The concept of Authenticity has always been a fundamental feature of our times, especially in Fashion and Luxury. Clothing has always helped us assert our identities, and Luxury has always interpreted our desire to be perceived in the world. In the past two decades, globalization and digitalization have increased the exchange of cultures and traditions, and therefore, individuality – the possibility of expressing one’s identity through many different styles. Brands have been called to action, to reflect authenticity through the products they sell, their heritage, tradition, symbolic values and meanings. We want our clothes to mirror who we are, looking for companies that are customer-centric, digital, agile and sustainable.
More than ever, we look for Trust and Transparency: what we wear must tell our personal, inner story.
In this ever-changing scenario, 2020 will be remembered as the starting point of a new Era for both the Luxury and Fashion industries. Both systems must learn to play a different game, following the new customers’ needs for more authentic, personalized, life-enhancing moments they can connect emotionally with. A well-thought brand strategy and clear communication will be the only recipe to survive in this new turbulent world, while rethinking the system. Isolated and fragmented actions will not be successful as only a well-coordinated ecosystem can support the industry to overcome problems and find solutions for the long-term tenure of the whole industry, still attracting new customers. Spending in the luxury sector has always been based on emotions and feelings more than reasoning. The spending in times of crises adds the need of identity and security, aiming to exorcise the fear of uncertainty and to reduce the anxiety of living.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has been revolutionized: with physiological and safety needs not covered anymore, individuals are having a hard time to focus on higher levels of needs like social belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Therefore, this is a unique time for companies to show what their values truly are, inspiring customers and not manipulating them. Brands will have to focus on continuity, remaining true to their roots and surviving changing times and trends, delivering on their promise and not betraying customers. Transparency will be about highlighting parts of their history and production process that are particularly authentic, using real contents. Trust will be gained by addressing consumers’ self-consciousness through more introspective concepts such as health, happiness and mindfulness, which are fast becoming the new luxury commodities.
The Fashion and Luxury industries will have to explore alternatives to deliver a new kind of magic engagement. This will be fundamental to win over iGen customers, who will be the main target of luxury purchases by 2035. Digital channels will be the one-and-only currency, as social media “moments” are driving all brands popularity.
The new Luxury will be about emotional well being: lifestyles will be significantly influenced by the physical, social, cultural environments in which we live. We will all pursue activities and make choices that will lead to a real state of personal well being. Physical health, emotional and financial components will merge, with the world having to reset to these new dimensions.