Many collectors of luxury brands are judged for precisely flaunting their pieces of certain brands, especially the younger ones who are famous on TikTok for that. But perhaps luxury is no longer what we thought.

Luz Lancheros, MWN

Year after year, whether in person or digitally, we see the great fashion houses with their exquisite and dreamy stories, their great catwalk shows, their incomprehensible commercials, creating the story that made them have an aspirational legacy based on values ​​such as the exclusivity, status, craftsmanship, and that has made them sell not only garments that a tiny part of the population can wear, but items with their logo. Gucci’s TikTokers War: “Bad Taste” or New Luxury?

And that’s the only thing that matters now.

More than everything in the digital world, where reggaetoneros like J Balvin and Bad Bunny wear their clothes, they sit in their front rows, where rappers like Nicki Minaj collaborate with Fendi and yes, where Russian and Chinese millionaires, among others, show off at all costs her luxury goods, on par with a Kylie Jenner: shows like Bling Empire, which chronicles the adventures of the super-rich Asians of Los Angeles, show it.

View this post on Instagram

And that is why it is not uncommon for TikTok to have users like Saul Soto Candanedo, who is a sneakerhead, and who, unlike his favorite brand, Gucci, who uploads conceptual clips and very Gen Z style on that network, shows how many clothes he has of the same.

Gucci’s TikTokers War: “Bad Taste” or New Luxury?

View this post on Instagram

He has 1.1 million followers and is in competition with a rival who has his purchasing power and his love for logos, @chori_pawer, a teenager who spends his time flaunting all the things he buys from luxury brands. And although they have followers (as well as Instagram and Hollywood celebrities who spend their time showing their luxuries), they are also criticized for their “bad taste” when it comes to flaunting their “logomania”, a resource widely used by brands, especially in networks and with digital consumers, but hated by many fashionistas.

But how true is that when luxury stopped being what we knew?

“Luxury has been luxury depends on who consumes it and who are interlocutors or intermediaries of that materiality and it also has the same value of showing that it is an element that only a few use. In that sense, showing the logo is worth it, because it does not matter where it is but the logo itself. If I have the logo, I am part of a movement of exclusive things. Now we can see what everyone uses and the signifiers of the brands change: if I am a luxury connoisseur, it is not the same to use a Fendi cap or wallet, than for a person who is simply interested in seeing the logo and associates it with luxury. This generation is very clear about it. And the people who can buy it, be it in Mexico or China, show that they can do it and others cannot and sometimes that puts a lot of pressure, even to buy replicas and also in the sense that today, if you don’t show yourself, you are nobody ”, Explains to Metro Jeniffer Varela, New York-based fashion expert, authenticator and researcher and co-creator of the blog Moda 2.0.

View this post on Instagram

“Luxury throughout history was more related to certain elements that were synonymous with it. With industrialization and that ‘birth’ of the western fashion industry, it began to be associated much more with certain names and, eventually, certain brands. The interesting thing here for me is that in a very general way we can divide luxury brands currently into two large groups: those that use the logo as part of their status, which are perhaps seen as more ‘commercial’, and those that are so luxurious that they do not necessarily need the logo since it is almost only for ‘connoisseurs’, those who know how to recognize them by certain elements without having to show it through the logo. It is of course funny to call luxury brands ‘commercial’ and I put it in quotes for that, because I mean those brands that have a lower entry price and, to win customers who seek to be part of the brand’s imaginary and that they cannot access the most expensive products, they hook them with ‘lower’ prices. And well, these brands know that their logo sells and that is why they build their campaigns around that, which makes it interesting also because the fascination with the logo does not come only from clients or potential clients but from the brand itself ”, complements Sandra Mathey García- Rada, researcher, fashion writer and fashion analyst, based in Paris and co-director of the platform Culturas de Moda, who explains how there are brands like Hermés whose Birkin and Kelly handbags are less recognizable than a Louis Vuitton and that there are others, like The Row, which are minimalist pieces that don’t have the logo anywhere.

“The brand, in the end, does not have as much control over how its message is received by different people around the world, even if they want to sell themselves in another way”

Sandra Mathey García- Rada, fashion consultant and researcher

Why do people flaunt?

Mocked or not, the people who display the logos of their luxury items on social media and live for it, are not a freak. In fact, in countries that were previously communist republics like China or Russia, luxury is a successful market and in countries like the former, according to the Bain Company, it achieved growth of 48% (52 billion dollars). And logos, of course, are a way to show that purchasing power.

View this post on Instagram

Likewise, figures like Dapper Dan in the United States, long before they showed the aspiration of the people, to the point that he copied those logos and thus made his clothes, and became iconic (he made a collaboration with Gucci). “This need of the people is an interesting duality, because you are uniformed: you use certain dress codes to separate yourself from a crowd, but to insert yourself into another to which you do not necessarily belong. Dapper Dan realized the need to flaunt that, how through the logo people showed that they had money. They also stuck to the subcultures of the Bronx and the consumer changed: they are no longer encumbered ladies – there are few and they stick to certain brands that have not evolved their legacy or need it – and brands have to see new markets, which have to do with young people interested in hip hop, with their favorite artists with logos. Fendi even brought out its collection with Nicki Minaj. Danna Thomas, in ‘Deluxe’, talks about how people buy either glasses or whatever from the brand to feel part of that market and brands know that they have to diversify their stories, because they cannot just have their ultra-expensive wallets that only few can pay, because that is not profitable ”, complements Jeniffer Varela, who also explains how brands are even on TikTok, because they know how to cultivate an audience in the future, who will be able to buy those accessories later.

View this post on Instagram

And that, on the other hand, in networks, everything changes: there we show how perfect our life is and how close we are to such a brand is a lie. And in that sense, a luxury brand helps a lot, especially when people like Olivia Palermo and BrianBoy, among the first and great influencers, have done it for a long time. Perhaps what they do on TikTok is just a spontaneous and grosser expression of that, but it is still the same in another package and of course, a reflection of the times.

2 questions to …

Sandra Mathey García-Rada, researcher, fashion writer and consultant

Q: Do you think that brands, despite their stories, are adapted in another way by their consumers?

-Completely. And it is that, in the end, all those brands have the same discourse. They always tell the same story related to the traditional luxury of European countries and specialized production with artisans who learned this through their families. We can change the brand name in any of those speeches and it will hardly make a difference. So, as much as they want to achieve another imaginary, I think that they cannot, because it is difficult for them to get out of those narratives that are seen as inextricably linked to luxury and that, consequently, means that the discourse does not change on the one hand and that, moreover, they are given other types of associations in different contexts. For example, while Louis Vuitton is synonymous with glitz, luxury and status for some, for others it is seen as too “commercial.” I think that with this I am going to that the brand, in the end, does not have as much control over how its message is received by different people around the world, even if they want to sell themselves in another way, and even more so when they repeat the same speech over and over again. .

Q: With these titktokers fighting over who has more Gucci garments, for example, how do we see these imaginary reflected?

– An example of this is the digital Gucci sneakers that are sold for $ 12 and that, basically, they serve to “use” in the digital world. What good is it to buy sneakers that you can’t wear in real life? To look cool and earn likes. Even knowing that they cost $ 12, the fact that they are digital is already so novel for what we see today that it attracts attention and we could say that it is the new “entry price” for Gucci. Now, on the other hand, the madness with Gucci and similar brands I think definitely comes from the discourse that has been built around them and, although I cannot speak for all of them, it is definitely those brands that reach the tiktokers the most easily. And here I allow myself to return to the example of The Row, the “silent” luxury brands, which perhaps require one to be more immersed to discover them.

Read more