It is imperative that like other industries, the luxury industry has changed too, to adapt itself to a global phenomena. Luxury is transforming and gaining various meanings from culture to culture.
By: HH Alexandra Orloff, CEO, Sacha Orloff Ltd
Posted on: May 10, 2010
Luxury has changed dramatically in the last two decades. The new world of luxury has become an original synthesis of financial logistic design which stresses on productivity and traditional knowledge, mixing innovation and the conservation of its heritage. It may sound like a paradox, but this does ensure its continued success and development. Being originally a defender of values, luxury has been democratised by becoming available to everyone, and it no longer matches its initial deep meaning.
Formerly restricted to small circles of the upper class, luxury products are today progressively ‘down’ in the street. The meeting of luxury, marketing and social media has created an imperative in opening its products to all, making ‘the inaccessible so very accessible’. In my eyes, true luxury is bespoke or made to measure, thus, becoming truly unique for each consumer. Luxury should be a model of sustainability, never showing a weakening image, but reinforcing its know-how and authenticity with a true blend of tradition, craftsmanship, and adaptation of trends.
Luxury, today, has a surmountable amount of definitions. With each having his own interpretation, we can no longer give limited definitions to the word ‘luxury’. It would, otherwise, become void of sense to the beholder’s eye. Its presence, through a variety of products in diverse fields, eliminates the old-fashioned concept of ‘pure’ luxury. Following economic and social phenomena such as globalisation, mass consumption and democratisation, luxury no longer responds to borders. Christian Dior modernised fashion in 1947 with the ‘New Look’, but since the credit crunch, consumers have had to accept ‘New Luxury’ as being void of sense.
The quest of luxury in India and Europe reveals their different cultural complexities and market dynamics. India detains an exceedingly rich and powerful heritage from the past, translating it to the present and future in a singular way. Known European brands have found it difficult to establish themselves in India. There is a need for them to embrace Indian culture in their designs and attitude, rather than imposing their values. This has led to the Indian elite shopping abroad, creating diverse, expectations in their own luxury market. India has become a land of contradictions and sophistication.
Consumer expectations, however, do not differ from one culture to another. Quality, craftsmanship, excellence, savoir-faire and customer relations are attributes to the success of a luxury brand. True luxury is not new to India - European luxury brands who try to conquer India’s high growth potential market segmentation are!
India, with the benefit of the current growth rate, the youngest consumer population in the Far East, and sophisticated manufacturing know-how, will be the new hub for luxury brands in the years to come. And luxuries will not only origin from European produced goods, but from India’s own design platform.
The perception of values in world luxury leaves room to contemplate our processes of buying. The concept of heritage is fading, becoming divided between those of us who indulge in luxury due to its tradition, heritage, know-how, and those for whom luxury is the considerably ineloquent act of a ‘long-term investment’. Our culture plays a deciding role in the manner to which we regard luxury: the French believe in aesthetics, Russians in uniqueness, and the British in value. The most important factor when I engage in creating a company or a bespoke product for my clients is their cultural environment.
In turn, India will imitate its own paradigm and vision for luxury. But one thing will always remain. Whatever the culture, trends and needs - luxury is timeless.
HH Alexandra Orloff is the Owner and CEO of SACHA ORLOFF Ltd, consulting company offering services and products in the luxury jewellery, watches and fashion industry. Ms. Sacha Orloff has international expertise on global strategy development of luxury brands across emerging markets. Creating new business opportunities and markets within the luxury sector to deliver commercial and brand objectives.
Ms. Sacha Orloff will be writing regularly for LuxuryFacts. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Look out for her next article which will give another peep into her experiences and knowledge.