Updated: May 16, 2019
A basic tenet of economics is that human wants are unlimited. The free market has provided an incredible and ever-expanding array of products and services to provide for these wants. This has culminated of late in brands such as Zara promoting ‘fast fashion’ – where you buy cheap clothes that are designed to be discarded after only a few months as a new range comes into vogue.
But while this model is wonderful for Zara’s profits, it is totally unsustainable for our planet. Now, given the overwhelming evidence of the damage we are doing, it has become apparent that we can no longer go on simply buying and disposing of vast quantities of ‘stuff’. We have to change the way that we live.
So does that mean that we have to buy boring products from which we derive little pleasure? Just the opposite! If we focus on buying high quality products that will last us a lifetime, we enrich our lives without over-taxing our environment. We also live a more minimalist life – free of the clutter of belongings for belongings sake.
A few days ago I had a conversation with my sister. When my father turned 65 he retired. My sister asked him what he wanted as a birthday/retirement present and he said a high-quality fountain pen. He chose the pen in 2000.
Sadly, my father passed away 10 years ago. But my sister carries and uses the pen every day. She treasures the pen both as a link to the memory of our father, but also as a beautiful writing implement. And even if this pen may not have been made of entirely recyclable materials, if it lasts for a lifetime then it has proved to be a very environmentally friendly product.
So for us, luxury minimalism is about enjoying life in a sustainable way. By buying beautiful things that we need and that fulfill the purpose we desire, we remove the need to constantly replace or acquire more. And every time we engage with these luxury items we feel a thrill of pleasure as we experience the beauty, the quality and the sheer suitability of these products to our lives.