Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, professor at the University of Southern California and author of The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class, proposes there is a new global elite focused on discreet, inconspicuous consumption. She told the Times, “One of the interesting distinctions between the aspiration class and conventional elites, it’s not about overt materialism,” she says. “It’s not about showing wealth; it’s about showing awareness and knowledge. It’s about cultural capital.”
This new category of consumers are defined as highly educated and defined by cultural capital rather than income bracket—while they are not necessarily the uber-wealthy 1%, they are still pretty rich. While they may not be buying couture fashion, private jets, or yachts, they do have the discretionary income to buy organic clothing, hire nannies and tutors, and go to Pilates and yoga classes. Brands still matter to this new global elite; however, it’s not flashy luxury brands that represent status for them, it’s those that are socially conscious and environmentally aware.
Read the full article in the Times.
Photo: Clem Onojeghuo via Unsplash.