Step into the world of “quiet luxury,” a term gaining momentum in the fashion industry. But what exactly does it mean, and why is it challenging the dominance of fast fashion? African brands like Clan, Atafo, and Bridget Awosika are perfecting this timeless concept, and we’re here to explore how they’re redefining elegance and style. Let’s dive into the allure of “quiet luxury” and why it’s becoming a statement of choice for fashion enthusiasts worldwide.
The new kid on the block- Quiet Luxury
In the past few years, TikTok has increasingly become a media stakeholder in the fashion industry. The social media app is a treasure trove of fashion content, encompassing everything from the burgeoning thrift culture embraced by the African bourgeoisie to the latest frenzy over fur and maxi skirts.
Now, TikTok has a new favourite child – “Quiet Luxury”. She may seem reserved, unassuming, and lacking in personality, but to those in the know, she’s a powerful statement that resonates deeply. She became popular shortly after the pandemic, with the growth of minimalism across the design and skin care industries. Now, she is on the biggest fashion runways and lifestyles. Suppose you find yourself fascinated by the wardrobe of Shiv Roy from the popular HBO show, Succession. In that case, you’re witnessing a prime example of quiet luxury—an artful demonstration of wealth that exudes elegance and sophistication without being ostentatious.
The Effect of Logomania
The world is experiencing a slow breakup with its obsession with Logomania. Trends are cyclic, often moving from one extreme to another and then returning to the previous trend. In this case, the pendulum had swung so far into the ostentatious luxury market that its return to a quieter scene is seen as revolutionary.
Quiet luxury is undeniably the coolest guest at the fashion party. Yet, the allure of using clothes to emulate the wealthy is a timeless tale that continues to captivate. In a perfect twist, the tale of the rich intentionally dressing against the curve is older. Quiet Luxury and Stealth wealth are the romanticized ideas of how the wealthy dress, and the emulation of the upper echelon is a result of aspiring to be part of the 1%.
The African luxury market is embracing a new era of quiet luxury, where consumers lean towards understated and subtle expressions of opulence. Gone are the days of flashy logos and conspicuous consumption; now, refinement and discretion are in demand. This shift signifies a growing appreciation for a more sophisticated and nuanced approach to luxury in Africa.
The Evolution of Logomania
Dapper Dan, who recently unveiled his Dapper Dan X Puma collection at the GTCO fashion weekend in Lagos, is credited as the father of Logomania. While teaching a masterclass at the event, attendees learned more about his history as the king of knock-ups (knock-offs made with exceptional skill). He would create original designs and then print bold logos of high-end labels. As a black man in the 80s, he couldn’t sell his garments, but they went off the racks when he threw a renowned brand’s name on them.
Logomania shifted from a strategic move for a skilled black man aiming to succeed in the industry to a money grab for established brands. The overconsumption of the early 2000s led to trends like sporting low-cut sweatpants with bold logos like “Juicy” from Juicy Couture.
Logomania fell out of fashion by the late 2000s, primarily due to the domino effect caused by the stock exchange crash. However, by the mid-2010s, Logomania made a bold comeback and regained popularity. A simple shirt with the name of a French luxury brand across its chest area wasn’t enough; the shirt had to be covered in monograms. It was forced down our throats, and when it became a staple in the media, typically, affluent fashion lovers moved away from this aesthetic.
Quiet Luxury in Africa
Logomania’s influence wasn’t limited to the Western world; it also spread throughout the African fashion industry. Once defined by flashy logos and monogrammed names, streetwear brands have now faced backlash for their ridiculous price tags on basic items. The era of graphic tees and logo-laden pants is evolving as the public demands more value for their money. People don’t want to keep purchasing indistinguishable, expensive merchandise without any knowledge of the brand’s history or representation. They want quality and longevity, and because we are social beings, we might equally want quiet luxury.
The concept of luxury in the African lifestyle industry has evolved significantly. What was once seen as shiny, shimmering, and lace-filled is now deemed tacky by the younger generation. The meaning of luxury is being redefined as people seek more refined and sophisticated styles.
Minimalism is a way of life.
Today, the preference is white, just white. The more minimal it looks, the more luxurious it seems.
In the wake of the pandemic, there was a brief moment of calls for less minimalistic outfits, but we can attribute that to lockdown ennui. Slowly, people are adjusting to modern life with the idea of “dressing how you want to be addressed” taking center stage. There is the question, can dressing like the rich make life easier? The easy answer is Yes. Stepping into the shoes of who you aspire to become can be a wonderful confidence boost.
These days, dressing rich without actually being rich is almost impossible with the economic recession. This might translate to quiet luxury being an illusion for some people, but there are certain things to look out for if you decide to get on the quiet luxury train.
Transitioning to a quiet luxury wardrobe
Curating the illusion of wealth goes beyond casting away logos and monograms.
Print & Patterns are important codes.
In the Season 4 premiere of the hit show, Succession, Tom Wambsgans takes jabs at Bridgit’s “ludicrously capacious” handbag. Bridgit is seen with a handbag engulfed in the signature Burberry print invented in the 1920s. Without a logo in sight, the brand she was wearing was obvious; hence they had an idea of the price range.
To be quiet in luxury, you have to be comfortable with the look. Exude confidence and grace while standing tall, maintaining good posture and walking with poise. Confidence is the ultimate accessory that enhances any outfit.
Neutrals always get the job done.
Opting for neutral colours and sticking with inconspicuous hues is a hallmark of quiet luxury. Go for a palette of muted tones like black, white, beige, grey, and navy. These colours exude sophistication and are versatile, allowing you to create a cohesive and understated wardrobe.
Focus on a classic silhouette.
Paying attention to well-tailored, classic silhouettes that flatter your body shape is crucial to achieving a quiet, luxurious look. They create a polished and sophisticated appearance. Aim for a tailored yet relaxed fit that exudes effortless elegance, and avoid patterns, monograms and logos if you’re not familiar with their connotations.
Invest in the right pieces.
Quiet luxury always involves a little spending. In choosing a long-lasting style rather than chasing trends, you need to invest in timeless wardrobe staples. You should invest in a well-tailored blazer, classic trench coat, versatile little black dress, a pair of quality leather shoes, etc. Saving up for quality pieces goes a long way.
Mastering the art of quiet luxury is a journey that requires dedication, especially if you’re a fan of a thoughtfully curated capsule wardrobe. It’s about embracing quality over quantity, investing in timeless pieces that exude sophistication and refinement. Look for understated designs and subtle branding that speak volumes through their craftsmanship and elegance.
Embrace the joy of wearing versatile, classic items that can be effortlessly mixed and matched for any occasion. Focus on high-quality fabrics and impeccable tailoring, knowing that these choices will stand the test of time. Embody the essence of quiet luxury by expressing your unique style in a way that doesn’t scream for attention but radiates an aura of effortless chic and sophistication. Remember, it’s not about following trends or flaunting flashy logos; it’s about embracing individuality and celebrating simplicity’s beauty. So, embark on this journey of embracing quiet luxury and watch how it transforms your wardrobe and elevates your style to new heights of elegance and grace.