lambda personality

Sustainable luxury design at the 2012 Oscars

Isaac Mostovicz writes that ecologically aware designs at 2012's Oscars mean greater exposure for luxury brands ...

An interesting article in the Financial Times talks about the prevalence towards sustainable design in this year’s Oscar dresses.

Livia Firth, wife of actor Colin Firth and eco-fashion campaigner, launched a “Green Carpet Challenge” to high end designers in 2009 which invites them to create red-carpet designs using only sustainable materials. So far names such as Armani and Gucci have responded, creating luxury garments fashioned from ethical materials that don’t compromise on desirability.

Image courtesy of Stock.XCHNG

At this year’s Oscar’s the winning “Red Carpet Green Dress” dress which was designed by Valentina Delfino will be worn by Missi Pyle, an actress in nominated film The Artist – meaning significant exposure for an ecologically-sound design.

This kind of “upcycling”, or the next wave of recycling, is not an entirely new trend. British designer duo Clements Ribiero is one brand that has been considering the sustainability aspects of their designs for some time.

They comment: “We didn’t start off to create a conscience product. But, if we do our bit to help, it is an added bonus. For us it was more a case of finding astounding fabric at vintage fairs, beautiful hand-crafted bits that told a story – it was a pity to see that all go to waste.”

Other designers such as Christopher Raeburn and jewellery designer Katherine Alexander have embraced this trend, with lines created almost exclusively out of re-appropriated or otherwise “scrap” materials.

Running a luxury brand in a ‘sustainable’ manner makes sense from a marketing point of view – previous articles on this blog have discussed the damage to brands that could disadvantage them as they compete for global customers if they are seen to be unsustainable.

Within Janusian thinking, this kind of sustainable luxury has the greatest appeal to a Lambda. The knowledge that the product has a rich history embedded within it, particularly in the case of Clements Ribiero’s designs, is what spurs this kind of consumer, whereas for a Theta, the appeal would come more from purchasing a product from a high-end brand.

Later this spring Firth will introduce a sustainable collaboration with Yoox.com. It will be interesting to see whether increased consumer demand will force more luxury brands to consider sustainability as a central part of their business agenda.

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The future of luxury, according to a Pierre-Alexis Dumas

Isaac Mostovicz writes that Pierre-Alexis Dumas' perspective on luxury encapsulates the thinking of today's Lambda personality...

This afternoon I read a fascinating interview in The Wall Street Journal with Pierre-Alexis Dumas, of the French luxury house Hermès.

The interview was meant to get Dumas’ predictions about where luxury is heading. I found many of his predictions to ring true with how a Lambda personality views the world. Given his position in the industry, this could be a preview of what’s to come in luxury marketing.

There are two questions from the interview, the answers to which struck me as being especially telling:

Do you have a favorite disposable object?

A pencil. If you throw your pencil away, it means you’ve used it. It means you’ve used your brain, your imagination, you’ve been writing and drawing.

This is classic Lambda personality perspective. The value is entirely personalised, drawn from a sense of personal accomplishment. This outlook doubtless informs Dumas’ views on luxury and indeed life.

But it also takes elements of Theta. The idea that an ‘old’ product (with a history) is more luxurious is a very Theta-centric aspect.

The second question is to do with Dumas’ interest in designing luxury yachts.

And now you want to build yachts?

That’s a very large-scale design.

What is the price tag on that?

Between €80 to €110 million ($109 million to $150 million). The industry standard is €1 million ($1.4 million) per meter. A super-yacht is about 100 meters long. Our boat, which we make with the Wally [yacht-building] company, is 56 meters. And this is why it’s very original: Our boat is extremely wide.

A few key take-aways: Dumas is very candid about the pricing for an object that is, in reality, very expensive. A Theta would be more likely to reply in non-exact terms. There is an attention to detail in his answer, of understanding that price points and standards in the yacht industry. He knows whom he is marketing to with this product

The other point: He stresses originality. This is a key element of any sell to another Lambda personality.

Later in the interview, he makes a prediction about what the ‘future of luxury’ will involve. It’s a very Lambda perspective:

We have this odd shape because we decided to [build a boat that would travel] slow….Speed is so passé. What is the luxury for tomorrow? One of them is time.

In this case, the mantra ‘takes one to know one’ is accurate. Dumas is a Lambda personality. He knows what other Lambda personalities will look for in a luxury product, whether it’s clothing or a luxury yacht.

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