A new brand from Japan defines luxury through scarcity

Scarcity is paramount to luxury fashion, a powerful driver for brands like Hermès, where five-figure handbags can only be acquired by joining a waiting list.

When things are unavailable “we need to fight harder to get them,” Kelly Goldsmith, a behavioral scientist and associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University whose research focuses on scarcity, tells Bloomberg.

Luxury, at its very essence, should have surplus demand and less supply, and not just marketing the illusion thereof.

In the age of abundance, where nearly everything the heart desires can be bought with a click, hard-to-find items, limited editions, or simply small productions define the experience of luxury at its most finite granularity.

Luxury brands have long been experts at marketing scarcity, but some labels have made genuine exclusivity part of their business model. Antos Tokyo, an emerging label founded by Dutch Polish designer Rafal Antos, creates high-end accessories and garments using upcycled silk from vintage kimonos fabrics. Their exclusivity lies in the fabric Antos sources, which he painstakingly travels all over Japan to find. As each roll of printed silk is both a one-off and just 12 meters in length, in terms of luxury by scarcity, only two outerwear garments or twelve small bags can be made from each print. The unique properties of each fabric mean they cannot be reproduced or replicated.

Of course the notion of luxury is not just linked to scarcity, but also craftsmanship and the timeless appeal of the product. As in the case of Antos Tokyo, each items is made by Japanese artisans and small studios where mass production or scaling is simply not possible. Print lovers would do well to snap them up when they can.

Image courtesy Antos Tokyo

A new brand from Japan defines luxury through scarcity


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