibited by national and international laws, the practice is widespread. What’s worse? People, through their purchases, endorse this despicable system.

The fashion industry has no moral fabric, just as individuals who ignore the issue despite the available information.

Are you willing to shut your eyes when buying a logoed bag?
Did you know there’s an alternative? Small, independent brands offer luxury handbags with the finest materials, quality and skilled craftsmanship, all at just 1/3 the price of a branded bag. But while the logoed ones may be easy to sell, only a niche audience can appreciate true quality.

Your decisions as a consumer can shape an industry that values humanity over profit. Don’t compromise ethics over status.

What happens “behind the seams,” the dark connection between the fashion industry and forced labour, is extensively covered in the media. Read, share, and take action. But do not close your eyes. Ignorance is not an option; it’s time to confront the truth.

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The luxury inconsistency

How the fashion system devalues itself

Straight to the point of the luxury inconsistency: top brands stopped representing luxury. When they started the overproduction pattern, triggering the constant need for discounts, they moved in a different direction. And since the diffusion of affordable luxury, a meaningless oxymoron, the fashion industry is doing its best to devalue what little remains of luxury.

Luxury: from exclusivity to mass products

Overproduction and luxury have nothing in common. But the fashion industry promoted this pattern to make more money – in the name of growth and greed.
Some top brands represented the last stronghold of an industry which was transmuting into financial conglomerates. In this new context, fashion went from exclusivity to the masses.

In order to appeal to a wider audience, communication had to develop a different narrative. And it revolves around three points:
1- extremized concepts, just to give something to talk about
2- socialite or fashion bloggers to promote the products
3- frequent markdowns

And so, the industry has lowered standards focusing on branding rather than providing creativity and excellent quality. The byproduct was a crass logo dependency. But, associating a logo with specific lifestyle imagery is different from well-made products. Most importantly, exclusivity and discounts contradict each other!

The luxury short-circuit

Sometimes luxury brands, how they still want to call themselves, release the wrong communication, as in the case of Balenciaga. Consequently, fashion bloggers sell their products for cheap. Can you imagine who paid the full price for those items? They must be happy to see them undersold!

Rising prices: the latest strategy for luxury

Now brands increase prices due to pandemic-related issues and inflation, but that does not mean better quality. They cover their costs. If people accept to pay more, they get mass products in return, not exclusivity.

What masses believe is luxury, it is not. It’s the product of an industry that lost consistency. Without serious critique and questioning, it reveals its short-circuit and inability to change.

Indeed, communication missteps show the luxury inconsistency to everyone. And you don’t even need to be a fashion insider to understand it!

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Luxury for the rich

A piece written by an American student studying fashion in Milan and interning for suite123, Gavriel Ewart.

Luxury or Ordinary?

When the concept of luxury was first presented to the public, it was reserved for the most wealthy. The brands were producing only the highest quality of items, making it an exclusive opportunity to purchase. One that only the lavish could afford.

Jump forward to the 21st century. Luxury has been made available to not only the high-class and middle-class, but even the low-class are finding ways to purchase. Even if that means sacrificing things they actually need. In this new generation, fitting into a high-status category is more important than saving for your future. The image is everything.

Where do we go from here?

So if every person walking beside you on the street has access to a luxury brand, how are the highest economic class supposed to maintain their importance, aside from driving beside you in their Mercedes Benz.

Financial Freedom

There is a strong polarity that still remains between the high-class and all the others. Time. The middle and lower class might be able to afford a few nice purses, perfume, and some makeup, but those material items are only constructing a window for which they can peek through to see an inch of what the highest-class get to experience. Finally escaping from the fear of bringing your work to a halt. Many business owners within the elite would still bewell off even after taking a break from work for a while to spend time with family.
The middle class and below aren’t granted that privilege. They can buy the material items, but they can’t buy time.

The real luxury

One of the only factors that persists in differentiating the rich from the rest, is the financial freedom to do and go wherever they’d like whenever they’d like. That’s an economic and social ability that can’t be bought on Rodeo Drive.
So I hope you’re enjoying the scent of your Chanel Number 5, but remember that until you alter your perspective you’ll still be on the outside.

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Luxury Brands & Young Audience

A new perspective on luxury brands selling to the wrong audience

A piece written by an American student studying fashion in Milan and interning for suite123, Gavriel Ewart.

Logic or Manipulation?

It is understandable for a business to market their products and services to a specific audience. Rationally, a business has a niche, and they sell to those who will respond to that niche.

It is an entirely different story if a luxury business is promoting to an audience who is undeniably not in the chapter of their lives where the concept of ‘luxury’ is available to them.

Is their strategy from an angle of manipulation?

As many know, during the late adolescent years when the frontal lobe of the brain has not finished developing, the youth are still heavily prone to absorbing information that’s restricted to them. The frontal lobe of the brain is responsible for planning, organizing, initiating, self-awareness, and intensive decision making. 

As a result, adolescents are easily influenced by all external stimuli. Because of this, many businesses, the luxury fashion industry being one of the most convincing, use their advertising, locations, storefront displays, and interior design to lure the young. 

They eventually purchase a disgustingly overpriced item that fools them into believing they are a part of the glamor status in society. . . When in reality, they are living with their parents and trying to pass their statistics exams. 

Is their strategy from a logical perspective?

According to Eurostat Statistics Explained, young citizens living in the metropolitan cities of Western Europe get paid an average of 332-2257 euros per month. Considering the fact that a younger employee would typically get paid on the minimum scale, they are barely making ends meet. Therefore, it would be irrational to assume that they have a surplus of funds to spend on luxury pieces every month since they are still concerned with food, transportation, and possible rent charges. 

These results provide one clear conclusion, one that is frankly not too surprising. Luxury labels don’t care how the youth are able to purchase their products, as long as profits are made.  

Why luxury brands target the young audience

The true reason . . . . 
Profit. Profit with the dismissal of its grand effect on those who have little power to reverse the actions they didn’t know any better but to make. Many know that the youth are one of the most easily influenced generations, yet all categories of business make a habit of exploiting them from all angles. 

“You don’t have the money to buy this purse? Well here is a high interest rate credit card with no instruction on how to prioritize paying. Do you want an education? Here is a $50,000 Unsubsidized loan that will take over half your life to pay back. Wait, you want a loan to start a business and become successful independently? No we can’t do that for you, you’ll need a hefty credit score to receive that privilege”. 

As said, it’s understandable to sell your products to those attracted to that niche and who can afford it. But the new reality evidently presents that the niche of these companies is predominantly to sell to those who are required to max out their high interest credit cards in order to purchase.
Sadly, this singular purchase is what makes them feel included and accepted into this glamorous facade that people call reality. So don’t allow yourself to sink into the sand of manipulative brands. Don’t let yourself be blinded by the sparkly logos. Shade your eyes with your hands, not your overpriced sunglasses. 

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