Style is about more than just what’s currently on trend or in season. It’s an identity, a window into someone’s personality, a way to express individual interests, preferences and priorities through design. It is, therefore, no surprise, given the current global climate and perspective, that “quiet luxury” is emerging as one of 2023’s hottest fashion trends.
What is “quiet luxury?” Think refined basics. Think modesty meets effortless elegance. Think an understated and carefully-selected capsule wardrobe of neutral-toned clothing, or low-key sophistication made from high-quality materials – without the flashy logo. All of the above more-or-less encapsulates the concept of “quiet luxury,” per se, but defining it precisely is difficult; it has a certain “je ne sais quoi” quality that’s hard to pin down.
One of British Vogue’s apt descriptions is “a £1,000 camel coat thrown over an ancient pair of vintage jeans,” saying that creating the “quiet luxury” look is all about “nonchalant trousers” or a “clean-lined skirt” with “cool-girl flats,” among a selection of other items.
Other common synonyms of “quiet luxury” include “stealth wealth” or “coded luxury.” But, while it is first and foremost a fashion trend born from present-day popular culture, when placed into context with the growing global conscience and current climate, some say the enthusiasm for “quiet luxury” may transcend skin-deep style, emblematic of a shift in consumer mindset as well.
— THE OUTNET (@THEOUTNET) May 10, 2023
Is it an evergreen trend, emblematic of conscious consumerism?
Lorna Hall, Director of Fashion Intelligence at WGSN (Worth Global Style Network), told Insider that “right now, we are living through times that call for that more paired back approach” due to an increase in financial and job insecurities as well as the increasing importance of sustainability and conscious consumerism.
And while the trend does not directly link to or promote sustainability explicitly, perhaps the leitmotifs of “quiet luxury” – e.g., simplicity, high-quality, well-made, “less is more” and lifetime wearability – can divert attention from mass-produced fast fashion and indirectly contribute to decreasing environmental impact, increasing social responsibility and helping mitigate climate change.
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As The Business of Fashion put it, “the understated allure of classic, high quality pieces dovetails with conscious consumption calls to buy less, but better.”
Similarly, Harper’s Bazaar said it’s about “quality over quantity and having the instinctive style and confidence to invest in wear-for-life pieces.”
And as sustainable luxury fashion brand, Mila Vert, explains in a blog post titled “The Sustainable Side of Quiet Luxury:”
“As these investment pieces are of the highest quality available, they are likely to last longer and are the perfect building blocks of a minimalist wardrobe. Thanks to its classic designs, quiet luxury effortlessly outlasts seasonal trends, offering trusted combinations you can return to year after year.”
Also pointing to their own “timeless sustainable classics” which they say “illustrate the latest trend perfectly.
Sustainable and stylish: A win-win
There are actually a whole host of brands that stand to benefit from the skyrocketing popularity of “quiet luxury.” And while – like with any new craze that’s linked to ethical consumerism – it’s best to assess the wider “quiet luxury” landscape with one’s greenwashing guardrails up, the good news is, there are many brands that have shown sustainability commitments that align well with the “quiet luxury” aesthetic; so the planet possibly stands to benefit in return.
On the surface, “quiet luxury” is just a trend, a style or an ambience, but perhaps, as Harper’s Bazaar described it, it’s actually a “whole mindset for living.” Let’s hope, at the core of the onion, “quiet luxury” is an evergreen trend, a sustainable style shift, a movement, symbolic of another small push towards reaching the tipping point into fully conscious consumerism.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Clothing on a rail. Featured Photo Credit: Thom Bradley