‘Producing Luxury’

Journal of Design, Business & Society, Volume 4.2, published by Intellect

Editor: Veronica Manlow, Brooklyn College

How sustainable is a luxury model dictated to by fashion and business, which requires ever-larger segments of the global population to consume and produce luxury, in faster cycles? What are the costs of continuing along this trajectory, and indeed what are the forces that create and fulfill the desire for luxury, and that uphold its existence in a variety of incarnations along a continuum stretching from the bespoke and rarefied to “new” luxury?

The irony of the “democratization” of luxury is subject to analysis as is the mythology of labor, upheld by marketing, media and public relations where ground level operations in stores are aspirational and while production, which happens a layer below the surface, is obscured. It is at the level of production where artisans practice their craft and where others perform labor. It is here that costs may be cut and workers deskilled and labor subject to the logic of scientific management. It is also the point at which artisans and factory workers alike may be integrated into the culture and philosophy of the company in a way that enriches their lives.

This special issue of Design, Business & Society takes an in-depth look at work, cities, and consuming markets within the field of luxury encompasses new and established firms with a contemporary or long heritage, from conglomerates to small independent firms, to “new” luxury, and emerging models with innovative practices. How is the industry structured with respect to customers, location and labor? Articles addressing issues such as-What hierarchies are in place? Why did this luxury brand choose this site location? How does a retailer’s site selection impact the labor market chosen for employment? Do luxury retailers employ individuals to reflect their customer base? How do people in a variety of positions from professional to service and labor classifications experience their day-to-day reality? What is it like to work behind the scenes in ateliers, factories, in facilities, and in support positions such as merchandising, visual display, technology support and strategy? How do those who work on the front lines with the public perform their roles and how do they relate to corporate directives?  Is working in the luxury retail industry more glamorous than working in the mass retail industry?

Themes include:

  • Craft and the handmade
  • Branding, marketing and communication
  • The retail environment
  • Fashion
  • Sourcing and production
  • Sustainability

The first issue: 4.2 ‘Producing Luxury’ is available here

The second issue: 5.2 ‘The Space of Luxury’ is available here