Luxury is one of the most misused words of these recent years: in 2019, almost 40% of Made in Italy products showed this label, without a constant reference to the excellence of Italian manufacturing.
Although its etymological meaning (lat. luxus “superabundance, excess in the way of life”) is equally referred to the superfluous, to an excess of the price compared to the value of use, its use now seems to us irremediably far from the typical characteristics of refined craftsmanship and value of the raw materials that have been used for a given product. Luxury was once an expression of social awareness capable of understanding the quality and cultural value of certain choices.
In the years of the so-called “democratization of luxury”, the rise of low cost and fast fashion have shifted the semantic field of “luxury” from quality manufacturing to low cost – and lower value – manufacturing. A luxury of mere appearance, linked to an imaginary that is doped by marketing strategies, useful only to assert a social status as a parvenu, but completely lacking taste and soul.
Durability, for example, has always been the defining quality of luxury goods (which was in fact a “heritage” to be handed down to the offspring) and has been progressively replaced by a false appearance of objects, ephemeral garments, often trivial and sometimes even vulgar in the anxiety of “new” at all costs. Unceasing proposals, made in a negligently approximate way, generally from raw materials of dubious origin and quality, as well as from workers exploited in the poorest countries.
IDEM does not believe in luxury of convenience, which while being accessible to the masses on one side, it is bogus, ephemeral – badly done, soulless and without imagination on the other. Much has been said in recent months about the opportunity offered by the shock of Covid-19 to rethink about the present and the future, to restore meaning and value of words and actions.
Will luxury return to mean quality, research, authenticity, beauty as it once did?
The future is in our hands.