New highs (or lows?) for the luxury market

Isaac Mostovicz writes...


Following my post questioning whether we use luxury for the right purpose, today the Associated Press published a story about the booming luxury market and skyrocketing prices for unique luxury items.

Exclusivity is in–logos and brands are important, but not as important as the quality and uniqueness of an item. Items cited in the article include a $700,000 Montblanc pen (covered with rubies, diamonds and sapphires), a $40,000 Louis Vuitton handbag (a limited number were sold out in pre-orders) and a $10,000 Coach crocodile handbag.

Attaining the “highest” level of luxury appears to getting increasingly difficult. But should it be? It might be worthwhile for people to take a step back and remember that luxury is subjective. It doesn’t need to be a $1000 pair of shoes. And if $1000 shoes are the only or most prominent ideal of luxury, that’s “a terrible ideal for young people,” according to John Vogel, faculty director at the Allwin Initiative for Corporate Citizenship at Dartmouth.

We need luxury, but we also need to know what luxury is, for ourselves.

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