The rise of Premium Mediocre and Premium Brands
The main difference between Premium brands compared to Luxury brands is that luxury can’t be accessed by anyone. That is part of the reason the prices are so high and keep increasing multiple times a year. But that’s not it. Since 2017, a new concept has emerged: Premium Mediocre. This new concept has been highlighted by the writer Venkatesh Rao. Unfortunately, luxury brands jumped on it. It is a new way for them to attract a younger segment of the population and new customers.
Premium Mediocre concept in Fashion
Let me introduce you to the concept of Premium Mediocre in fashion. The meaning of the word “Mediocre” in French tells it all: below average, not enough, poor quality.
The concept can be explained as “affordable luxury” which are 2 terms that clearly don’t belong together. This will give the illusion to people, and especially Millenials and Gen Z that they are trendy and are able to consume luxury goods.
Items that are considered as Premium Mediocre:
The difference between Premium Brands and Luxury Brands
Let’s take a very straightforward example: Luxury brands are naturally desirable and don’t need to tell you “why you need this bag“.
The second argument to spot the difference between the two is the quality of the bag or item they produce. Brands like Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Kate Spade or See by Chloe aren’t luxury brands. They don’t appeal to the same category of people and the attention to detail and materials used are incomparable. It is a way for people who can’t afford expensive bags or fashion pieces to make their way into the luxury world.
If you remember a few years ago when Daniel Wellington watches were EVERYWHERE on the gram. This is the perfect example of a Premium brand marketing strategy.
Most famous trending luxury brand in 2022:
- Yves Saint Laurent
- Tiffany & Co
- Bottega Veneta
- Van Cleef & Arpels
With Premium brands it’s easy. No stock unavailability, cheaper price and more mainstream. There is more chances you will see someone walking with the same Michael Kors bags around town than with a Chanel, Dior or Gucci bag.
Premium brands are cheaper to buy and perceived with a better quality than a Zara bag for example.
The culture of entitlement of millennials combined with the rise of “customer experiences” rather than product deeply changed the luxury world.
In addition, social media played a big part in it: the curated life of social media influencers that shows you massive logos changed the narrative. The quality of your bag or the cut of your dress does not matter anymore, it is how big is your logo so people can see it.
What is quiet luxury?
On the opposite hand, a new emerging trend coming from TikTok goes against all the principles quoted above. No more logo, no more unification. Quiet luxury is all about standing up for yourself as a unique person with your own identity and personality. Life is not about the social status and appearances.
Ask someone who has and loves a well-crafted bag or watch and they will tell you that it’s all about the quality and the history behind the item. This is why I love vintage items and true luxury products. It’s a love free of hype or pretense, a three-dimensional affair not quite captured in a curated feed.
The French Opinion
I personally think that buying premium brands isn’t a good investment. And buying the cheapest item from luxury brands isn’t either. The quality isn’t better than a Zara or other mainstream brand but they simply cost more because they are considered as “Premium” or luxury. Again, remember, the commodity that are designed to signify wealth, are actually the things that are going to make you less wealthy. This is what people are trying to achieve by wearing these Premium brands that are no different from the mainstream items that you can find at Kmart! They are all about the look and what other people think. Which, at the end of the day you don’t really care about. Craftsmanship and the way item are made should always be prioritized against the instant gratification that you may feel when people spot your ‘expensive bag’. You don’t need that illusion of social status.