Why Society has Become So Obsessed with Buying Luxury

If you’ve been paying attention to the landscape of Toronto then you’ve noticed something is a buzz… That would be the emergence of luxury boutiques and department stores.

If you’ve been paying attention to the landscape of Toronto then you’ve noticed something is a buzz… That would be the emergence of luxury boutiques and department stores. Toronto is becoming a luxury hot spot. 

25 high-end fashion brands have opened stores in Toronto within the last six months, including Christian Louboutin and Saks Fifth Avenue. In addition, Nordstrom opened two locations in 2016, one at CF Eaton Centre and one at Yorkdale Mall, with a third location opening at Sherway Gardens in September 2017. That’s a lot of stores, right?

For the size of our population, why are there so many luxury stores? Are people getting more money? And if so, can I have some?

The Star touches on the proliferation of social media and how it is propelling millennials to live a life being shown to them, as many of these luxury brands reach out to and give products to celebrities and ‘cool kids’ for marketing purposes – we see it on them and now want it for ourselves.

Image: Instagram/@micahgiannelli

Toronto’s growing luxury industry is also impart to time. As time goes on, Toronto earns more recognition, receiving more worldwide press and celebrity attention, gaining us an international spotlight. With events like Caribana, TIFF, and OVO Fest under the banner that is Toronto, our global cool factor and appeal to international companies and tourists rises. Where people flow money goes.

But it’s not just the super elite that are shopping luxury, Fashion Magazine’s Market Editor Caitlan Moneta said to the Toronto Observer, “People shop high and low, so they’re mixing up their Zara and H&M with Saint Laurent and the Celines of the world… the breadth of the luxury shopper has increased exponentially.” You don’t need to be dressed head-to-toe in designer nowadays, all you need is a couple of thousand dollars for a statement piece. A social psychology study revealed,

“Consumers purchase [luxury] goods for a variety of reasons, among them because they convey a sense of status, wealth, and exclusivity.”

Emotion is a huge part of luxury consumption. Shopping luxury is about how the product makes a person feel when interacting with it and the experience as a whole – from going into the store to meeting with sales people and even signing up for exclusive waitlists. People want to shine, and when I say “shine” I mean, be seen, recognized, and acknowledged. High fashion is a vehicle to achieve this for the average person. 

The Toronto Observer sums it up perfectly: “Why some people buy luxury brands has a lot to do with the feeling of pride… there is authentic pride and hubristic pride. Authentic pride comes from gaining success and accomplishing goals. Certain people might choose to purchase something from a luxury brand to treat themselves… while hubristic pride derives from narcissism and feelings of superiority.”

On the subject of pride, just this morning I was thinking to myself how I want an Hermès Birkin and that I deserve one – this bag is understood to be the holy grail of handbags in the luxury realm. Hermès is paramount as the hoops and hurdles they make you jump through and over in order to obtain one of their top 3 bags being Birkin, Kelly, or Kelly Cut are outrageous. You walk into Chanel or Louis Vuitton and you leave with your desired bag that day. You walk into Hermès and leave empty handed, receiving a call 4 months later saying an item on your wish list has been granted. Why do I want this bag? I would agree that it’s both authentic and hubristic pride. A Birkin is something I’ve aspired to have since I was 13, seeing celebrities both male and female carry it, but then too, to show it off would be the cherry on top of my self-fulfilling desire.

It is imperative that we understand humans are visual creatures who often ‘judge a book by its cover’. An insightful comment from a psychology forum at SlutHate.com reads, “On sight, people automatically and subconsciously profile you according to your appearance and what you are wearing… and assign you to the closest stereotype they have in their mind of you, and then respond to you and expect you to act congruent with that stereotype.”

Much of the allure of high fashion is not only becoming this vision of yourself you may have had in your head but also what others think of you. No one needs a Mercedes-Benz or a Rolls Royce, as there are cheaper cars capable of the same functions as any luxury vehicle and it’s the same for high fashion. But if you’re going to invest in anything, luxury purses trump vehicles – have you seen how much an Hermès bag has appreciated in value over the years? 

Why do you think our society is so obsessed with shopping luxury?

Featured Image: Instagram/@ChiaraFerragni

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