Jo Malone fragrance campaign shot by Tim Walker
Branding Customer Experience Marketing Style

Rethinking Luxury

Jo Malone fragrance campaign shot by Tim Walker.
Jo Malone fragrance campaign shot by Tim Walker.

LVMH and Max Mara Secrets

Growing up, there was always this notion of luxury on a pedestal. Luxury was the ultimate idea of perfection, success, and pure form of excess. The excess was the guilty pleasure of rich and famous who could afford it and the only downside was being considered materialist and egocentric.

Nonetheless, the conversation was never about literally harming others in the process. Now that luxury has been democratized and brands are ever-expanding to supply new waves of customers who want immediate luxury, suppliers are out of control.

Somehow, the attention is laser-focused on the customer- PR, customer experience, perfect marketing campaign… What happens behind the curtains? Most brands supply internationally and the control is harder, which also comes as a nice excuse.

Jo Malone fragrance campaign shot by Tim Walker. These two images are a clear example of marketing deception. Click to find out more.
Jo Malone fragrance campaign shot by Tim Walker.
These campaign images are a clear example of marketing deception.

The perception used to be that if you spend a good amount of money, you receive quality. As an item has a higher price tag, we expect that this should be enough for everyone down the chain from ideation through creation to selling to be covered. Thus, when I’m paying for luxury I’m ultimately contributing to a more sustainable industry.

Sadly, this is not the case. We have formed various unions (NGO’s, movements, campaigns)  to help the workers in developing countries from abusive work practices, yet we are failing to even secure normal working conditions and fair payments for the industrial workers in the European Union countries.

What I want to share with you is a documentary by DW going far and beyond the lustrous look of luxury and to show how money is really distributed and what is the real price of these ‘luxurious’ items. If you are a fashion lover this documentary is a must-see. Giving insights into the processes that go into the making of items from brands like Kenzo and Max Mara.

‘The film looks behind the beautiful displays at where the raw material comes from: tanneries in Italy, where migrants produce the leather for luxury handbags under miserable and unsafe working conditions; and behind the scenes in China’s fur animal industry, where the animals are kept under catastrophic hygienic conditions before being cruelly slaughtered.’

─ DW Documentary

Luxury: Behind the mirror of high-end fashion | DW Documentary

The European Commission has set in motion an Ethical Fashion Initiative. The project aims to create job opportunities in the artisan sector focusing on women and youth as well as promoting exports. Hoping that international migrants will return to the created professional training opportunities with promise for immediate employment.

This still does not fully solve the problem of big fashion groups claiming that their supply chains are clean and under control. When in fact, brands prefer not to check up on their subcontractors as it’s easier to ‘believe they are doing everything possible’.

Some brands are becoming members of the Ethical Trading Initiative or ETI. ETI exists to help brands, which decide to adopt the Base Code of labor standards, to keep workers safe and free from exploitation. Mind you this Base Code ensures that the very minimum of standards is met, not the maximum.

Nonetheless, a third party might just be the solution to the problem. If they stay independent partners, solutions will be found. Then it will be up to the brands to change for the better or to be left from the consumer who is growing more conscious by the day. Yesterday practices won’t bring business tomorrow.

While big fashion groups fail to understand that, many small sustainable businesses appear. They have an understanding of the need for clean fashion. Since marketing has become democratized, it is easier than ever to reach the ideal customer. Sustainable brands are now quite fashionable and with great designs.

Now the real fight for customers shall begin. On one side we have big corporations, slow on change, but investing heavily in marketing. On the other hand, we have independent brands, which are set into having healthy, sustainable, and even circular production. With such a strong base, they can now concentrate more on design and marketing their clean products.

I wonder who will win the race… It seems like the future is looking brighter where ethics and aesthetics are holding hands.

Wishing you a mindful day!


MK ❤

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