The link between opulence and spirituality has been eternal. People need spirituality to appreciate what they have got. The more you gain, the more you need an understanding of life to enjoy it. Otherwise, you always feel unfulfilled and unsatisfied. My vision with IDENTITI is perhaps to create a community - a lifestyle - a fresh new order through which we can all live, work and play meaningfully better in human terms.
I am very much in favour of the marriage between luxury and spirituality. Spiritual quest, though often associated with asceticism and renouncing materialistic pleasures, can dovetail with a life of luxury. It is impractical for me to believe that somebody can find inner peace while renouncing materialistic comforts and pleasures.
I personally believe that inspiring the elite can have a ripple effect on the masses. Captains of industry make first rate humanitarians. Having discovered a sense of community and purpose through a network like IDENTITI, a lumber magnate might commit to planting a million trees. The head of an offshore drilling company might invest in renewable energy. A pharmaceutical executive might build a hospital in Haiti. A hedge fund manager might develop a school in rural India.
Luxury can be a source of happiness only when you begin to share a tiny bit of your prosperity, a tiny bit of your achievement, with those less fortunate. Only then will your soul respect you.
The luxury industry is still recovering from the economic meltdown and luxury as an industry has changed forever. The theme of the mass commercialization of luxury that perpetuated the past 15 odd years may have to step back and re-evaluate strategy. The original characteristics and brand attributes that created the following of well-heeled luxury consumers were based on individuality, quality, craftsmanship and service. As aspirational consumers are faced with less disposable income, they will expect more value for their investment. The wealthy consumer will also demand value, but they will become concerned with aspects of bespoke design, quality materials, high levels of service and increased means of expressing individual identity.
To me, the marriage between luxury and spirituality is defining the next era of luxury.