What was the biggest luxury trend of 2015? Over the past year, we’ve reported on several of them, from the possibility of electric cars becoming popular in chauffeur services to the need for brands to focus on customer engagement. Maybe the right question to ask isn’t about the biggest, but the best: What trend really made us pay attention? According to a recent review by the watchmakers at Quill & Paid, the year’s most significant luxury trend wasn’t material or technological. Simply put, 2015’s luxury market will be remembered for its philanthropic efforts.
Quill & Pad’s review notes that in a world rocked by strife, giving back was a crucial duty for those in luxury industry, and three brands in particular gracefully stepped up to the plate. Let’s review their accomplishments, and how they made the world a kinder place in 2015.
Liberty United & Fonderie 47
Peter Thum is by far the most famous of humanitarian entrepreneurs—in fact, he could easily be credited with being the first. Thum made a name for himself as the founder of Ethos Water (a brand you probably recognize from your regular run to Starbucks), the sales of which are directed towards direly-needed clean-water projects in Africa. After selling Ethos to Starbucks, Thum founded Liberty United and Fonderie 47, two companies with an innovative approach to solving the issue of gun violence.
Liberty United is a contemporary jewelry line that comes from a startling source: Illegal guns and bullets taken off the American streets. The transformation of weaponry to jewelry is visually striking, and the purchase of each bracelet, necklace, cufflink or other piece funds efforts to remove guns and bullets from American streets, particularly in places where children are at risk.
In a similar vein, Fonderie 47 makes luxury lifestyle items out of destroyed AK-47s. The AK-47 is the most widely used assault rifle in the world, and causes thousands of deaths due to its ease of use and widespread availability. Fonderie 47 products like the Inversion Principle watch and the Peerless fountain pen—both made from components of destroyed AK-47s—raise awareness of the proliferation of assault rifles, especially in Africa, and the purchase of either contributes to the destruction of assault rifles. So far, the efforts of Fonderie 47 have already taken 50,000 AK-47s out of circulation.
A. Lange & Söhne
A. Lange & Söhne is a prestigious German watchmaker with a longstanding reputation for fine timepieces. In 2015, they proved that they are just as dedicated to social responsibility as they are to craftsmanship.
Among one of the many struggles to hit 2015 was what is arguably the largest refugee crisis in decades. A. Lange & Söhne decided to do something about it: On the occasion, of the 200th anniversary of the company’s founder’s birth, A. Lange & Söhne announced that in lieu of press gifts for attendees of the celebration, they would instead provide five refugees recently arrived in the country with German lessons.
In the past year, Germany has taken in over one million displaced people, who now face the struggles of integration. As language is one of the major barriers to adapting to any new culture, the help provided by A. Lange Söhne is invaluable. Additionally, once they learn the language sufficiently, they will also be provided with schooling as watchmaker apprentices.
Michael Kobold is another watchmaker who deserves a mention for his humanitarian efforts in 2015. In April of last year, a series of earthquakes devastated Kathmandu and other regions of the country of Nepal. Michael Kobold had already been at work to help the country’s struggling fire department, and after the disaster, he founded the Soarway Foundation, now dedicated to efforts in rebuilding Nepal and providing humanitarian relief.
We are thankful for the efforts of these humanitarian entrepreneurs and other non-profits, like those our luxury limo service in NYC partners with, for making the world a better place. Learn more about the non-profits that EmpireCLS partners with here.
Photo Credit: Liberty United