So, we can obviously say that relativity plays an important part in the way we think about many things – including luxury. What’s that old adage: One man’s meat is another man’s poison? I read an article from WSJ that brought this idea well into focus for me, and I think it also has some adjacent relevance to the concepts of trends and cycles.
When the great fashion designer, Yves Saint-Laurent started his own couturier in 1958, there wasn’t much in the way of pattern machines or industrial cutters for him to achieve his goal of making womenswear more affordable for the masses. In those times, the best clothing cost too much for common folk because of the time, money, and people that were required to make the ravishing clothing he designed. Today’s more affordable technology could certainly have done much for “la mode”.
If you don’t get my drift yet, think about how much your iPhone would go for in 1987, when the cell phone industry was still in its infancy. Probably tens of millions. Can you imagine yourself carrying one of those brick-size phones that were synonymous with the rich and famous of the times? I’m trying to clue you in to a very substantial component of luxury – its relativity. If there is something I am trying my hardest to pass across about luxury, it is that its meaning will change for each of us as we grow older and are exposed to new things. However, the ultimate luxury might lie in the things that have not changed much over centuries.
I think freedom has been one of those constants. Cars, jewelry, and extravagance will come and go, but freedom is the purest luxury of all. The freedom to do the things you truly enjoy like: spending time with family; travelling to new places; meeting new friends; or taking time away from the world, is a luxury for which many have and will continue to pay a hefty premium.
I leave you with this thought: if any product or service cannot truly offer you some feeling of liberation and emancipate you from the shackles of your worldly obligations, it isn’t worthy of an association with the word “luxury”.