What is sustainable luxury?

Vivian Corporation
Nov 14, 2017 · 2 min read

Sustainable luxury is the future. It is not an eco-friendly product seeking a premium image but instead, it is a luxury product with sustainable values. It is another option to saving the planet since we would be channeling our purchasing power to where we might do the least harm — by buying sustainable luxury goods.

While people are positive about the idea of sustainability in principle, these perceptions are often overshadowed by various perceived ‘negative’ attributes. Many people view sustainability as being costly, unnecessary, or disruptive to their everyday life.

At first glance, it seems there is a contradiction in the term sustainable luxury. After all, luxury often carries with it connotations of excess and waste, and it is associated with pleasure, individualism, and fashion, whereas sustainability is synonymous with ethics and restraint as it invites us to “meet the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs”.

However, if we return to the definition of luxury, we can see that sustainable products also share the same ‘essential’ qualities of luxury goods; they call for extraordinary creativity and design, they need to be made from exceptional materials, with good quality, and they place an importance on durability in the concept of fewer but better. Luxury goods have implicit sustainability built in as they don’t go out of fashion and are life-long products.

Luxury product have always been sustainable, but have not been promoted as such. Increasingly, leading luxury brands are taking steps in this direction and are introducing the idea of ‘sustainable luxury’ as an integral part of their own brand image. As social and environmental stresses increase and global resources come under greater pressure, the luxury industry must embrace new environmental and labour standards. Sustainable luxury offers people fulfillment of their individual desires by introducing better consumer choices — rather than making them feel guilty about themselves.

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