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A Life of Luxury: How Luxury Brands Remain Relevant Through Cultural Shifts and the Changing Business Landscape

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It was famously said by the queen of the silver screen Marilyn Monroe, "Diamonds are a girl's best friend." While this iconic saying was born into existence nearly 70 years ago in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the idea of luxury goods having a special place in our hearts still has relevance in today's world – perhaps even more than decades before. From diamonds and clothes to cars and experiences, many individuals love indulging in the lavish experience luxury brands provide – especially in a consumer-driven culture.

The concept of luxury and its place in the market is nothing new, with its roots stemming as far back as the Roman Empire. It has evolved over centuries to become the global commodity it is today – touting an impressive global market value of nearly 316 billion USD. Despite the worldwide pandemic, luxury brands stayed afloat when more practical items (food, services, etc.) suffered setbacks and are slated to continue to grow over the next decade.

However, why does luxury matter so much to consumers? And how does it stay relevant in a time where socially-conscious attitudes are driving the market of the future?

Throughout this feature, we'll explore: 

  • The founding principles of luxury and why it works (for some)
  • Some of the world's biggest luxury brands and what makes them successful
  • Food for thought

To begin, we'll dive deeper into the concept of luxury and what separates it from other markets.

Luxury Brands are Part of Consumers’ Identities

From its earliest days, luxury was founded on the principle of exclusivity – bringing together a select group of individuals who wanted to indulge in the finer things. In today's conscious culture, exclusivity isn't always seen as positive. However, the luxury market does something any brand does – aligns people who share similar interests or tastes. A luxury brand (for some) is an extension of an individual's identity – showcasing their personal brand through the luxury products and services they consume.

For example, owners of the electric adventure vehicle Rivian may share a different set of values than Range Rover or Tesla owners. How? Each of these brands is a high-priced vehicle marketed to the affluent. Still, the Rivian brand promotes a culture of outdoorsmanship and environmentalism with their brand positioning focusing on "preserving the natural world for generations to come". With that in mind, it can be argued that consumers who choose Rivian over a competitor may have made that choice because they believe Rivian best encapsulates their identity.

The main point is that brands, luxury in particular, showcase a consumer’s identity. 

Investing in Quality

While not all luxury brands truly adhere to phenomenal quality, most brands in the luxury market maintain higher price points because their quality is top-tier. Some see luxury goods as an investment because they retain their value over time, with some increasing in value with age. Brands like Louis Vuitton create special collections that are one-of-a-kind, never made again. This rarity principle can increase the value of these products over time, essentially providing a return on investment for the consumer. It's also critical to note that some luxury brands produce a limited number of products to maintain their ideology of rarity. This business practice allows brands to focus more on quality over quantity, contributing to the product's overall value.

On the flip side, consumers may purchase higher quality goods to ensure a longer product life cycle. While an individual may not need a $5,000 Chanel Boy Bag to ensure their purse lasts for the long haul, a quality item can save consumers money if they do not have to purchase that item again for a long time. Some things may be more costly upfront, but if done strategically, these higher-quality items will last – meaning you may not need to repurchase one.

Luxury is a Lifestyle

Like an identity, luxury is more than materialistic – it can be a lifestyle. Whether paying for exclusive gym memberships or lavish vacations, luxury items don't always have to be physical products. Younger generations may find experiences more valuable than products, which is why travel, and the "digital nomad" era, has become more commonplace in recent years. Incredible experiences are another form of luxury, albeit luxury, nonetheless.

Perception Drives Price

Regarding pricing and market value, luxury brands do an incredible job at blurring the lines between cost and worth. To elaborate, luxury items are somewhat like a stock in the market. The value of a stock is driven based on perceived value. The same can be said for the luxury brand market. Pricing drives the overall value and reputation of the brand. People will pay for status, and that's one element the luxury market has always banked on.

Luxury Brands Keeping on Trend in Today's World 

While some luxury brands have a rich history and some are much younger, a lot can be learned from a successful luxury brand – especially how they maintain relevance in an ever-evolving marketplace.


A relatively younger brand which has gained more notoriety in the past few years, TELFAR may not be considered a typical luxury brand, but it is competing against the biggest names in the world. What makes TELFAR unique is that it's marketed "for everyone"– something very few fashion brands in the luxury space do. TELFAR is also vegan leather, affordable, and supports black business owners. What is the future of fashion? It’s easy to argue that authenticity is in. Flaunt it.

Anima Iris

Earning the seal of approval from Queen Bee Beyoncé, Anima Iris is a newer luxury brand with African heritage and influence from entrepreneur Wilglory Tanjong. The Anima Iris collection is carefully handcrafted by seasoned professionals in Dakar, Senegal, partnering with local Senegalese business owners to acquire materials and leather in limited quantities. Anima Iris also promotes a zero-waste model, ensuring that no two creations are the same and no material is wasted.


Stemming from the more prominent brand Toyota, Lexus has maintained its status as the “crown jewel” in the luxury vehicle market. Why? Lexus is the perfect blend of reliability, luxury, and comfort. One of the biggest complaints from luxury brand car owners is the terrible reliability, especially given the egregious costs to fix and maintain them. Couple that with the high sticker price that comes along with the vehicle from the get-go, and it's hard for consumers to argue about buying an expensive luxury vehicle that costs more to own than a cheap car. Lexus doesn't have that problem. Winning reliability awards year after year, Lexus has developed a reputation as the "practical luxury car" for consumers who want true luxury without the high costs of maintaining it. Lexus is also working to become part of the EV revolution to work towards a zero-emissions future.


A relatively younger luxury brand, Lululemon indeed invented the "athleisure" market. Starting with high-quality yoga gear (their Wunder Unders taking the yoga pants market by storm) and eventually becoming a premiere athleisure brand, Lululemon's market value has increased significantly over the years and continues to grow into a force of nature. Lululemon is also expanding its conscious footprint through its "Lululemon Like New" program, encouraging its consumers to recycle their old Lululemon clothing to close the loop on fashion waste.


Tesla is arguably the first brand to bridge the gap between the luxury and EV markets. Tesla proved that zero-emission vehicles could be excellent, sleek, and fast. The future of cars is electric, and Tesla should be rightfully credited for driving this demand forward.


A German brand with a strong reputation, it can be easy to forget that Audi is a top-tier version of the manufacturer Volkswagen. However, Audi brings superior German performance to the table with higher reliability than its competitors. Furthermore, the E-tron segment is giving EV brands a run for their money, as the E-tron brings style, class, comfort, and performance – all while achieving zero emissions.

Tiffany and Co.

Tiffany and Co. has a rich history of beautiful jewelry, starting in New York City. Outside of the famous Audrey Hepburn movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's, the brand does a phenomenal job regarding subtle marketing. Their branding is relatively simple, honing in on one central element that cemented its iconic status from the beginning: the genuinely mesmerizing Tiffany Blue.

Louis Vuitton

One of the world's most valued brands, Louis Vuitton is unrivaled in unique designer collections (remember the rainbow monogram or the Cerises collection designed by Takashi Murakami?). Part of Louis Vuitton's success stems from their unique collections that promote that "buy it now or forever hold your peace" mentality – meaning that once it's gone, it's gone. As mentioned earlier, these collections can contribute to the products increasing value and make them collector's items as time progresses.  

Oh, the Places You Can Go

While traveling may not be a brand, the act of traveling is truly a luxury. Enjoying this incredible planet and all its beautiful wonders is a privilege to be appreciated. So, if you're one to travel, remember that it's a luxury in itself.

Food for Thought: A Luxury Brand Doesn't Define You

Ending on a final thought, while shiny and expensive things can be nice, they don't dictate who we are. Money doesn't buy happiness. Humanity shouldn't be predicated on a monetary value to be worth something. Value and worth are two different things. In the wise words of Kacey Musgraves, "Just because it don't cost a lot… don't mean it's cheap." 

Society can fixate too often on status to feel valued. Remember these words from Saint Basil, "If every man took only what was sufficient for his needs, leaving the rest to those in want, there would be no rich and no poor." It shouldn’t be about how much you have, but about how much good you do in the world. Best for the World Leadership should instill conscious consumerism, charitable efforts, and making an impact for the betterment of the world, not solely the business’ bottom line.