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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People don’t read

People don’t read. Don’t ask people to read. Please, don’t do it. In the fashion field, there’s no need to dig deep into socio-cultural-economic aspects. Customers don’t want to know more. Instead, bomb them to shop. Continuously. Endlessly. But do not involve them in a piece that makes them stop and think. Just push them to buy! In fact, it’s a profitable engagement, a language they appreciate.

People want images. If you put them in front of words, they have to stop, read and reflect. Also, it takes some time, and it is annoying.

Just show them images, let them click on the buy-now button, and they’ll be fine with it. Why question things?

Social media absorbs the attention, you start scrolling for a few minutes, and you end up eaten up by an endless stream of superficial information. There, there’s no need to read. Indeed you can stop at the titles or just a few words.

But you are well-targeted and, most of all, you are going to shop.
Yes, there’s nothing else people want.

people don't read, image of reading a book

However, the pattern is not new. Pavlov experimented on this behaviour with dogs, showed them the trigger and got the reaction. Indeed, this conditioned reflex works well with humans too. Brands know the game and accordingly shaped the world for us.

From ‘cogito ergo sum’, corporations worked to embed ‘shop ergo sum’. By influencing our brains and behaviour, they did a great job.

Because people don’t read. They don’t like reading, as they don’t like thinking.

For instance, if you want to ponder a little, do you know that funny thing called accessible luxury? How about ethical businesses when brands still produce in places where human rights do not exist?

But no, do not search for discussion or sharing ideas. There’s no need to understand fashion context. Keep it superficial, feed them with products. And, please, don’t be too refined.

There’s no need to think. Stick to your well-known pattern.
Don’t read. Don’t choose.
Just shop!

Unless you realize you can choose – to read.

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