How geopolitics is transforming fashion and luxury

The new generation multiculturalism of new Affluent consumers is forcing fashion and luxury to rewrite its creative and marketing paradigms. The new socio-cultural melting pots, differently distributed locally, are upsetting not only commercial balances but also social ones


Global geopolitics in this post-pandemic historical phase has transformed fashion and luxury. It has redefined every one of their creative and consumption dynamics, confronting brands and labels with the need to build new product and marketing architectures in order to manage the continuity of their globalisation. Understanding all this, all the more so today is crucial to deciphering fashions and customs and predicting the macro-trends that are currently underway and about to impose themselves.

A challenging scenario

The geopolitical scenario is as complex as ever. The political instability was due to the war crisis between Russia and Ukraine. This constant diatribe involving China and the United States. The undefined position of London and its post-Brexit identity. The economic alliances of South-East Asia, not forgetting the new multicultural localism growing in countries like India. The rich rivalry between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with each other and with neighbouring UAE.

The Latin American sentiment manifests itself in the ambivalent and oscillating relationship between the US and (especially) Central American countries. Meanwhile, the US population has become increasingly diverse, with nostalgic/nationalist attitudes from Black, Coloured, Latino, Asian-born American, and Middle Eastern origins. These are all elements that give strength to the need to recognise the new cultural values of consumers.

Geopolitics is transforming fashion and luxury

For brands these days, it is necessary to know, understand and respect the cultural geopolitical fluctuations that matter to their potential customers, wherever they are in the world. Brands have thus become the most ready to intercept international moods, which have gone from global to local.

Very local. But it is not the localism of a few decades ago. It is the realisation that new ‘regional realities’ within each nation have imposed themselves (and continue to do so). So, deciding where to invest globally in the coming years will be more difficult than ever, not only because of the geopolitical uncertainty we are experiencing. Or because of the uneven post-Covid economic recovery. The most outstanding attention will have to be paid to the new socio-cultural melting pots differently distributed locally.

Intercepting new (and accurate) local values

Intercepting local values means entering communities, and learning and respecting their values, ranging from care for the environment to aesthetic and cultural nationalism and social desires for gender. All this, considering that there are always more communities to approach within a nation. Result: Fashion and luxury must rethink their aesthetic canons in the light of a new dimension of multiculturalism. They must do so both at the product level and in the way of communicating it, distributing it, experiencing it, using it and managing its second life: recovery and reuse.

Multiculturalism today

Today, multiculturalism takes on different aspects depending on the origin of the communities that have taken root in each country and metropolis. In the field of fashion lifestyle, this new multiculturalism means adapting styles and customs to the different ‘societies within societies’. Multiculturalism, thus, has not the slightest connection with what is called ‘ethnic style’. Quite simply, it is something else.

Contemporary normality is multicultural

This phenomenon leads one to identify the birth of a new society, of normality based on values linked to the territory of origin, but with a global mentality that could have as its slogan: ‘Multipassports is cool’. Being able to have multiple passports allows one to move from one country to another, to ‘taste’ cultures, but also to escape from insidious policies. All this leads to the construction of a new mentality that, in turn, develops unexpected aesthetic values.

An intellectual, social class

The target, therefore, becomes a new consumer – a more intellectual consumer than in the past. Young adults, newly affluent, do not identify strictly with the Millennials or Gen Z category. They define themselves by their level of education and socio-cultural values linked to both their origins and where they have decided to live. Culture of heritage and knowledge of the world are the factors that allow these new consumers to be part of a community. In this way, they elevate their status and, earning what they need to be able to fulfil their values, they become the reference customers for luxury and high-end. It is a consumer, as research by Bain & Co. explains, who, based on their attitude to luxury, is defined as Opinionated.

Opinionated, a definition

He is determined, with great self-assurance and confidence in his ideas. He is looking for products that identify with the ideological values his global and local generation has built. The Opinionated consumer is competent and demanding. His purchase drivers include exclusivity, quality and durability. He is 45% male and 55% female. He lives mainly in Beijing, Shanghai, the Western EU and the US. He is knowledgeable and therefore chooses wisely, with excellent brand awareness and paying little attention to price. He buys often and uses digital devices a lot to do so. He is influenced by social networks but loves the in-store experience and customised communication.

It is absolutely multicultural. And it will be more and more so, as the US Census Bureau predicts, by 2025, that “local minorities will collectively become the new majority“. They will have a starting income of $125,000 per year and they will pay the utmost attention to the defence and transmission of their cultural heritage. They will structurally influence the culture and trends of the places (countries, cities, metropolises) where they live. This makes it essential to change business models, aesthetic canons, experience values and communication languages. To fail to do so is to get out of the game.

In collaboration with Orietta Pelizzari (Cross cultural fashion business advisor)