|Source: Louis Vuitton|
After writing this article on the slow movement, I kept researching and found a very interesting article in the magazine CLES named Slow Luxe. It says that the luxury market, just like sustainable development, has a very "slow" and ecological approach. I found this quite thought provoking and decided to enter the debate.
I've always had a very ambivalent approach to luxury goods and brands as a customer. A part of me knows the biggest part of the price is due to the brand's notoriety, and some brands remind me too much of the emptiness and vainness of the bling-bling celebrities, or the huge inequalities ongoing in our world.
But another part of me (the marketing professional maybe?) has always loved the communication of these brands: advertisment campaigns that look like pieces of art, TV commercials as short movies, most luxury brands managed to create an incredible universe and imaginary around their brand and history.
No, I mean the real one. The hand-made, the unique pieces, the work of master artisans, the centuries of savoir-faire, you know, the unaffordable one. Works of craft, works of art. A perfume which bottles are made of blown glass, the old way. Watches embodiyng centuries of Swiss horlogy.
Another approach to the object
Japanese culture (again) has a great respect for artisan's crafts, the best Masters are Living Treasures of the Nation, and, even at a mainstream level, people are ready to pay more for "Made in Japan" and hand-made goods.
It is a vision of another time, too. Back before the consumerist society, people were ready to pay much more for an object than we are now. Because they had only one, kept it for years, had it cleaned and repaired regularly, and gave real credit to the person who took the time and skill to manufacture it.
Why is it "Slow"?
Because one lucky enough to acquire such piece of perfection will use it, take care of it for years and years instead of buying a new one each season. Real luxury is precious, scarce, a testimony of the artisan's (artist's?) skill. And a user of that kind of item will take the time to make use of it, clean it. It is also a way to connect to the present, enjoy the moment spent using this object.
I am probably never going to acquire a real luxury item. I admire them as a work of art and as a heritage of skill and craft. I do however, in my consumption habits, try to find items that embody a similar set of values, although it isn't easy.