By Chere Di Boscio
When we think of ‘luxury shoppers,’ generally, middle aged, well-heeled folks come to mind. But guess what? Millennials and Generation Z will represent more than 40 percent of the luxury goods market in less than ten years, and as a consequence, the luxury market is changing.
It’s well known that the upcoming generations are well versed on how to express their desires, needs and values through social media, and it’s become clear that what these future luxury consumers are crying out for are value-driven brands, and labels with messages of inclusivity and sustainability are gaining mainstream momentum as a result.
For example? Gucci made a big impact when it announced that it would be going fur-free for its Spring 2018 collection, and several other brands have followed suit. New beauty brands, like Juice Beauty, are creating professional-level cosmetics without the use of any harmful chemicals. Jewellery brands like Stockholm Rose are creating jewellery from recycled gold and silver.
In short, when it comes to luxury, ethics and values matter – and one of those values is sustainability.
Here are six sustainable luxury trends we predict we’ll be seeing lots of in 2019, and well beyond.
1. Air Purity
It started with water, of course. Once considered a bit crazy, bottled water is now ubiquitous, given consumers’ (often unfounded) fears of tap water, and a desire to sip on something healthier than soda. But now bottled air may actually be a rising trend – mainly due to urbanites’ fears about pollution.
A recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO) has found that nine out of ten people around the globe are inhaling polluted air. Outdoor air pollution is mainly to blame, but research reveals Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors. Consequently, a new focus on indoor air has created a market for air purifiers which is estimated to reach $33 billion by 2023.
Tech and wellness brands are now on a mission to purify the air not only in homes, but also in hotels, offices, gyms and hospitals to help boost our overall health and wellbeing.
For example, luxury hotels around the world, such as the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles are already offering high powered air filters in premium rooms. In heavily polluted China, cleaner air is becoming a desired feature in many of the country’s best hotels, according to this article in The Guardian.
But it’s not only high tech devices that are working to clean the air – green walls and lush potted plants are capable of not only cleaning the air, but of adding more oxygen to the atmosphere, and of course, bring a verdant touch of decor to any space. There are even companies selling canisters of oxygen that can be taken home and used on days of heavy pollution.
Perhaps the most innovative way to purify air comes from Ikea. The Swedish furnishing brand recently unveiled their Gunrid air purifying curtain, which employs a unique technology integrated into the textile that breaks down air pollutants when light shines through it.
“Besides enabling people to breathe better air at home, we hope that Gunrid will increase people’s awareness of indoor air pollution, inspiring behavioral changes that contribute to a world of clean air,” said Lena Pripp-Kovac, head of sustainability at Inter Ikea Group. The Gunrid curtain will be on sale next year, and there are plans for the materials to be used in other Ikea products which nods at purifying indoor air moving from luxury to mass market.
2. Homemade Bread
Not too long ago, “carbs” were to be avoided, and gluten was the enemy. But things are changing: millennials are embracing bread as a nutritious option for body and mind – but it has to be the right kind.
Probiotic-rich sourdough, for example, has reached cult status as a therapeutic antidote to constantly connected modern lifestyles. But it’s not just the eating of it that’s trending: it’s the making of it that’s equally important.
Tired of buying mass-produced bread full of chemicals and lacking in nutrition, today, younger people are going back to baking. It’s considered meditative, artisanal and brings a deep sense of satisfaction when it exits the oven, all crunchy, steamy and soft.
Apparently, even tech-obsessed Silicon Valley geeks are in on this trend. Frank Shaw, head of communications at Microsoft, describes himself as the “owner of a fine sourdough starter” on his Twitter profile, and Chad Robertson, the award-winning baker whose bakery Tartine brought real sourdough to fame in San Francisco, revealed to Eater Magazine that he “get[s] stopped at a lot of places in different cities and it’s mostly by guys in tech.”
It’s easier to do than you think, and we’ll be offering some vegan bread making recipes here in Eluxe soon. Watch this space!
3. Wanderluxe Travel
Luxury travel used to mean prestigious hotels with ostentatious lobbies, lots of marble and big chandeliers, but now? It’s all about the experience. It’s about the destination. It’s about one-of-a-kind experiences in new cultures and in nature. And travel agents are paying attention.
Wix Squared, for example, offers luxury ‘mystery trips’ where their clients’ personalities, desires and practical requirements are all assessed before a voyage is planned – and the travellers may or may not know exactly where they’re going until they get there. Trips can be anything from a holiday in Morocco, with puzzles and clues to lead guests to their next destination to treasure hunts in Indian bazaars.
The Extraordinary Adventure Club (EAC) takes mystery travel one step further, offering trips that are designed to inspire personal growth over the long run. It uses travel as a transformational tool for wealthy clients who want to explore themselves and the world further. They never know exactly where they’re going or what they’re going to do – they merely get an envelope on their desk at home or at work containing a kit list and telling them to be somewhere at a certain time. And so the adventure begins.
Wanderluxe travel is a far cry from a cosy stay at the Ritz – and a hell of a lot more exciting.
4. Healing Cafes
Hectic urban living allows for few places to relax. Even cafes, once a haven where we could chill out and watch the world go by, are now packed with people waiting impatiently in queues for their caffeine fix, which normally comes in a wasteful, takeaway cup. But that’s about to change.
Guided meditations, breathwork workshops and massage chairs are but a few of the new features being offered by healing cafes.
Leading the way is HealHaus, a wellness studio and café in Brooklyn, New York that offers an inclusive healing space with mental health resources, such as yoga classes and Breathwork for Grief workshops. Halfway around the world in Seoul, Korea, Shim Story is a “public convenience lounge” that offers massage chairs, heated beds and video games to help visitors to decompress.
And then there are the drinks.
Rather than distributing solely coffee and tea, forward-thinking cafes like Lily of the Valley in Pisac, Peru, serve up Sacred Cacao, Turmeric Spice Lattes, anti-inflammatory Chai with Almond Milk and more – all of which are designed to heal the body and soothe the mind.
Healing Cafes seem like an extension of cat cafes, where urban animal lovers without space for pets could truly relax and warm their hearts with a bit of feline affection. We love how new spaces are opening up to promote mental wellbeing, replacing traditional cafes as popular public hangouts.
5. Vegan Luxury
Once thought to be the sole domain of the hippy, cruelty-free fashion is not only going mainstream – it’s going luxe, too. Early adopter Stella McCartney has led the way for a plethora of new designers that are refusing to use animal products in their products – especially shoe and bag makers.
But don’t assume their well-designed goods are merely made of plastic: new materials such as apple leather and Pinatex, which is made from pineapple fibres, provide excellent, biodegradable alternatives to leather, and new technologies allow for incredible faux furs to be made from anything from organic cotton to upcycled plastic bottles.
Indeed, vegan leather is finding its own space in the luxury market. According to a report from consulting firm Grand View Research, the global faux leather market is set to hit $85 billion by 2025. The Duchess of Sussex, aka Meghan Markle, has worn vegan sneakers by Veja and has also sported many outfits designed by vegan Stella McCartney, too – sparking a huge spike in demand for vegan fashion in the process.
“Today we don’t want a product, we want ethics, a firm that defends the values that we admire,” says John Galliano, creative director of Maison Margiela, who has not only nixed fur from all his collections, but who has also gone vegetarian in his personal life.
6. Extended Stay Properties
Hotels are great for a few nights. But what if you want to stay somewhere for a few weeks?
Airbnb filled that gap in the market. And it’s great. But what if you want something like a home away from home, where you can cook for yourself, but also want someone to clean your temporary home, and maybe help advise you about travelling, sightseeing and so on?
The solution is extended-stay hotels. These properties have increased in popularity by over 34% over the past five years according to hotel industry data provider STR, and are beating out hotels with a 77% occupancy rate, compared to hotels’ rate of around 70%.
A good example of these new lodgings is Roost Apartment Hotels, who offer furnished homes with all the services and amenities of a hotel. You feel you are in an apartment that could be your home, but you also have access to a concierge and a fitness center. Services include weekly cleaning, a valet and dog walking.
One Fine Stay offers luxury homes in global capitals, and provides you with cleaning services, fresh linens, towels, and amenities like a hotel does, as well as an iPhone loaded with information on the local area and numbers to call for any other information you may need to complete your stay. Living Rooms offers impeccably designed rooms and apartments at four locations in London, where guests are welcome to stay for months or years. Each location is unique, with homey touches sourced from auctions, interior designers and local artists.
Sharing services were traditionally geared to those on a budget, but these extended-stay apartments prove that the sharing economy is seeping into the world of luxury.
Did you enjoy this post? Want to show your gratitude? Please support us on Patreon!