News & Views

In the Lap of Luxury

by Kate Hollowood

This autumn marks the launch of Vice-owned i-D’s new lifestyle platform Amuse. According to the fashion magazine, traditional ideas of luxury and its codes are outdated. For millennials, luxury is not about flashy cars and in-your-face designer labels. Instead, time is our most precious commodity. Amuse wants to help us spend it wisely. With a variety of tabs covering topics such as travel, well-being and entrepreneurship, the platform ‘wants you to dream bigger […] To become a plant hunter, climb a Guatemalan volcano, start an art collection, skinny-dip after an all night rave, eat caviar with chips.’ Whether it’s a feature on death metal yoga or an exclusive A$AP Rocky video about imperfection, Amuse is packed with ideas about how to live a life rich with adventure and meaning.  

We speak to i-D managing director Richard Martin about how taking risks and being transparent are key for premium brands to adjust to the changing luxury landscape.

How is the definition of luxury changing?

We’re seeing a move away from conspicuous consumption to being more conscientious as to how we spend our money, because millennials recognise time as their most important resource. When it comes to work, millennials are more likely to follow their passions rather than the biggest paycheck. 

Why did you set up Amuse?

i-D has always had an innate, intuitive understanding of the lifestyle landscape, allowing us to confidently identify new media and business opportunities within the sector. Fundamentally, Amuse is a reaction to the changing needs of the millennial consumer. There is a dearth of digital platform/channels that credibly communicate how a millennial audience aspires to spend their time and money.

What research did you do about your audience?

i-D has been communicating with and garnering the trust and insights of millennial audiences for the past 15 years. We applied those insights alongside independent research and our own metric analysis to extrapolate meaningful trends that helped inform and shape Amuse. Video content is set to form 72% of mobile data traffic by 2019 [Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2014 to 2019]. This insight resonates with the tremendous success and audience growth i-D has had since relaunching its digital offering in 2013, and investing significantly into online video. We expect Amuse’s video offering for a mobile-first, connected audience to have similar penetration.

How and why is video important?

Video is increasingly the most powerful and important medium of telling stories and sharing experiences, allowing young audiences to discover and engage with an infinite number of new perspectives, people and ideas and champion the things they love and do.

Premium production values make the viewing experience even richer. But behind every beautiful image must be something even more important: a brilliant character, a compelling story or a great idea that is thought-provoking, funny or inspirational.

What does smart content look like for luxury brands and is it really that important to them?

Young people are cynical and are used to being advertised to constantly, so smart content for all brands should never be deceptive. Content should be explicit in what it is. That way, consumers – particularly young ones – will be more accepting of brand messages. They demand transparency.
If the product fits the content, then place it within the video. Sometimes, if a video carries genuine cultural currency, a brand association is enough to get young people interested in who you are. A great video with a brand's name at the beginning and little else can do more than a film in which a car or a watch is being forced into every shot.

Unquestionably, video content will be the most important area of media for luxury brands to develop over the next five years. Fashion and luxury is slow to evolve, especially digitally, but as more brands take risks, the more younger consumers they want to target will take notice of them.