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25-11-2012
  1
windowshopping
 
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How do you define Luxury?
I am currently writing my dissertation on the idea of 'Redefining Luxury'. It's an area of which interests me within the fashion landscape- I am focusing upon this idea of 'what does luxury really mean', is it defined by price point? Or is it something more? I would love the chance to speak with other fashion minded people, who have strong view points on the luxury market and I will include any of your responses within my research. So how do you define luxury?

Please also take a few minutes to answer my survey about the luxury market!
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CLGDDSF

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25-11-2012
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In my opinion, the height of luxury is haute couture; each garment is exclusive to one customer - made to fit one person perfectly, and I believe exclusivity is vital for a definition of luxury.
Hermes is extremely luxurious, but walking around London you see every other girl has an Hermes handbag on her arm. It's exclusive to the rich, but not to the individual.
Luxury is exclusivity and quality, the latter often mistaken with expense.
A plain cotton t-shirt from Balenciaga isn't different, or more luxurious, than a cotton t-shirt from H&M, one is just expensive, making it exclusive to the rich.

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25-11-2012
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Interesting question.
Luxury is not inherent in the object, for sure, it's all relative.

I think three factors define luxury; desirability, limited accessibility, and the fact that it is not necessary. Usually certain elements are associated with luxury, such as beauty, comfort, cost, and quality, as opposed to the lack thereof, but those are not necessary defining factors. Potatoes were once considered luxurious items.

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25-11-2012
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I think of luxury as broader than just fashion, but a few things come to mind ...

* Having just what you want, as in everything is completely satisfactory--everything is useful and beautiful and comfortable. Everything fits and falls perfectly. This may or may not involve significant expense.

* All the senses are satisfied--everything from the soap to shampoo to cleaning products smells wonderful. The texture of every cream and lotion is soothing and non-irritating. All your favorite scents are there to choose from. Everything is soft and luxurious to the touch--throws and blankets and sweaters are just the right weight and textures.

* The objects and products around you don't overwhelm you in any way--they support your life, but don't create additional unnecessary demands on you.

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Luxury is living a simple, elegant, and responsible life. Luxury is a reduction.
--Steven Volpe


Last edited by fashionista-ta; 25-11-2012 at 10:47 AM.
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25-11-2012
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Mmmm, in nirvana just reading that

I would have called that well-being, but yes, why not luxury?

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25-11-2012
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i dont think price is the most important factor to define luxury. to me luxury has most to do with quality(materials, labour hours, etc), then other factors take into account such as scarcity, how it was produced and by whom(famous designers, well known fashion houses, the time it takes to make the products, the quality of materials involved, etc) and etc

again, quality is key

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27-11-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melisande View Post
Mmmm, in nirvana just reading that

I would have called that well-being, but yes, why not luxury?


It does sound a bit like heaven now that you guys mention it

The part for me that is difficult is complete, consistent luxury ... but certainly it's very achievable in part. Some of what I listed I definitely have ... but if I buy a product that doesn't measure up to the ideal, I typically use it anyway and try to improve on it next time ... if I got rid of it and tried again immediately, I'd be much closer ... but that is an expensive proposition, both in terms of time and money.

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Luxury is living a simple, elegant, and responsible life. Luxury is a reduction.
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28-11-2012
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I think the idea of luxury today is related to celebrity designers, how long is the brand been active and therefore it's status, and price.
What I call luxury it has to do with every single part of the process of making the product the best possible. It should be an interesting idea, designed with thought and setting the tone without the pressure of what's in and current. The materials should be of good performance, not cruel to the environement. The technology to manuver those materials should be according to them, and finished perfectly (I don't necessarily mean by hand, a laser cut could be just as precise as a really neat stich). Finally, the way it's presented to the customer, and how the customer's needs are met. Not that they should serve you a cup of tea while you see a prancing lady with your soon to be outfit on, but rather, how that desing work on your figure, if you need adjustments, or a special size without it costing more.

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30-11-2012
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My definition of luxury is something of quality and uniquely special and means anything from a pair of shoes to having a goods night sleep. A few days ago I had gotten a pair of black leather and suede Bally boots with fur insole from Arthur Berens in San Francisco and it had those traits. And guess what it retailed for $600 but I got in on sale for $200 so it means quality doesn't always have to be exorbitant in price.

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01-12-2012
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Having things that most people around you don't. Like Joan Rivers says having a pair of shoes or an indoor toilet is luxury for many

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07-12-2012
  11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximilian S View Post
Having things that most people around you don't. Like Joan Rivers says having a pair of shoes or an indoor toilet is luxury for many
Agree. I think luxury is strongly related to your circunstances and those of the ones around you. Therefore, I can spend thousands on an Hermes bags but if all your friends have it, the luxury element is gone; it's just an overpriced designer handbag that doesn't offer you that extra "thing" to make it special and unique.

Luxury for me is uniqueness and exclusivity, no matter the price or the quality.

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07-12-2012
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^ I find it a great luxury not to feel the need to compare my stuff to other people's stuff

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Luxury is living a simple, elegant, and responsible life. Luxury is a reduction.
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07-12-2012
  13
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For me it's means something better than the norm, or at least "better" than what I or other people would consider the norm, but not something exactly necessary per se, that 'little extra cherry on top', if you will. Both flying economy and first class gets you and your worldly crap from airport A to airport B, but first class has better ...everything. So ergo flying in first class is luxury. For example, no would die from sleeping in plain cotton sheets, but compared to that luxury would be sleeping in mercerised high tread count Egyptian cotton sheets, if we are talking about people who usually tend sleep in beds, not some extreme 3rd world examples.
Helps if the stuff in question is limited edition, high quality, exclusive, expensive, hand-crafted by artisans in soft candle light and so on.
Sometimes I find some of the stuff sold as luxury silly. Like platinum beer bottle openers. Sure, it's crazy expensive, hopefully well-made, perhaps designed by some Scandinavian art guru and only 12 pieces were ever made before the designer ate both his hands. I would not automatically call that luxury item. More like pretentious. For me, it would jump straight into luxury category if that platinum beer bottle opener would turn the act of popping off the lid into something very easy, with very little effort, with perfect "hand feeling", compared to normal or other crazy expensive beer bottle openers.
Since it's a fashion forum, luxury clothing is a category on it's own, at least for me. To me, a sweater would be luxury sweater if it was the most gorgeous thing I've ever laid my eyes upon, with it's exclusive pedigree, quality marterial, perfect fit, maybe a known name on the label etc. But just because some sweater costs $1300 and is only available upon inquiry in select Hermes boutiques does not make automatically make it luxury item. That $1300 highly exclusive sweater could just as well happen to be the fugliest piece of pure acrylic that even a color blind brain dead goat wouldn't wear. For me it's just a overpriced piece of trash then. Or different sweater, super gorgeous knit, awesome quality, 100% hand knitted and ever organic. But makes me look like Peruvian tourist guide. No chance I'd consider that a luxury sweater under those circumstances. So it has to be a full set of the above listed qualities to make a luxury sweater. Yes, it's a head thing.
Weirdly enough, old and established names are more likely to be considered luxury stuff by me. If there were two sweaters pretty much identical in every aspect, one made by Marc Jacobs, the other by Lanvin... I would be more likely to rate Lanvin's higher.
I think it even makes some sense.

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08-12-2012
  14
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Luxury is perfectly inelastic demand, you get a vertical line called demand curve on your graph, x-axis being quantity and y-axis being price.



When this happens, changes in price will not change demand by a budge, because there is absolutely no substitute for that luxurious item, examples include authentic Van Gogh painting. No substitute means it is not possible for people to be satisfied by switching over to product B just because price of product A had changed. (It is physically possible to switch but not possible due to this item's uniqueness, i.e. using gasoline to run your car, it is still possible to ride a bike).

The same story applies to the supply side of the story, you cannot substitute by replacing unique craftsmanship or technology.

Let's not be mean by using husband and wife as an example to understand the concept of perfect inelasticity.

Anyhow, according to this analysis, luxury is rare or unique items. What constitutes rarity can be contextual, dependent on social groups, country, human population etc.

I just wrote your paper for you.

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Last edited by Couture_Tribe; 08-12-2012 at 08:48 AM.
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08-12-2012
  15
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Well, whatever it may be, I sure know I need some right now.

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