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Luxury fashion is caught between two worlds

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Luxury fashion // Illustration by Kate Walker

Luxury fashion is caught between two worlds

 

The Future. Luxury fashion brands are notorious for keeping people out, which is partly why its products are so desirable. But as modern society puts a premium on inclusivity and sustainability, brands may need to find a balance between luxury ideas like class and scarcity with emerging ideals of community engagement and experimental materials. The ones that figure out how to thread the needle, organically, could find new converts.

Something for everyone?
Luxury fashion is facing a crisis — how do you balance inclusivity and exclusivity?

  • Even though luxury brands, such as The Kering Group (Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen) and LVMH (Louis Vuitton, Givenchy), are moving into sustainability, research shows that younger consumers see exclusivity and sustainability as contradictory.
  • The same feeling extends to racial inclusivity programs such as Gucci’s designer accelerator. Critics say the company only started the program after receiving backlash over alleged racist designs. Maybe not the best messaging.

Plus, designers, models, and photographers in fashion are overwhelmingly white, which makes many consumers view diversity programs in luxury fashion as hypocritical.

Walk the catwalk
A recent survey by The Conversation found that inclusivity is attainable if brands shift their focus. 87% of respondents said brands should focus on fair pay and workers’ rights, while 79% of consumers say they do appreciate initiatives that tackle climate, racial inequity, and gender parity… even when it feels forced.