Burning Money? Why Luxury Isn’t In Crisis

Johnnie Walker House, Shanghai (lovecreative.com)

Since 2008 the luxury sector has massively outperformed most other areas of business. In a recent article for Contagious magazine our intrepid reporter Sam Barton attempted to unravel the cultural issues at the heart of this topsy turvy phenomena.

Luxury isn’t a rational system but one based on myth and magic; it’s impossible to comprehend without an eye on the cultural context that luxury lives in. Click here to see an extract of the article on our sibling blog.


  1. Is this really necessary? Isn’t it obvious that luxury would continue to do well when, just as most as the poor tighten their belts, the rich, management classes and financiers get paid 7% to 15% percent more, and that since 2008? It’s a no brainer really. Those who could afford luxury before can afford even more of it now…

    Let’s see what the article says…

  2. The term ‘luxury’ often connotes ‘overpriced’ for many on a daily basis. The guilt sets in … How could I possibly purchase a luxury good when I have bills to pay, and a grocery shopping list that is never-ending? But surely treating ourselves every so often is allowed, right? With increasing stress levels worldwide (I personally blame, what seems like a never-ending, economic downturn) many people convert their stress into a luxury product. Why? Because it’s a means of putting two-fingers up at the day-to-day struggle and admitting, that yes, ‘I am worth it’. It provides a distraction, if only a short amount of time, and a topic of conversation to all those who will listen about your purchasing power – often setting off a domino-effect amongst your peers who also are ‘worth it’!
    In South Africa currently, there is still very much a considerable unequal distribution in wealth. Township residents often work on a sharing basis with family members and close friends. If one person is doing particularly well, they all benefit. It has been noted that many residents wear their wealth. Often unable to afford a house or a car, they spend their money on ‘luxury’ brand names in clothing, jewellery and alcohol, both for self-esteem and status. Luxury brands, then, although have good and bad connotations associated, I believe that if they provide a source of ‘happiness’ for some, then I’m all for them!

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