Why the term ‘quiet luxury’ extends beyond fashion

Although this term refers mainly to fashion, we can’t deny that the fashion industry has often been a barometer for many social and economic changes

By Delna Mistry Anand

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The stock photo is used for illustrative purposes
The stock photo is used for illustrative purposes

Published: Thu 13 Apr 2023, 9:50 PM

Last updated: Fri 14 Apr 2023, 2:35 PM

The concept of ‘quiet luxury’ has been gaining popularity lately, referring simply to luxury that is understated and not overly flashy. Seen as a refreshing departure from the logo-heavy collaborations and shortlived trends, quiet luxury emphasises more on quality craftsmanship, and appeals to the sentiment of ‘if you know you know’.

‘Loud luxury’ is visible in the most elite global luxury fashion houses, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Balenciaga and thrives on showing off its brand. (Remember Kylie Jenner flaunting her Fendi monogram pram on Instagram? That is loud luxury, screaming logo, label and brand). On the other hand, you have Facebook’s billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg who’s always dressed in the same basic T-shirt and casual denim. His taste in fashion has been criticised for not reflecting his status and wealth, but what many don’t know is that many of his T-shirts are custom-made by Brunello Cucinelli and retail for around $400. There are many other brands that prefer to whisper luxury too, such as Loro Piana, Valextra, Delvaux, Kiton and Brioni.

Although this term refers mainly to fashion, we can’t deny that the fashion industry has often been a barometer for many social and economic changes. ‘Quiet luxury’ is not just about high-end designer pricing, but reflects a wider perspective and a shift towards more thoughtful shopping habits, prioritising quality over quantity and making long-term investments. Experts call the embrace of quiet luxury more of a post-lockdown era phenomenon. Creative Director of fashion label By Malene Birger, Maja Dixdotter says, “Due to Covid-19, many of us lived in lockdown and wore less outfits than before, realising how few pieces of clothing we actually need.” Many fashion experts agree.

And this is how quiet luxury has melted into different areas of our lives; with the desire to quieten our lifestyles, tone down our needs, decrease mental, physical and emotional clutter, and live in a minimalistic manner.

So it may be interesting to ask yourself:

• What does luxury mean to you?

• When do you feel fully satisfied with purchasing something valuable?

• How has your relationship with things of value and quality changed?

• Is it still about giving visible expression to your social standing?

Quiet luxury could be described as an attitude that knows the value of a thing and recognises its quality and finesse, which may not be on display at first glance. Let’s take it one step deeper; it could even refer to something within yourself, your unique sense of self. Can you still hold it in deep regard, without seeking validation from those around you? Can you still respect it, be at ease with it and value it without looking over your shoulders to see who agrees? Can you honour yourself so deeply that outside approval comes second to your own opinion?

At a time when the world is becoming faster and louder, this could just be a new, quiet form of luxury.


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