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Jargon Watch: Meta-luxury

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The decline of the middle in terms of brands has mirrored a global decline in the middle class. This has prompted brands to move up the food chain. We have seen this in Japan as the country moved over the past two decades from consuming a lot of luxury goods by the likes of Louis Vuitton to homegrown companies providing the best of everything from Michelin-star restaurants and gourmet coffee shops to meticulously constructed street wear.

Interbrand defines meta-luxury as

luxury after luxury

Or as Venessa Friedman distilled it down:

focus+artisan-ship+ history+ rarity = meta-luxury

The key attribute here is one of focus. It doesn’t really surprise me when you think about how luxury brands like Armani have grown from tailoring to:

  • More accessible sub-brands
  • Promiscuous licensing deals
  • Affordable luxury product categories – notably fragrances
  • Broadening brand reach including hotel design, homewares and florists

The increased accessibility of luxury brands and  dilution of their brand equity through business expansion leaves room for meta luxury businesses.

More information
Introducing Meta-luxury – FT.com