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Pretty Woman, Kanye, and The Evolution of Luxury

Hi, it’s Tony, Founder & Chief Cheerleader of Hammitt. On the Strand is where I share ideas and inspiration that cross my mind. Let’s dive in!

For generations, luxury’s been reserved for the ‘haves’ instead of the ‘have nots’. For the rich, the powerful, the beautiful, the privileged. It’s been exclusive, making many of us Julia Roberts at the beginning of Pretty Woman.

She’s not your stereotypical luxury shopper -- and the sales staff make her feel unwelcome. Big mistake. Huge mistake.

That’s still a thriving part of luxury -- and probably will be for years -- but it’s time for a new philosophy of fashion.

It’s time for Incluxury.

Inclusive+luxury = incluxury.

Luxury really didn’t understand Kanye West in 2009 when he showed up at the Comme des Garçons fashion show in Paris.

Kanye Fashion Show

Guess who was with Kanye that day in Paris? Virgil Abloh, CEO of Off-White and now artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear collection.

What many people still don’t realize is that Kanye and Virgil interned at Fendi in 2009 -- and got paid $500 a month! They embraced the opportunity, worked incredibly long hours, and showed they were ready to contribute and collaborate to great experiences in fashion.

When KAWS started ‘vandalizing’ luxury brand posters with graffiti at bus stops, phone booths, and billboards, the world took notice. KAWS saw what people wanted -- not what luxury brands thought people wanted -- and ignited fresh ideas through his artistry.

I visited KAWS’ What Party Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and it was wall-to-wall packed with young artists so inspired by what KAWS did. The best part? The exhibit is sponsored by DIOR, a luxury brand that recognizes incluxury.

No one can reasonably doubt Kanye, Virgil, KAWS, and so many other amazing designers’ drive to create great experiences. These are the ones saying, “We’re doing great work. We’re willing to learn. We’re so ready to contribute if we can just show the world our ideas!” They broke the locks to let creatives and designers into museums and fashion shows that used to be for the select few. That’s all changing with incluxury.

Incluxury opens the door for new creators, for new luxury owners and carriers, for the people who think and feel the way luxury should make you think and feel.

The original luxury believed in exclusivity, that there are limited resources, limited opportunities for a select few to enjoy. Incluxury says there’s more to discover and savor and express to the world than any of us could ever imagine.

Throw off the red ropes. Widen the red carpet. Make enough room so those who want to create an amazing experience can be there, too.

Imagine walking into The Incluxury House. Just picture an Incountry Club with new art and great ideas opening the doors beyond the ‘haves’ to the ‘coulds’. I can already see the Incluseum of Modern Art. 

And, of course, the Incladamey Awards is far overdue -- where great talent is recognized and awarded for their contribution, not just because they attended the right theater program or actor’s guild.

That happens when we champion incluxury.

Incluxury turns cold sales staff into high-fivers, huggers, and warm smiles. It shakes off the seriousness and welcomes the zest of all the flavors we can find in design.

Incluxury is about saying there’s space in the luxury fashion world to include a myriad of people. Even if we have diametrically opposed views, beliefs, business practices, backgrounds, whatever may seem different, we can all contribute and collaborate toward creating great luxury experiences.

Wait a minute, Tony - are you telling me everyone is welcome?!

The only ones who aren’t welcome are the ones who bring negative energy. The overly critical, the entitled, the gatekeepers - incluxury doesn’t allow space for that. Critical minds, yes, critical spirits, no.

What it does allow is the belief that great luxury can be enjoyed by anyone anywhere at any moment. Our future is stronger, more vibrant, more fulfilling when we can all be a part of a luxury experience.

“I have to go shopping now,”

Tony

Photo: Tommy Ton 

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