On my way back from Florida to Columbus I was in dire need of reading material to pass the 4 hour journey without suffering of boredom. Usually I’d be picking up a car magazine, one on the newest tech gadgets or even a celebrity trash pamphlet. This time however, the Fortune magazine caught my attention. The cover boasted stories on Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and the Brooks Brothers. Working in the field that I do, I couldn’t possibly pass that up.

While the articles on Lauren and Jacobs were equally interesting and educative, it was an article titled Mass vs. Class that I found to be the best read. Basically, the article by Peter Gumbel discusses the accessibility of luxury to the masses, traditional fashion brands breaching out to the lower cost markets and its naysayers. I’ve scanned and uploaded the article in PDF form here (right-click, Save As…), I apologize for the lousy quality of the scan ahead of time. Do yourself a favor though and pick up a hard copy of the magazine, it is well worth it.

I would like to encourage a weekend debate. What is your opinion on the matter? Has the perception of luxury become dilated in recent years? Do you feel like your pricey designer items have become banal?

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Lily

    This guy is such a class act,what a great cover.

  • Lily

    Oh and i wanted to say,thanks a million for scanning the article.

  • Fortune is doing a good step forward to be more pop among high class advertisers. The ads for rich people are very profitable for a mag like this. I guess they are just trying to build a new groung around the rich glam lovers.

    Yours Sincerely.

  • Phillip@hautemimi.com

    Oh definately, as an avid fashion enthusiast, I believe that the lust for large brands with large pricetags is just rediculous now, because… in the end.. what is setting you apart from the next nobody with some cash… These brands and products meant something years prior, had an heir of class to the owner, but now they don’t because everyone and their mother has got them, and even worse, everyone and their mother can just go and grap the nearest nock off at the closest flee market.. I put a lot of thought into any purchase I make from stores like Vuitton, for the simple fact that I want a product that says something more than fashion victim.. or wannabee…

  • Hi Vvlad:

    Excellent post. My husband brought this issue to my attention and we discussed it in length. We will be posting a copy of your comments on our Blog located at ValueBags.com. Hopefully, more people will do the same and get the world involved.

    Why should looking good or “feeling” good with a stylish ensemble ONLY be affordable to the wealthy? The Designers are smart and so are the stores like Target, Kohls, Penneys, etc. Many great designers have joined the movement. And, now Ralph Lauren will, too.

    The only way to keep “style” alive is to share it, re-invent it, and that’s what Fashion is all about. Fashion is dynamic, powerful and ever-changing. I don’t think anyone has to worry about their Hermes Birkin getting diluted. Just like there’s no comparison between a $1000 Kroll bag and the vinyl sold at Target.

    People will still remain in their “Class,” egos will still be intact carrying an expensive bag. There’s enough to go around for everyone. This whole DESIGNER CRAZE has gotten totally out of control — the world is out of control!

    I’m glad to see Fashion being embraced and shared in a healthy way vs. the underground taking control by mass producing counterfeit crap. I believe that’s where we need to focus our energy — ending counterfeiting, and this may do it.

    By making Fashion available at below “outlet” prices, with “real” labels, maybe it will help decrease the amount of counterfeiting being sold.

    It’s just a thought. Who buys counterfeit? Those who can’t affort the real expensive stuff. Take a stroll through Target and count the number of counterfeit LV bags on the shoulders of shoppers. You’d be amazed! Think about it. Again, thanks for the post.


  • Molly

    What’s luxury to one person may be cheap to another.
    I love to read this blog, but I could never afford much of what is showcased here. I am far from poor, but I cannot afford to purchase even a $500 handbag without saving and not shopping for anything else for a while. Because I am young and unmarried and have bills. But for some people $500 seems like mere pennies. So to someone who can afford to purchase a $16,000 handbag without a second thought wouldn’t think of $16k as luxury, but I sure would. Of course the quality of the product is a factor as well; something that is very fine to me might seem cheap to someone who is used to having the best of the best, top of the line all the time.

  • Jahpson

    Blame the businessmen who took over luxury brands and decided to treat it like a capitalist buisness instead of an exlusive fashion house for the elite. *cough* Gucci *cough*