Take it for granted, no excuse: nothing will be ever the same as it was before. It’s a moment of transition
Transition: a definition
Three years ago, I used the word resilient on the cover of Lampoon – a word that, today, allows us to define the moments we were living in before the pandemic: we were resilient in the face of political populism, a reactive America and a society in which intellectual integrity was dismantled by digital data. My job as an Editor is to use the right words; words I choose and weigh up. Today, I am writing a different one: transition. In the same way, this word defines the times in which we are living today. This is a moment of transfer from a rejected dimension to a dimension not yet conceived. We are going through this process of change to adapt to a new dimension – unable to think clearly, we understand little but feel just enough.
What means luxury today
I keep going back to words. Today, the word luxury has no proper use – or worse, is met with derogatory connotations. It lacks a positive message. The concept of luxury, in the collective imagination, appears as almost the opposite of civil commitment. Rhetoric during the pandemic, for instance, could provide examples of this that I would rather leave out. However, the word luxury can be redefined. Luxury can find an ethical role and it can do so by utilizing its main assets: firstly, the aspiration of the masses which can become an educational power; second, the brand equity that allows the construction of arbitrary selling prices – thanks to which, the luxury sector could support new and experimental, sustainable manufacturing practices, while continuing to feed economic growth.
If I decide to spend a lot of money on a jacket, its fabric cannot be produced from a cotton that has been picked, processed, spun and embroidered by underpaid workers, or child labor; if I spend 500 euros on a pair of jeans, I cannot be thinking that by washing them in the machine, I will release microplastics into the water that, in turn, will end up in the intestines of fish or the placentas of women (microplastics in our water is perhaps the most severe and damaging impact that the textile industry has that is yet to be exposed to a global audience). If I can afford to spend more than others, then I am no longer fascinated by the brilliance of the workmanship, the softness of the fabric, the embroidery, the gilded refinement or the design – when the seams have been sewn with plastic threads.
The need for a shift in the marketing’s narratives
I am forty-one years old; what I am writing is much more valuable for those who are twenty, those young people towards whom marketing efforts are directed. Marketing, today, is nothing more than a self serving operation aimed at producing a positive brand image. Are you more impressed by the thousands of billboards you see hung in your cities streets, or by hundreds of trees gifted to local communities? Biodiversity projects and regenerative agriculture; these are the narratives that brands could be using to connect with conscious customers more deeply; if aimed with precision, these are the narratives that would build trust.
Sustainability – an outdated word
Sustainability – another outdated word. A better word to choose would be transparency. It’s about blockchains, short supply chains, natural fibers and 100% biodegradable viscose. Fashion can exist, be defined and appreciated today, if creativity is carried out with respect: a respect that leads to production without petroleum derivatives coming into contact with our skin, that does not mix nylon and cellulose, that does not continue to produce further damage. Reading their tags, I find fabrics composed of cotton, silk, viscose and polyester. It’s not about end-of-life and recycling; it’s about every single revolution in the washing machine, during which these garments will release unrecoverable microplastics into our water. Italy is the largest textile manufacturer in the world and hardly works with any raw materials produced nationally. It remains a mystery as to why the laws do not better protect the code of Made in Italy which, today, stands impoverished, despite its considerable contribution to the national GDP.
Transparency, sustainability, humanity
There are no more critical words when defining the new luxury. If luxury doesn’t make these values attractive and desirous, luxury will lose itself. You can be a young talent or a master: we all just need to do what we do best. Removing the anxieties surrounding instant and numerical success, we need to redefine expectations on every level. A long-term strategy and sincerity of purpose will give us all the satisfaction we are asking for. We are in transition; we don’t know what we’re becoming yet, but we know what we’re looking for. Before, we wanted something easy and attainable: success, money, fame. Now, we want something bigger: to save the world so that we can slow down and sit in the shade of a tree. To achieve this, we only need the tools we already have: honesty, curiosity – and, of course, that single falling tear that we wait for every morning, that we name love.
Lampoon, The Transition Issue
Out worldwide on April 9th
Or buy it online at Lampoon / Prototipo Store