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'Quiet Luxury': Why this fashion trend won't just pass away



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Hermes SS24 Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

In place of XL logos, which in recent years have often not been allowed to be big enough to be seen on jumpers, handbags or shoes, there has been a demand for one thing for a while now: understated elegance. Two words that can be read and heard a lot: 'Quiet Luxury'. But what does this actually mean?

Fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar describes 'Quiet Luxury' as "the aesthetic of secret wealth". On display: neutral colours, simple silhouettes, sophistication that is only in the details. Status is therefore signalled in subtle ways: with the very highest quality, perfect craftsmanship and exquisite materials, according to an online article in the magazine. Logos, on the other hand, remain inconspicuous or are not visible at all.

"Silent luxury whispers, loud luxury shouts. Loud luxury communicates to the masses, quiet luxury only to the 'insiders', those who can recognise brands even without a logo," explains Fernando Fastoso, professor of Brand Management, Luxury and High-Class Brands at the University of Pforzheim.

Quiet Luxury communicates affluence and subtle wealth

According to Fastoso, consumers mainly want to communicate a sense of belonging with loud luxury, while "quiet luxury communicates connoisseurship". It is about prosperity and subtle wealth. Especially in times of crisis, quiet luxury is becoming more common. The principle is old, the name is new. Given the news in recent years - the coronavirus, the war in Ukraine, the conflict in the Middle East - it is just not appropriate to brag about your perceived wealth.

But whether this alone is driving the trend remains a speculation: "I see the growth of the global luxury market as the decisive factor, especially the Chinese market. That is maturing and luxury there is no longer a novelty that only a few buyers can afford," says Fernando Fastoso. As a result, the understanding of the status that can be achieved with a luxury product continues to evolve. "In more mature markets, status is no longer achieved by simply owning luxury, but by owning a special kind of luxury."

Silent luxury includes the ability to decipher, making it accessible and understandable only to a small, exclusive group. Because the Chinese market is so important in the context of global luxury sales, quiet luxury in general has also become more important, says Professor Fastoso.

Quiet luxury as a sustainable trend

Quiet luxury is more than a fleeting fashion trend. Sustainability also plays a role: high-quality individual pieces that last are preferred to trendy fast fashion pieces that end up in the back of the wardrobe after one season. Simple colours are more desirable than garments in short-term trend colours that might be out of fashion next season.

For style consultant Andreas Rose, 'Quiet Luxury' is characterised by monochrome looks and colour tones "alternating between white and black". Creamy white or beige are in demand.

Credits: Stella McCartney, Fendi, Bottega Veneta, Akris, Eudon Choi ss23/ Launchmetrics Spotlight

'Peach Fuzz', named the colour of the year 2024 by Pantone, should also go down well. The subtle peach colour is more subdued and discreet than garish. The wide-cut blazers, high-cut trousers, straight-cut jeans or straight-cut fabric trousers and minimalist dresses with only small eye-catching details, seen a lot in the current collections, also fit the trend well.

You can also interpret quiet luxury differently. "Another way of looking at this trend is that luxury has to do with indulgence," says Andreas Rose. "That would be real luxury. You don't need spectators to enjoy luxury. Rather time and friends."(DPA)

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