It has always impacted me that grandmothers love my brand. Sustainable, slow, green are words and concepts that you expect millennials to be familiar with but might be too modern for many grandparents. However, grandmas are the ones telling their daughters and granddaughters to buy Wabi Sabi. It´s not because of the style or the eco-friendly fabric or the brand ethics, but instead because of the quality of the craftsmanship.
Grandma´s sales pitch goes something like this: "This dress is very well made. It will last you for years. You don´t see garments like this anymore. When I was young.... Good craftsmanship and attention to details is something really hard to find nowadays. Why don´t you get this dress. It´s a great value and definitely worth the price tag."
Grandma gets it! Yes! Wait, is grandma some kind of sustainable fashion guru?Well, sort of. In grandma´s time if the quality of an item wasn´t good consumers wouldn´t even think about buying it. Since the 80s fast fashion has taken over. Sadly, most consumers today do not even know how to recognize quality. They lack basic knowledge about fabric and garment construction that was common years back. Consumers have become more price sensitive, more interested in filling the closet the with the latest trends, and more aware of whose wearing what among the hottest celebrities.
China, a country of garment workers or sophisticated consumers?
During the past two decades most of our garments have been manufactured in Asia. Many of today´s wealthy Chinese have made their fortunes manufacturing things for the West.
We know what grandma things, but what do the Chinese think about what makes a product a luxury item? Is it the brand? What celebrity is photographed in the clothes? What magazine the brand is featured in? Guess what?
64% of urban Chinese say craftsmanship most defines luxury
A study by Mintel makes a very interesting point.
“When we asked what luxury meant to them personally, is was much more about quality, personal fulfillment and craftsmanship than status,” said Matthew Crabbe, director of research Asia Pacific at Mintel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Craftsmanship is first on the list, coming before the words “expensive” or “status,” when defining luxury.
So what do western grandmas and the discerning Chinese consumer have in common?
They know enough to care about quality of craftsmanship. Maybe we should start listening.