Ah the great thing about getting out there and talking about AltLuxe is – of course – the people you meet: people who get excited, add to the thinking and the insights, and make it so much better.

The following quotes come via Lisa Poulson, whom I met when I was talking about AltLuxe to the great folks at the American Institute of Architects in San Francisco. (Slides available, just email me).

I loved these so much, I just had to add them to the mix here.

Diderot Encyclopedia definition of luxury: “The use that one makes of one’s wealth and industry to obtain a pleasant way of life.”

(The fabulous) Daphne Guinness, talking about Alexander McQueen: “We need better things, not more. We should not pollute the world with meaningless, unused things when we can make and support things of rare and precious beauty.”

Merci M. Diderot and cheers to you, Ms. Guinness. I particularly love the concept of true luxury being about not polluting the world with meaningless unused things, and it rings true.

Sweating the details: recycling (imperfect) glass at Lee Miltier's glass studio

Sweating the details: recycling (imperfect) glass at Lee Miltier’s glass studio

A recent thread on a luxury discussion board on LinkedIn concerned the topic of whether luxury could be sustainable: and I think it can, if we stay focused on this notion that luxury is about what is rare and precious, and consumed (whether as a product or as an experience) with care and thoughtfulness. I think a lot of people are at this point: they care about what they engage with, want refinement, want authenticity.

The challenge really comes for the BUSINESS of luxury (all those corporatized mega brands and holding companies) which seems to be built around the notion that they must perpetually grow, which so often leads to lowering standards, over-hype, and unsustainable (in both the environmental and financial sense) business practices.  But it would be smart of them to think differently from before, to reframe their concept of sustainability. It’s what consumers – even the ones who are new to luxury and generally the most acquisitive and brand-focused – increasingly crave.

It’s about a collective desire to live better, with more meaning, and it’s out there, big time. And it’s something that the indie/alt luxury world has known for a while.

Thanks, Lisa, for the inspiration!