A university student doing a dissertation asked me today a few questions about the luxury market. Before I could answer her, I needed to know what she, herself, defined as a luxury brand.

I have learned over time never to assume that someone else’s definition is the same as yours. And I was right. Like for most people, she referred to the fashion brands.

I think that the fashion conglomerates have done a great job over the last few decades to market themselves as luxury and overshadow the fact that they are no longer true luxury brands.

Let me explain my unconventional opinion on this niche market.

Luxury has always and will always be about experience.

True luxury is about experiencing something that few can.

When Louis Vuitton was alive and overseeing the daily operation of his store, he had, like everyone else, a limited supply of his most precious commodity – his time.

To be allowed the luxury of purchasing one of his creation was indeed the most luxurious gift of all. The experience made you feel privileged. Therefore, the products were a luxury.

Nowadays, the luxury experience put forward by Louis Vuitton and several other high-end fashion brand is slowly eroding. They have forgotten the true meaning of luxury; the executives have instead pursued the promise of a gold rush.

Let’s not fool ourselves, the fashion business is a good business to be in.

Although the quality of the products is still good, the fashion brands have forgotten to control one of the most important aspects of their distribution – the exclusivity.

When you can find a Vuitton bag everywhere as part of the wardrobe of anyone, how can you claim to offer luxurious products?

I travel a lot, more than the average person.

In fact, in the last 18 months, I have driven from Canada to Colombia, with a few European and North American side trips. Random places, where I have seen a Louis Vuitton handbag, cannot be counted.

I have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of the same patterned bags in the hands of tourists.

In fact, I have been to over 65 countries in the last 15 years, and I have never been in a country where I did not see their handbags.

Luxury is not about a price tag; it’s about an exclusive experience.

I have the Louis Vuitton fatigue, and I am convinced I am not the only one.

Luxury should not be for everywhere and for everyone.

Roxanne Genier