Luxurious fashion popular with young people: where this trend comes from

Passers-by stroll through the center of Hamburg. Photo: Daniel Reinhardt / dpa

They dance, sing and advertise products in line with the latest trends. 19-year-old influencers Lisa and Lena have about 17.5 million followers on their Instagram account “lisaandlena”. Fashion is her business.

Luxury brands still appear in over 2,000 posts. Expensive brands are also a problem for the influencer Sami Slimani, who poses in front of the camera with handbags, perfumes or clothes. About 1.3 million followers are following the 32-year-old (as of June 1, 2022).

Demand at “record levels” – despite Corona

According to fashion experts, luxury fashion for young people seems to be keeping an eye on the pulse. The young generation craves high-end fashion – and the industry seems to be getting there.

The Cologne Institute for Retail Research (IFH) has seen for years that brand liking tends to decline, but has recently increased again during the pandemic and is very high, especially among young people. “The luxury industry, I can see, has suffered less from Corona. Many large manufacturers have even benefited, ”says IFH’s fashion expert Hansjürgen Heinick.

In January, the French luxury goods group LVMH announced that it was doing better in 2021 than it was before the krone pandemic. Annual revenues increased by almost 44 percent compared to 2020 to 64.2 billion euros. The company, known for brands such as Louis Vuitton, Hublot and Givenchy, had annual sales of almost 53.7 billion euros in 2019, i.e. before the pandemic. Demand for fashion and leather goods in particular would reach ‘record highs’ in 2021.

Rapid demand for the luxury brands Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta gave the luxury group Kering a leap in sales and profit last year, it announced in February. In 2021, the French company not only surpassed Corona 2020, but also reached its peak of development in 2019. Sales increased to a good 17.6 billion euros in 2021 – a good third more than in 2020 and by 11 percent. more than in 2019

Expert: Brands provide some orientation

Why are people buying more luxury fashion – despite the pandemic? IFH expert Heinick is guessing. “I believe some purchases may have been seen as a way to treat yourself to something special from time to time.” Overall, young people have a much greater likeness to the brand than older people. Brands, even expensive brands, give them a certain orientation.

According to Carl Tillessen, a trend analyst at the German Fashion Institute (DMI), in the 20th century it was still possible to count on buying the lower class in the lower price segment, the middle class in the middle segment and the upper class in the upper price segment. But this “box thinking”, this idea of ​​”adequate” consumption, is no longer relevant in the 21st century.

“The older, established generations and the younger, aspiring generation don’t live in separate consumer worlds that don’t touch each other,” he says. On the contrary: older people definitely want to participate in bargain hunting, and younger people insist on participation in luxury.

A survey by the German Fashion Association in November 2021 confirms this trend. When asked what clothes hang in the wardrobe at home, it shows that especially young people have a luxurious style of dress. At 13 percent, 18- to 29-year-olds are ahead of all other generations.

Focus on the young target audience

According to the study, these young buyers are also thriving in stationary commerce, but: 71 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds shop at the branches of inexpensive vendors. “That would be a bit of a contradiction to that, but it’s not because the young buyer groups do both,” says Tanja Croonen, spokeswoman for the German Fashion Association.

Trend analyst Tillessen has an explanation for this buying behavior of the younger generation. “On the one hand, cheap consumption and, on the other hand, buying exclusive goods satisfy us in such different ways that young people do one thing but don’t want to give up the other,” he says.

According to Heinick, luxury brands are now more geared towards a young target audience. “For a long time, big luxury brands have been synonymous with timeless elegance. Today they deal with much more young topics » This can be seen, for example, in the “casualization trend”, according to which fashion is more sporty, more comfortable and more casual.

Influencers play a role

According to a spokeswoman for the fashion association Croonen, the behavior of the media also influences the consumption of young people. Social media and influencers play an important role in purchasing. On the other hand, the stars on TV don’t have as much influence as they used to be.

According to trend analyst Tillessen, it is often unclear to the often very young followers of some influencers whether influencers can buy luxury goods because they are so successful – or if they are so successful because they have bought luxury goods.

With prices that aren’t exactly affordable, you might wonder how young people in particular can afford luxury items. Fashion expert Heinick sees second-hand fashion as a possible explanation. “Second-hand luxury brands are the trend right now.”

In addition, some luxury goods are real investments, according to Axel Augustin, spokesman for the Federal Association of Textile Retailers (BTE), so buying them is worthwhile – even for younger people. “Consumption is always a bit of escapism.”

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