The Cult of the Luxury Brand
Their main thesis is that "luxury brands are a modern set of symbols that Asians are wearing to redefine their identity and social position," which I guess for the most part is true, but that is kind of obvious. Here are a few other points which I thought were interesting:
- The Spread of Luxury model, where they split the luxury evolution in Asia to 5 stages: Subjugation, Start of Money, Show Off, Fit In and Way of life. I think they are all pretty self explanatory and pretty accurate
- The single parasites is the group of young women aged 20-35 in Asia who are still living at home with their parents. Since they do not have to pay for rent etc, they have a larger disposable income to spend on luxury goods- which they do in hoards!
- One of the reasons that luxury consumption is so big in Japan is because while the Western culture celebrates individuality, the Japanese culture (and indeed most Asian cultures ) places great emphasis on conformity and fitting in. So when the majority of people wear luxury brands, the rest of the people need to wear it too. That is probably why 94% of Japanese woman in their 20s own a Louis Vuitton
- In Tokyo (and other small cities I suppose), because the apartments are so small and expensive, it is difficult to show off wealth and success. And so people have turned to luxury brands as the best way to display their success- by literally wearing it!
- For the Chinese, their love for brands stems from their Confucius roots, which places a lot of importance on "family face." And so, today Chinese see luxury brands as a way to show "face" and signify their success
- In Hong Kong, luxe consumption has been adopted as the central ideology. Making money and blowing it on the luxuries of life is the one thing that the people are clear about, while on everything else, from politics, culture to patriotism, ambiguity reigns. Coming from Hong Kong, I must say, I totally agree
- In Korea, there is a clash between their love for luxe (Burberry is apparently the Korean word for trench coat!) and their culture. Luxe consumption is seen as "sinful" since frugality and moderation is very big in their culture. Additionally, nationalism is also very big and so wearing imported goods is also frowned upon. No wonder Koreans typically dress in more subtle designer brands (those I know anyway)!
Image Source: Cult of the Luxury Brand