tribe + impact + independence = the ethics of the new luxury

pulse check: earlier this year i wrote about a shift in culture and luxury marketing, about how i thought attainment would shift to independence. about how “i’ve achieved this level” is becoming “i have the freedom to make this sort of decision, to have this impact.”

what we end up with is a formula change: tribe + impact + independence = the new luxury

two ends to this spectrum have expressed themselves… the establishment generation who has money, and then the next two generations out (gen z and millennials) who might not have the money, but have a conscience and expect to know what the agenda of any given company is, and what the implications of that agenda are.

the new luxury is creating a place where the two ends — the money and the ethics — meet.

earlier this week the ny times reported that art collector and moma president emerita agnes gund sold a 1962 roy lichtenstein for $150 million, for the specific purpose of establishing the art for justice fund. “the effort is noteworthy, not only for the amount of money involved — rarely do charitable undertakings start at $100 million — but because ms. gund is essentially challenging fellow collectors to use their artworks to champion social causes at a time when the market has made their holdings more valuable than ever.”

of gund’s game changing decision, ford foundation president darren walker said “art has meaning on a wall, but it also has meaning when it is monetized.” gund is at the forefront of a populace embracing the idea of money in service of meaning.

while the young generation may not have the money (yet), their influence on media and use of it as a tool to hold those with the money to task, may be worth more than gold. as jane buckingham of trendera has pointed out, “there are so many crises in their world, they [gen z] believe they’re responsible for helping. they feel they can help, and expect you to have a purpose in what you’re communicating.”