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Matteo Modica Founder and Creative Director of Sublimio by Matteo Modica 6 MIN. READ 14.12.2023
Matteo Modica Founder and Creative Director of Sublimio by Matteo Modica 6 MIN. READ

Quiet luxury, rooted in global traditions, is reshaping luxury branding. Discover its emphasis on authenticity, craftsmanship, and the profound influence of worldwide cultures.

A new paradigm is emerging in luxury branding, known as “quiet luxury”, and it’s redefining traditional narratives of opulence. 

Unlike the conspicuous consumption of the past, quiet luxury emphasizes understated elegance, authenticity, and enduring value. It’s a response to a world overwhelmed with noise, both literally and metaphorically.

Driven by factors such as consumer fatigue from overt branding, a desire for genuine and timeless products, and a growing emphasis on sustainability and ethical consumption, quiet luxury offers a serene counterpoint to the clamor of mass consumerism. 

This concept, subtly present in the past, has now burgeoned, influencing both emerging and established luxury brands. But what does “quiet luxury” truly encapsulate, and how is it revolutionizing the branding blueprints of luxury?

Understanding Quiet Luxury: Beyond Mere Aesthetics

Quiet luxury is not just about aesthetics; it’s a holistic branding ethos. Brands embracing this philosophy prioritize intrinsic quality and craftsmanship over ostentatious displays of affluence.

In the branding realm, this translates to a commitment to heritage, meticulous craftsmanship, and genuine value, rather than an over-reliance on conspicuous logos or high-octane marketing blitzes.

Brands like Totême and Tove, though less mainstream, are sterling examples of the quiet luxury ethos in action.

Quiet Luxury in fashion, Toteme
Slim suit trousers by Totême

Totême, founded by Elin Kling and Karl Lindman in Stockholm, is a brand that seamlessly blends Scandinavian simplicity with classic silhouettes.

Their collections are characterized by a neutral color palette, meticulous attention to detail, and a commitment to timeless design. Rather than seasonal trends, Totême focuses on creating wardrobe essentials that can be worn year after year.

Their branding, from their minimalist website design to their curated social media presence, exudes a sense of calm and sophistication. Every piece, whether it’s a tailored coat or a basic tee, speaks of a deep understanding of quality and craftsmanship.

The brand’s ethos is not about creating the most products but crafting pieces with purpose and longevity. ‎‎‎‎

Tove fashion brand quiet luxury branding
Florence bodysuit by Tove

Tove, on the other hand, is a testament to sustainable luxury. Founded by Camille Perry and Holly Wright, Tove’s approach to fashion is rooted in sustainability and thoughtful design.

Each piece is crafted with care, ensuring that it not only looks good but also has a minimal impact on the environment. The brand’s commitment to sustainability extends to its branding.

Their marketing campaigns emphasize the beauty of natural materials, the importance of ethical production, and the joy of owning a piece that lasts.

Tove’s collections, characterized by fluid silhouettes and organic fabrics, are a nod to nature and a call for more sustainable fashion choices. Their branding narrative is clear: luxury doesn’t have to come at the expense of the planet.

The Branding Shift: From Loud Statements to Subtle Narratives

Historically, luxury branding heavily relied on logos and monograms as primary signifiers of luxury. However, with the ascent of quiet luxury, there’s a discernible pivot in branding strategies

Aesop store

Take Aesop as a case in point. This Australian skincare brand has become synonymous with the principles of quiet luxury.

Each of their stores is uniquely designed to reflect its location, emphasizing natural materials and a minimalist aesthetic. The brand’s commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainable design is evident in its choice of recycled materials and its avoidance of over-packaging.

Aesop’s products are presented in simple, apothecary-style packaging, allowing the quality of the ingredients and the brand’s philosophy to take center stage.

Le Labo fragrances


Another brand that beautifully embodies the ethos of quiet luxury is Le Labo. This New York-based perfume brand is known for its artisanal approach to fragrance.

Each perfume is hand-blended and personalized for the buyer, emphasizing the brand’s commitment to craftsmanship and individuality. Their stores, reminiscent of old-world apothecaries, focus on the sensory experience, allowing customers to witness the creation of their chosen fragrance.

Le Labo’s branding is minimalistic, with a focus on the ingredients and the art of perfumery rather than flashy advertising. Their fragrances, with names like “Santal 33” and “Rose 31,” reflect the primary ingredient and the number of total ingredients, further emphasizing transparency and simplicity.

Through their unique approach to branding and product creation, Le Labo has established itself as a beacon of quiet luxury in the fragrance world.

Consumer Perception: The Appeal of Understated Branding

The metamorphosis of quiet luxury in branding is a reflection of evolving consumer perceptions. Today’s luxury aficionado seeks more than a mere status symbol; they yearn for authenticity, a tangible connection to the brand’s legacy, and genuine value.

Modern consumers, armed with a plethora of information, are discerning. They’re less swayed by overt logos and more captivated by the brand’s ethos, its commitment to sustainability, and ethical craftsmanship. This paradigm shift is propelling brands towards the quiet luxury branding ethos.

Scarf by Acne Studios

For instance, consider Acne Studios. While they offer high-end fashion, their branding is subtle. Their logo is often minimally present on their products, and their stores have a distinct minimalist, artistic vibe.

The focus is on the product’s design and quality, not on overt branding.

Quiet luxury ultimately reflects the evolving way consumers perceive luxury brands.

Crafting a Quiet Luxury Brand: Key Considerations

Embracing quiet luxury is not a mere branding tweak; it’s a profound shift. For brands on this journey, several considerations are paramount:

1. Consistency Across Touchpoints: from product design to digital presence, the quiet luxury ethos should permeate every facet, reinforcing the brand’s commitment to this philosophy.

2. Narrative Depth: the brand’s legacy, the tales of craftsmanship, and the passion behind each product can be potent tools in the quiet luxury branding arsenal. This narrative depth fosters a profound connection with the consumer (we already examined what makes a good brand story on our blog).

3. Prioritizing Quality: In the realm of quiet luxury, the emphasis is on creating fewer, but exquisitely crafted products. This focus on quality over quantity resonates deeply with the discerning consumer.

4. Authentic Engagement: digital platforms offer myriad engagement avenues. However, the engagement should be genuine, emphasizing education and authentic connection over hard-sell tactics.

Global Influences and Quiet Luxury

The global landscape, with its myriad cultures and histories, plays a pivotal role in shaping the quiet luxury narrative. Brands are drawing inspiration from diverse cultures, integrating traditional craftsmanship with modern aesthetics. This global influence not only enriches the product offering but also adds depth to the brand’s story.

For instance, brands like Mansur Gavriel and Gabriela Hearst draw inspiration from their founders’ diverse backgrounds, integrating traditional craftsmanship with modern design principles.

This global perspective adds a unique dimension to the quiet luxury narrative, making it more inclusive and rich.

Black Collection by Fear of God

Challenges and Opportunities in Quiet Luxury Branding

While the quiet luxury trend offers numerous opportunities, it’s not without its challenges. The subtle branding approach requires a deeper understanding of the target audience and a commitment to genuine value.

Brands need to strike a balance between being understated yet memorable, which can be a challenging feat. However, the opportunities are immense.

As consumers become more discerning and seek genuine connections with brands, those that can offer a unique blend of quality, authenticity, and a compelling story will stand out.

Quiet luxury appears to be a profound shift in the luxury branding narrative. Brands that can adeptly weave these principles into their branding fabric are poised to redefine luxury in this new era.

AUTHOR Matteo Modica Founder & Creative Director Matteo Modica Founder and Creative Director of Sublimio
CATEGORIES BrandingStrategy

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