Darling, Can We Reinvent Luxury?
In the past when I heard the word luxury, I used to imagine private jets and pure excess. The mere thought of enjoying luxury filled me with guilt.
Which isn’t surprising since, between Pascal and I, we have 4 degrees and 2 diplomas, not to mention countless courses and workshops, that all highlighted the many ways people and planet are harmed by excessive consumption.
But here’s the thing. Despite all the social and environmental justice knowledge Pascal and I gathered, we still loved things that went beyond our basic needs. We still desired luxury.
I’ve paid close attention to this desire of ours and I’ve come to this conclusion: it’s time to reinvent luxury.
Beyond the Basics
Let’s begin with acknowledging that as humans we love beauty and meaning. Think of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. There’s the basics of food, shelter, clothing and safety but as we climb up the hierarchy, and we all deserve this climb, we yearn for creativity, connection and self-expression.
I think this yearning is what’s behind our very human desire for luxury. We want to climb the hierarchy. We want to bask in pleasure, express ourselves and be infatuated with the world around us.
In other words, we want to live la bonne vie.
La Bonne Vie
Ahhhh the good life…
Long, delicious dinners with friends and family.
A delectable glass of wine. Really good chocolate.
Beautiful clothes to wear (and lovingly repair) for years to come.
Quality, handcrafted items that are worthy of becoming heirlooms.
Art and culture. Travel and adventures.
We want all of these things…but we don’t want any of them blindly.
Beneath every meal, item, experience we also want to know that we are contributing to a better world.
Every trip to the farmer’s market, every purchase from a local designer, every choice to support the artisan, the B Corp, the small business, the clean-up strategy, the community organization is an opportunity to reinvent luxury.
We all want to climb the hierarchy of needs in our own particular manner and we absolutely should. But let’s make sure we’re living the good life in a way that lets human life flourish and improves the health of our planet. Let’s make sure our luxury is ethical.
At Peace Flag House we’ve dropped the guilt but kept the consciousness. Like so many in the growing ethical luxury community, we’ve decided that the best way to enjoy la bonne vie is to support people and planet.
Are you embracing ethical luxury and living the la bonne vie? Tell us how! Drop us a note below.
PS If you’re as fascinated with the recreation of luxury as an ethical practice as we are, please allow us to recommend Nouveau Reach, a conference exploring luxury across industry and academics happening here in Toronto this May.
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