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The Tension-Filled World of Luxury Consumption
  • April 13, 2021
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Luxury’s purpose used to be straightforward enough: to power dreams by creating social distance between the elite and the rest. For a few hundred years, this role was even bolstered by sumptuary laws in Europe and Asia that forbid the bourgeoisie to dress like aristocrats. Luxury consumption was the right, privilege and perhaps even the duty of the wealthy. But barriers to luxury fell progressively, until it was described as “the ordinary consumption of extraordinary people and the extraordinary consumption of ordinary people”. This multiplication of consumers and the increasingly easy access to luxury through digital technologies is not without its headaches for luxury brands. How can they convince the wealthy to continue buying such products when regular people partake too? In a review of the latest advances in the...

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