While trends are primarily how the retail industry operates, of late there have been movements that attempt to turn the tide. One of the biggest trends to catch on, ironically, is quiet luxury, or luxury goods that redeem themselves purely on the basis of quality, and not any labels.
What is it?
Also referred to as ‘stealth wealth’, quiet luxury to put it in simple terms, is a luxury that hides itself. Unlike other brands who boast their logos all over their products, quiet luxury keeps it minimal and sophisticated. A tendency towards classic, high-quality items that demand some level of insider knowledge to appreciate is known as quiet luxury. Anyone can see a piece covered in logos from a major luxury brand and understand what it costs and how much money it is worth, but quiet luxury, which is distinguished by its lack of overt branding, places value in the materials, craftsmanship, and design, all of which require training to appreciate. Taking a moment to step away from the commotion and hype of the present fashion scene is necessary for quiet luxury. Instead, choose items based on their construction or how they feel against your skin. The philosophy behind quiet luxury is to look away from giant marketing campaigns and to place focus on the true value of the product. By perhaps understanding how the cashmere in a sweater is spun, will leave you with a deeper understanding of what makes the clothes you wear unique.
How did it come to be?
A number of general socioeconomic status behaviours that encouraged its development in recent months are likely responsible for the quick ascent of quiet luxury. One such tendency is the constant preoccupation with shows of fortune on social media. Unquestionably, the emergence of social media over the past ten years has increased the focus on individuality and, especially, on self-image. The near-universal trend among influencers and digital artists to create posts in which they seemed indisputably charming, successful, and, above all, wealthy was spawned by this increase in the significance of one’s public-facing online identity. This urge to appear wealthy gave rise to the hotly contested fashion trend known as logo-mania. The term logo-mania describes the fashion fad of covering every square inch of an outfit with a brand’s logo, distinguishing symbol, or name. Eventually, the promotion of logo-mania by different internet celebrities had a domino effect and spread among the general public only by posting on their personal accounts. If you logged onto Instagram, you would see hundreds of people splashed in Gucci or Louis Vuitton.
However, when these overt shows of wealth spread across society, they started to lose their appeal. Simply said, the proliferation of these logo-adorned items robbed them away from their authentic significance as visible signs of monetary success. As a result, the influencer community was compelled to mimic the style of an even more elite social class, giving rise to the old money aesthetic. The popularity of trademarks on social media has increasingly decreased over the past several months as online celebrities have tried to present their wealth in a way that is comparable to that of the wealthiest and most affluent in the globe. They have gradually started to change the way they dress, choosing pieces that are modest in terms of colour and shape and sourcing them from companies whose main distinguishing characteristics are workmanship and timelessness rather than from an overrated luxury brand.
Sustainability in Quiet Luxury
Fast-fashion brands replicate popular outfits from recent fashion shows or social media posts easily, in big quantities, and at a low price. It is no doubt that the fashion industry burns a lot of resources, and with the recent emergence of new fast-fashion companies, this wastefulness has only increased. The fashion industry emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined. As consumers worldwide buy more clothes, the demand for quality clothes and new styles is increasing day by day. Fashion production makes up to 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions which dries up water sources and pollutes river and streams. The mass production of clothes has resulted in harming the environment. This is when sustainable fashion enters the picture.
Since consumers have grown more aware of these realities over the past several years, they have started to avoid fast fashion in favour of shopping with a sustainable mind. As a result, more people are choosing to buy items that are not only made in a way that is kinder to the environment but also strong and timeless. Quiet luxury, or maybe even the quiet luxury style, is a perfect fit for people wishing to purchase in accordance with these more environmentally friendly principles. It has been the most blatant response to fashion’s present push for sustainability as a trend that focuses mostly on supporting classic designs and high-quality workmanship. Although the trend does not explicitly link to or support sustainability, perhaps the quiet luxury themes, such as simplicity, high-quality construction, less is more, and lifetime wearability, can draw attention away from mass-made quick fashion and indirectly help to lessen environmental impact, foster greater social responsibility, and aid in climate change mitigation.
Can India do ‘Quiet Luxury’?
India’s history demonstrates that the country has a lengthy past of prosperity. The most gorgeous textiles have been fashioned here, and some of the best diamonds have been dug from our earth. Expensive spices are also produced here. Cartier was made famous by Indian rajahs like Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala and Maharaja Digvijay Singh of Nawanagar who ordered extravagant pieces encrusted with enormous diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and pearls. Luxury was created in India even before iconic worldwide companies like Cartier and Louis Vuitton were established, and for Indians, luxury still implies customization, personalization, and meticulous workmanship. To this day, luxury in India means having bespoke patola and paithani sarees weaved and ornamented, having the best-embroidered muslin handkerchiefs, and supervising the fabrication of customized temple jewels or polki jewelry. Since India’s pre-colonial history of genuine wealth and richness, which was strongly connected with the homeland, has existed, people have engaged in this luxurious practice. Even in 2023, individuals would continue to aspire to own textiles and handicrafts from India as symbols of prosperity. These textile wonders are manufactured to order and slow fashion because to the arduous labour that goes into their creation.
Quiet luxury is nothing new or particularly trendy in India. In India, Indira Gandhi and Maharani Gayatri Devi travelled the nation and the world in exquisite sarees, and quiet luxury fashion quickly became the talk of the town. In urban India a few decades later, Sonia Gandhi, Simi Garewal, and the majority of the female population have advanced in this order. The emphasis is different on the subcontinent because for us, quiet luxury is defined by the beauty of the fabrics which can range from thick silks hand-woven in vivid hues to pure muslin and the intricateness of their weaves. We follow the idea of not having the label splashed all over but we don’t follow the idea of having that minimalist look. So, to summarise it, India can do quiet luxury with a little noise.