The death knell for bling?

October 29, 2008

In these hard times, those whose job it is to part us from our money in the shops are beginning to describe the retailing experience as a family activity, a way of relaxing — absolutely nothing to do with conspicuous consumption, you understand.

The word “luxury”, we are told, sends the wrong message nowadays and is being quietly phased out of promotional material. Bling is over.

Rory Sutherland of advertising agency Ogilvy even predicts there will be a trend towards the modest lifestyles reputedly favoured by Lutherans and Swedes.

What do you think? Do you believe the credit crisis will have any lasting impact on people’s attitudes when it comes to the relentless pursuit of material gain?

Or will we be back melting plastic in the shops as soon as the “all clear” siren is sounded?


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Though the present credit crisis, seems to be dark and dense cloud over the usually smiling skylike market.Such grimous and fridgid condition can never be everlasting.As we have experienced so many times that,overcasted cloudt sky does not last for a long period of time.Similarly,damaged economic condition generated highly from credit deals carelessly.Human attitudes usually get frightend from any continuing severe problems.It is quiet natural reflections of mental ill or impaired status, those have been exhibited presently through the market slowdown.Such slowdown is not perpetual.

Posted by Pranab Hazra | Report as abusive

Seems to me that ‘bling’ is about looking rich rather than being rich. Drinking a bottle of Champagne, putting on classy perfume or buying a gold chain are still not ‘big ticket’ items relative to rent, mortgage repayments etc. It’s the true luxury that will suffer, like buying a second home, flying first class (when you’re paying) or buying 1+ carat diamonds for your cat/dog.

I think that luxury brands that send the right message, i.e. we make your look rich, will do fine, but those that actually cost real bucks will suffer.

Posted by Nic Fulton | Report as abusive

As long as people are still trying to have sex, they’re going keep trying to show off. Bling is dead? Hardly! Just go to any “ultra-lounge”, and you’ll still see all those same consumers sporting their over-designed, debt-financed gear all over the place.

Posted by The Truth | Report as abusive

one would hope so. I believe the time has arrived for us all to get retrospect and determine the differences between ‘need and wants’.

Perhaps we all might realize that what you have does NOT determine who you are. ….Bush is an example of this……..a moron who walked the walk, talked the talk and amounted to a disgrace for all humanity.

Shameful to be so ………..self absorbed ….self serving………that’s not a great people.

Posted by teri mccomb | Report as abusive

A friend also told me after rain comes sunshine, this is the way things used to be until Humans destroyed their planet. Ask the Australians or Africans or people in Southern Spain if after sunshine still comes rain? We humans never learn do we? Up to now the planet could cope with our stupidity but now there are too many of us, the planet will shake us off like a bunch of bothersome ticks.
Austerity in every aspect of our lives (including the number of children we procreate) is the only thing that might possibly save us on this earth. Those lucky enough to believe in an after-life don’t care about our earthly fate of course…

Posted by Esther Phillips | Report as abusive

Not mentioning any names, but if you had £10 billion in assets and this autumn it’s only worth £5 billion, I doubt if you’ll really be losing much sleep or curtailing Svelana’s trips to Harrods. If you had £2 million and it’s now only worth £1 million, you may be getting a bit edgy and not buying Tesco’s smoked salmon. If you were worth £400 (geddit?) it’s probably still worth £400 so you’re still down the pub.

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

I seriously doubt American habits will change quickly, but if this recession lasts long enough there will probably be a lasting impact. Many of us know people that lived through the Great Depression and subsequently how frugal they became.

In order to pull the country out of that terrible recession great measures were taken, but a leading factor in our recovery was that government sought to employ people and the competition had been decimated by the war. Baby Boomers have been a blessed generation growing up in prosperous times, a very lucky segment of the population. I hope they will be mindful of what they leave behind for future generations.

I trust America has the spirit to recover, but do not think it would not be a bad thing if more people enjoyed simple pleasures, which do not cost and arm and a leg, and opted to live within their means. Would be great if government might serve as an example learn to balance their budgets too! Future generations matter and it is not fair to sell them out for our mistakes. Credit and loans come due and the longer you wait, the higher the price you pay.

Posted by Carolyn B. | Report as abusive

Will the credit crisis have lasting impact? For those of us who have been frugal throughout life, we will make it through economic turmoil fairly ok. For those who are still going to Starbucks for coffee, eating out frequently, paying full price for a movie, taking 2-3 vacations a year by airfare (afraid to explore their own environs), they will be in for a shock when their friends are unable to join them on any excursions anymore, and their adjustable rate mortgage, coupled with uncertain gas and food fluctuations, eats up savings, if they have them.

Overall, Americans will not change their habits unless they really want to. We have been a country whose consumptive lifestyle 24/7 is now backfiring. Once this crisis is over, people will naturally start spending again, but, how much and on what will be interesting to see. I see college students with huge-screen tv’s, laptops, cell phones, driving $30,000 cars, etc. who do not get this crisis! These hyper-consuming, clueless 20-something year olds, unfortunately, will continue to drive our economy (as it unfolds over the next 10 years, for better or worse), as we all do, really. I do not have a tv. I drive a car from 1990, have a CRT monitor, buy clothes at Goodwill, watch movies for free on the internet, changed my diet for the better, cutting out junkfood, eating oatmeal and brown rice and beans every day, as staples. I also have saved money by 1) taking only 2 minute showers and, 2) washing only one load of clothes a week in cold water (my water bill dropped from $36/month to $15/month), and have just had two excellent 10 year-old pair of shoes resoled instead of buying new shoes.

Those of who want to change, will, and those who continue their consumptive lifestyles will do so also. Who is the wiser? A penny saved…

Posted by good day | Report as abusive

Since we can’t “see” people’s personalities, we can’t help but try to express who we are visually. If we want others to think we’re rich (or have the potential to be), we’ll try to show that we are. If we want to hide that because so many of our friends are out of work, we’ll do that instead. I believe this economic crisis will make folks play modest. But if/when the economy recovers, it will go back to whatever is socially acceptable from the perspective of managing one’s image….

Posted by Etherialgirl | Report as abusive