Pharrell Williams: The Future of Luxury Is 'Freedom'
"The thing is these days one of the greatest luxuries of all is time. And sometimes I just want to efficiently pop into a store and have a look around.
I don't need a sales associate to assist me with that and I don't want to wait in a line."
- Imran Amed, BoF founder and editor-in-chief
It seems like nowadays no one can actually define what luxury is! A growing trend I have seen recently is that disconnecting from social media and technology is a new luxury. Not too long ago, quite luxury was the way to go, until the Barbie craze came and whipped it all out. I wonder why we are now struggling to define luxury! It used to be easy! Expensive things are luxurious things, but that’s the point, things, we have a lot of things, and we still need many things, it’s clear that in an age of AI, Virtual Reality, NFT, and cryptocurrencies we are confused between what is reality and what is ….. non-reality! We live so many lives that intertwine blurring the lines between them, that’s if those lines exist actually.
What I feel is happening is a move from physical luxury to emotional luxury. Today, we need time, we need freedom, we need space, we need zoning out, that’s why we see the off-grid trend, quiet rooms, and sleeping apps; sleeping deeply is a luxury now, not worrying is a luxury, changing careers without risk is a luxury, my view is luxury has truly become a lifestyle than an actual item. A luxurious lifestyle is a lifestyle where you don’t worry.
If you think about it, most of us living in stable countries (our thoughts and prayers to our brothers in Palestine and all Arab countries suffering) have more than the essentials of food, water, electricity, and internet. We probably live in a nicely decorated house, cook or eat clean tasty meals, wear beautiful clothes, have jobs, and cars, travel, go out, party, sleep on a comfortable bed, with good bedding, have excellent self-care products, good power showers, and hopefully all healthy or at least have the medical care we need in terms of drugs or facilities. Have mobiles, connections, laptops, and tech gadgets. In a way, we already live a luxurious lifestyle in terms of amenities, but we got so used to it that it’s not luxury anymore. This might be the issue. In my view, luxury today is not one thing, it’s many different things. Some are physical, some are emotional, some are spiritual, and some are mental. For me, the fact that I can sleep in on Saturday is the luxury I need after a hectic week. Finding myself bored and snoozing or in drifting thoughts is a luxury. Staying home without fear of missing out is a luxury. Having memories of a good life is a luxury.
And finally, in some strange way, while observing how all the Arab countries show their support to Palestine and how for decades we all have had that shared cause to liberate our land, I couldn’t help but realize that we as the Middle East have a rich and deep history with roots firmly in the ground, our identity, our heritage, our culture, our values…. That’s our collective luxury.