Ethical is the New Luxe

Ethical is the New Luxe

A few weeks ago, we came across an article that talks about how millennials are making it luxe to be more ethical and environmentally aware. The article discusses how purchasing ethical and sustainable products is becoming a symbol of high class status and that brands are beginning to use terms such as “organic” and “sustainable” to make customers feel an item has luxury value. While some brands are certainly greenwashing with these terms, we’re think there's definitely something to the idea that ethical is becoming the new luxe.

On the face of it, ethical and sustainable living doesn't necessarily equal luxury. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to support businesses that make an impact or to live an ethical life. But there is definitely a shift in the definition of what 'luxury' really means, and how this relates to what we actually value.

The millennial article seems to suggest that traditional ‘luxury’ brands are losing their footing with this new generation of more conscious consumers, and they are all trying to find ways to make their brands fit within a new ethical and sustainable paradigm. It seems young consumers simply aren’t getting the same good feelings when they buy old-school luxury brand items. It's not enough for something to be expensive anymore. To be truly luxurious, a product now needs to show it has depth and substance, with a genuine back story that gives its new owner a much richer sense of shopping satisfaction.

What does indulgence mean?

Indulgence and luxury have always been somewhat synonymous, due to the relationship between luxury and expense. For many, indulging means purchasing excessively: buying products that cost a fortune and surrounding yourself with a lot of these items. There is an inherent feeling that this kind of indulgence is a little unpleasant and not really very good for you: a bit like eating a really rich meal, it tastes delicious at the time but afterwards it can make you feel a little sick.

But there are other definitions of indulgence that don't have negative connotations. Perhaps it’s having the time to indulge in nature, experiences, or spending time with others. Indulging our interests, values and passions is one of the ways we humans can experience true happiness and joy. For many of us, indulgence is less about excess and more about quality, such as creating a simple life and surrounding yourself with a few items that embody history, craftsmanship, or pared back design.

And with the dawning of conscious consumerism, many of us now feel true indulgence when we invest our money in products that pay it forward or give back in some way; or when we create a space in our homes filled with ethical and sustainable items that create a positive impact. Being able to contribute positively to the global community through ethical shopping choices is perhaps the deepest indulgence of all.

Sugarcane Trading Co Indulgence

Is beauty only skin deep?

Beauty and luxury traditionally go hand in hand. Our definition of beauty actually determines whether something is valuable, and therefore luxurious. But is beauty only to be found in the aesthetics of a finished product? Or is there inherent beauty in the provenance and very DNA of an item? 

For us, and for more and more people, the beauty of a product definitely also comes from within; in the quality of materials used and the impact created throughout its entire chain of production. It’s not just about the way a product looks on the outside – if it doesn’t feel good in our hearts, then it's hard to see its beauty (and therefore, luxury and value).

Beauty Pull Quote Aquamarine

Is there a new definition of luxury?

So it seems we are developing a new definition of luxury; one that encompasses both the aesthetics and the ephemeral feelings of internal 'goodness' that an ethical product exudes. Rather than just experiencing the temporary rush and buzz of an expensive purchase, people are beginning to prefer a longer lasting positive connection with their purchases, that comes from the feeling of doing something 'good' in the world. Perhaps we could call this 'authentic' luxury; luxury that taps into the deepest levels of personal satisfaction.

The value of a product is no longer linked only to its price tag. To be truly valuable it also needs to do good, and not harm. When you bring something authentically luxurious into your life, whether it's an item for your home or even an experience, it comes with a deep sense of inner peace. There's no guilt or uncertainty when you know that an item is truly beautiful, inside and out.

Seacova Quality Cushions

For us, quality, impactful homewares create a true sense of positive indulgence that equates with authentic luxury. We believe that ethical is indeed the new 'luxe' because not only do conscious products come with outstanding quality, they also create a deeper quality of life for the people that make them.

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What does beauty and indulgence mean to you? What does true luxury mean in your life? Leave a comment and let us know!


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