In an extremely interesting article, Eugene Rabkin mulls over the changing face of luxury (https://www.highsnobiety.com/p/luxury-fashion-appeal-lost-today/).
Luxury houses have long sought to shift product but avoid brand dilution. The balance has often been difficult. The new strategy is going swimmingly, the only real cost, justice.
Supreme led the way: keep cheap stuff scarce. Rabkin gives the example of plastic pool sliders. Brands pay a few dollars for a pair, attach the logo, and then sell at a tremendous mark up. Managing the scarcity remains a delicate matter.
The real cost is justice as traditional luxury products used to entail high wages for labour. As Rabkin points out, an irony of the moral criticism of elitism lodged against luxury companies — which is helping to drive the new business plans of cheaper, democratic goods — is the weakening of high paying jobs.
Here’s an important quote: “Few luxury fashion consumers today care about quality — they gladly buy $700 sneakers while cobblers everywhere are going out of business because most people no longer wear leather shoes.”
This is not just shallow moral reflection diminishing workers’ dignity, it is part of the drive against privilege. For the sake of justice, that drive must needs be resisted. See Kolnai’s treatment of privilege for a fuller understanding of its essential moral standing (V&R, Chapter 7).