One of our topics for Mindless Mag last month was asking how our fashion buying habits echo our socio-economic climate and after spending a week strutting along Hong Kong’s Des Voeux Road I decided to turn my focus to luxury.
Some people like to be swaddled in the safety blanket of a routine existence, supported by stacks of savings and carefully considered decisions…
I am not one of those people.
Until last year when I was struck by a lightning bolt sent down from the Gods of Sortyerlifeout and consciousness filled my mindless body, when it came to money, my philosophy was always spend, spend, spend. Managing a budget in the office – yes, managing a budget in real life – no.
I’d always had a strong aversion to checking my bank balance and it didn’t really matter what our socio-economic climate was looking like, or how far I was digging into my overdraft; I would still splurge half a month’s wage on a pair of Valentinos, spend my weekends fondling vintage textures in second hand stores and could still be found at Zara three times a week handing over crisp notes in exchange for a wardrobe top-up.
Although I may be a little on the extreme side, having worked in the fashion and retail sector for over a decade and paid close attention to shopping habits, I knew that I was not suffering my fashion addiction alone.
Although there are, of course, some subtle shifts in consumer behaviour during a recession or an economic boom, the majority of reports show that fashion is one of industries least impacted by the state of the economy.
During a downturn, we’ll see a very slight reduction in our fast fashion purchases while we keep tight hold of our treats. We might live on carrot sticks and hummus for a few months if it means we can still get our hands on a pretty new frock for Friday night.
But because it’s a recession, we won’t buy as often as we would normally. We’ll cut back to maybe just one outfit per week. And then if we’re shopping less we might as well make it something more of a treat, so we’ll slowly start sliding up the scale of luxury away from Primark and further towards Prada.
There’s an anecdote from Hannah Kaspar, the Heritage Manager at Smythson’s of Bond Street, a luxury leather company founded in London in 1887 that perfectly sums up the lunacy of luxury when times are hard….
Read more here at Mindless Mag.