Artwork by Danny and David Roberts

The Luxury Fashion Lottery


I’ve joined the team at The Genteel, an intelligent online arts & fashion magazine. I’ll be contributing on a bi-weekly basis, so keep an eye out for my work! Here’s a snippet of my article from this week’s edition:

Jobs are scarce, disillusion is rampant, and Guy Fawkes has shacked up on Wall Street. The recession has made for some tough times, but not everyone is feeling the heat.

Despite recent economic turmoil and widespread anti-elite sentiment, luxury brands’ profits have soared. Versace is predicting its first profitable year since the early 2000’s, Burberry just reported a 29% rise in second-quarter profit, and Hermès literally cannot keep up with demand after a 50% jump in first half profits. The worldwide luxury goods market is poised to surge 10% in 2011. Brands are reporting record-breaking sales levels at every turn.

It seems a good chunk of the “99%” are emptying their pockets in an effort to look more like the “1%.” People who haven’t seen a raise in years are still finding ways to justify Birkin bags and $500 swatches of coloured silk. Fewer and fewer people are in a position to afford luxury fashion, but more than ever are buying it.

Many insiders will attribute this illogical behavior to the so-called “democratization of fashion.” Brands have cracked open the pearly gates, allowing top bloggers to sit front row and designers to create cheap caricatures of their collections for H&M.  Everyday people sit next to A-listers and sport garment ghosts of Lanvin past. These moves are strikingly forward-thinking for an industry that can’t quite figure out the problem with “slave earrings.”

Truthfully, this new democratic fashion is much more Florida Supreme Court than it is Locke. The industry’s recent populist agenda spawns not from an egalitarian epiphany, but from marketing necessity…

Click on over to The Genteel to read the rest of my piece!