Culture

Luxury brands once garnered association with the elite class being the ultimate pillar of success. Today the luxury market has grown to encompass a globally engaged population of younger consumers who come from more diversified backgrounds with greater spending habits. The youth consumer has dramatically shifted over the years, and to date, its influence in the eyes of several leading global luxury brands has been noted.

Through avenues such as social media, advertising, and increased travel, more and more young consumers have their eye on buying into the luxury goods market. The increase of spending habits from younger consumers is mainly prevalent in emerging markets, as certain parts of the world place high value on brand name identity.

According to Bain and Company, a Boston based global management firm, it forecasts the worldwide luxury market to grow to $290 billion USD in 2015, as the demand for high-end luxury – especially clothing and accessories – rises in emerging markets such as India, China, Brazil, and Russia.

Interestingly enough, luxury brands have not been highly affected by many of the transpiring financial events that have hit various other sectors globally. These brand names have built their reputations and financial holdings by remaining strategically branded entities to their worldwide consumers. As the market for luxury goods is poised to grow, these brands are using their overall reputations to revamp and repackage luxury to the new emerging and elite consumers who have higher purchasing powers elsewhere.

European markets are poised to see a 2% growth, which is considerably low for the region. Japan will experience a sharp 12% decline in the consumption of luxury brands. The East Asian region of Greater China will see growth at upwards of 4% splitting growth between Hong Kong, Macau, and Mainland China. Overall, the Chinese consumer has increased from roughly 25% to upwards of 30% of the market.

Sales in the Arab world also remain strong with an over five percent estimated growth in the luxury market with strong focus residing on the Emirates, while Saudi Arabia now becomes the regions second largest luxury market. Continent-wide growth for Africa rapidly showcases an emerging region for long term growth and vast potential with 11% growth and expansion expected with strongholds in Angola, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, and Rwanda. Southeast Asia comes in at roughly 11% becoming the highest potential earning demographic with luxury consumers demanding lucrative brands in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

The bottom line remains that as growth for luxury brands rapidly slows in the Americas and Western Europe, many of the most important companies within this sector are targeting a newer demographic of young brand-conscious consumers globally.

The increasing changes and connections youth consumers and global luxury brands now share is a trend that continues to grow. Youth consumers are driving how major multinational brands shift their approach for growth and sales; and through this method, the spending habits of the youth market remains on track to grow.

The millennial generation can learn a lot from these current market trends, as they tend to foster the next phase of growth in several of the previously mentioned international markets. Your presence is important in how the market shifts to look younger and to appeal to savvy and wealthy foreign nationals abroad. Understand that these brands will continue to affect your lives and consumption habits, especially as they become more prevalent in greater avenues of young people’s lives.

Currently according to Forbes, the top ten most valued brands globally come mostly from the fashion, accessory, and spirits industry.

  1. Louis Vuitton ($19.4 Billion)
  2. Hermès ($7.86 Billion)
  3. Gucci ($7.47 Billion)
  4. Chanel ($6.22 Billion)
  5. Rolex ($5.53 Billion)
  6. Hennessy ($5.40 Billion)
  7. Cartier ($4.91 Billion)
  8. Moet & Chandon ($4.85 Billion)
  9. Fendi ($3.47 Billion)
  10. Prada ($2.7 Billion)

Image: Blake Bronstad

Culture

These days, Thanksgiving is known for its big meal and is otherwise swallowed up by the rest of the holiday season. However, when we think of it like that, we miss a lot of joy that comes from the holiday itself. It is a day that brings family and friends together and makes them take stock of the goodness in their lives. Everyone has their own role to play in this. Even if Thanksgiving is not your favorite holiday, it has values you can celebrate all year long.

1. The holiday motivates us to keep in touch.

With social media, it’s easy to see what your loved ones are up to throughout the year, but it’s hard to make plans to see each other. People really make the effort to be together on holidays but you don’t need a holiday as an excuse to get together. When you miss someone you love, make a plan to see them. I know work and school can be hectic. However, in the last year, I’ve made the effort to spend more time with my extended family and I’m grateful for it. We know each other in a new way now and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

2. Thanksgiving allows you to forge a bond through food.

We all know everyone has to eat. Thanksgiving is a food holiday, but also one steeped in tradition. People work together in their kitchens to keep old traditions alive or create some new concoction. I love to eat and to cook. Throughout my childhood, I was a last minute helper. I had to contribute in my own small way. Now that I am adult, I do most of the cooking myself. On Thanksgiving, preparing food is not just cooking, it is carrying on tradition. Everyone contributes to the meal. We are brought up on recipes that we learn to make ourselves. It’s a group bonding activity that does not have to be one day of the year. I frequently help my family cook. It takes away some of the work after a long day. Take some time throughout the year to share recipes with others or to cook together. It is a fun way to pass the time with people you care about.

3. Thanksgiving is one of the biggest volunteering days of the year.

Remembering what we have now reminds us to help others less fortunate. A lot of charities put out food for families and the ill on this holiday but people need to eat all year round. Why wait to volunteer one day of the year? There are many worthy causes looking for help during the year. Try one.

4. Think about what you are thankful for.

We are in the ‘now generation.’ We tweet, Instagram, and Facebook to talk about what we are doing in the moment. Most of the time, it’s important to keep moving forward and be present. That said, it does not hurt to realize all that you have going for you. It also never hurts to remember all the people in your life who make your life better. Let them know what they do for you. Again, this doesn’t have to happen one day of the year. When you appreciate someone in your life, tell him or her.

Holidays are a time to celebrate events that happen year after year. However, we don’t have to only bring out these values one day of the year. We can get closer to our loved ones, work together, give back, and appreciate all that life has to offer. All you have to do is remember to try. I told you some ways that I celebrate. Think of how you want to contribute this year.

What Thanksgiving lessons do you implement throughout the year? Share in the comments below or tweet to us!

Image: Lee

HealthSkills

It’s 3 a.m. on a Saturday and we’re pulling an all-nighter and studying for our test on Tuesday and preparing for that big event and planning our next organization meeting and fixing our resume for Monday’s interview and… we’re forgetting to take a breath because we’re on our fourth cup of coffee in the last two hours. Sound familiar? It’s a lot to handle during adolescence and adulthood, when life is already throwing so many new changes and obstacles our way.

It’s a mad rush to pad our resumes, make the cut for dean’s list, or secure the best job, and while ambition is so important in these years, rest is, too. Not the kind of rest that involves lying on the couch in front of the TV, one hand in a chip bag and one hand surfing Facebook on our phone. I’m talking about the kind of rest that allows us to rejuvenate and care for ourselves.

In college, I only gave myself the potato chip kind of rest, on the very rare occasions that I actually even “rested.” I worked my butt off and tried, to no end, to be perfect and the best at a lot of things that looked amazing on my resume but didn’t even make me that happy. In fact, they brought me anxiety. Not stress; stress is normal and can be healthy. Anxiety is not, and neither is perfection. I was lost, and I refused to slow down to ask myself where this lost feeling was coming from, and if it was even real.

That strategy didn’t work. Halfway through my senior year, I became burnt out and depressed to the point that I wanted to throw everything away and hide under the covers for the entire semester. Coming from a school known for its overcommitted students, I was not the only person I knew who felt this way. I was tired of trying to please everyone but myself. I finally began asking myself what was up, which led me down a life-changing path where I made the changes that now allow me to enjoy the things I commit myself to.

You see, ignoring feelings of intense pressure or anxiety, and pushing ourselves to unrealistic limits can lead us to burn out. In order to avoid it, we can do a few things:

1. We must stop and listen.

This means that, when we feel an emotion we don’t like, we don’t push it away and run from it. No amount of ignoring will keep us from feeling what we feel. When we learn to respect our emotions and ask what is causing them, we can really get somewhere. It is this kind of questioning that slowly brings us closer to ourselves and allows us to make important discoveries and necessary changes in our priorities and relationships.

2. We must be ok with what we are feeling.

We have to stop judging ourselves. One of the greatest contributors to adolescent and young adult stress and confusion is the need to be perfect. The thing that can be so difficult to realize is that when we fail, when we’re angry, when we react poorly, and when we screw up, we’re being humans, and we need to try to be ok with that. Otherwise, we will be unable to let go of our fear of failure, preventing us from genuinely, passionately devoting ourselves to what we love.

3. We need to take naps.

Why do they only happen in pre-K? We all need them. A short 15 minute power nap can really do wonders for our bodies, which sometimes need a chance to unwind, regroup, and chill. And getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night, if we can swing it, is key.

4. We need to discover what it is that we love, and make time to do it.

This can be a process, so don’t freak out if you don’t have a clue what it is. Taking a few minutes, even just once a week, to try out something new or deepen an existing hobby is a good first step. It may be trial and error, but soon we realize we can actually make time for these little moments.

5. We need to learn to say “no.”

I know that this one is tougher than it sounds. We’re taught to work and work and work, more than anyone else in the office, even if it means 10 hour days with no lunch break or accepting yet another position as president of yet another campus club. When we spread ourselves thin, we don’t allow ourselves to give our best to any one thing, and that isn’t fair to ourselves. Saying “no” when we aren’t able to take on a commitment is not bad, insulting or mean. It is responsible and smart.

Burnout is so very common among young adults, and it’s important to recognize when it may be happening to us. It can be scary and foreign to admit to it and attempt to change things, but addressing it can bring us a sense of peace, along with the energy and motivation to be our very best.

Do you have any tips for staying motivated and avoiding burnout? Let us know below or tweet to us!

Image: Mike Hoff

CultureEducation

When it comes to voicing opinions these days, our generation has become paramount in articulating difficult issues facing the world. However, due to corrupt and old-fashioned politics, there has been an increase in voter apathy and decline in voter turnout. With fallacious advertisements and discouraging structures like the Electoral College, young people today do not see the importance of voting anymore – oftentimes, they underestimate the power of their votes.

With the midterm elections this week, I hope to inspire a few more people to go out and make their opinions matter. For example, say you prefer ideology that is kinder to those of lower classes but you decide not to vote. Well, for the past few decades, statistics show that those of more affluent households have dominated the voting circuit, and though some of them may vote alongside your ideals, it is most likely that a large majority will not. Go out and stand up for your principles; no one else will.

For those of you who are like my roommate in the fact that you look at a newspaper and immediately shut down: do not be afraid to learn about the tough issues. My roommate justifies her desire to not vote through the fact that politics panics her; she does not understand nor does she wish to comprehend the bureaucratic system our country exhibits. And although I respect her opinion on this matter, this troubles me because people like this live in this country too, and it is vital to care about your country’s politics. What if you do not vote purely because you did not care to look at the platforms, and an abominable law is passed that affects your life negatively? Take the time to educate yourself on the candidates’ platforms and history as politicians so that you can make the best choice for yourself. Just because you do not vote does not mean that the political decisions made post-election do not affect you.

It is astounding how younger generations today are making films, writing songs, and creating art that explore tons of the social and economic concerns dealt with today, and still feel completely apathetic toward voting. For those of you on the fence about voting this week, your voice should not be reserved only to the creative ventures you have. Each candidate specializes in issues that cater to different demographics, so please look into them and discover what you need out of the American political system. Your opinions and beliefs are preeminent in a time struggling to situate itself with rising issues, therefore, take advantage of the chance you are given to express your beliefs.

To get started, check out these useful resources: 

1. Vote Smart: Just the Facts

2. On the Issues: Every Political Leader on Every Issue

Image: Theresa Thompson

Skills

We’ve all got to face the facts. We live in a world where we cannot escape the constant buzzing and humming of phones, televisions, and computers. We may think that we control this technology, but how much influence do all of these devices have on our lives? Let’s take a quick test to find out. Answer the following the questions in the most honest manner, choosing the one you would most likely relate to:

tech table

Now, if most of your answers are A, you’re a little too dependent on technology. If most of your answers were B, you’re not dependent on technological gadgets to get your work done, and you’re self-reliant and you’re willing to talk to other people directly, without a medium of an electronic thingamajig.

In all honestly, I answered mostly B, and I’m happy about that because I abhor being dependent upon anything. But what if I were to answer mostly A? Would I need some sort of “digital detox?” Perhaps I would. Surely enough, technology is very important. I should point out here that without technology, man obviously would not have come thus far in civilization. Not to mention, technology has been around since humans have been around—tools such as wheels, spears, and maybe even fire are examples of innovations man has come up with to make human life easier and bearable. We do not recognize technology and all the forms it comes in immediately, but it does loom in every corner, trying to simplify and automate our lives every moment of the way.

I often catch myself admiring my elders who got their schoolwork done without the help of the Internet. I mean, how did they do it, after all? Our generation is so dependent upon the Internet for almost every single purpose in life: education, entertainment, networking, etc. The possibilities are endless with the Internet. Also, with living in a technologically developed country such as America, Internet access is replete. We go into malls, coffee shops, schools, and offices and receive the instant gratification of Internet connectivity. I’ve almost come to think “How can we survive without the Internet?” The web is just such an integral part of our lives now. I feel like people our age have almost become far too dependent on it, and maybe it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate our life decisions.

We do not need electronic gadgets to solve every single one of our problems. Maybe it’s time to start using other people for advice, books for knowledge, and the outdoors for relaxing. We need to get away from these digital screens that we are glued to and realize that there’s so much more to our lives, and we cannot waste our precious time in front of a synthetic screen with dancing figures.

Before you get me wrong, I am definitely and undoubtedly an avid user of technological products. I use my laptop to get most of my schoolwork and financing done, my phone to look up directions and text my friends, and my television to watch Pretty Little Liars and Discovery Channel. Technology such as this plays a pivotal role in my life. I am certainly not trying to bash technological inventions or those who routinely use them.

However, I have the simultaneous feeling that I waste each minute I spend in front of a computer or television. I feel I could better use my time…I could go outside and take a walk, read a book on my swing, or be volunteering in a local shelter. I have this perpetual fear that I am not going to get all my work done or my dreams accomplished each time I sit down in front of a screen. I want to travel around the world, meet new people, and try new cuisines.

What’s the point of having friends, an education, or even a backyard if you cannot use it, since you’re too busy staring at a pixellated surface? What are we if we do not utilize our knowledge and spend time with the people around us? What if we aren’t grasping all the opportunities which are present to us because we’re capsized by some electronic device?

The only advice and plea of freedom I can proffer is to step away from these gadgets, and maybe be artistic, passionate, athletic, or focused on other areas of life. Technology will not solve our problems, only we can. Perhaps it’s time to start doing that. Let’s not be a lame generation that always stares at our phone screens…let’s be exciting. Let’s innovate. Let’s capture every ounce of our youth and turn it into something special. After you’re done reading this on your computer or phone screen, what are you going to do?

Image: Symo0, Flickr 

Culture

It seems like most of the people my age and younger have that you-only-live-once mentality. I honestly don’t have a problem with the concept of YOLO because, to be completely honest, I’m all for people realizing that we do (depending on what you believe in) ONLY have one life to live. It helps put a lot of things into perspective.

It makes you realize that there are no do-overs; no second chances. Once your time is up…it’s up. I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but that’s the hard truth. Upon reading that, you shouldn’t get the urge to go out and do something crazy. You should, however, try to make the most out of the time we are given on this earth.

That is why seizing your youth is so important. That is why NOW is the time for you to do something meaningful with your life. I’m not saying that you can’t do meaningful things when you’re older but why wait until then? You don’t know what tomorrow holds so there’s no better time than the present to do something that matters.

Don’t ask me to tell you the meaning of ‘doing something that matters’ because it’s your job to figure out what that means to you. We all have different goals and dreams so when I say do something meaningful with your life, I don’t mean you have to find a way to cure cancer or step foot on the moon (although both of those accomplishments would be AMAZING and if you want to do either of those things, I say go for it!) but what I do mean is that you should do something that will make you proud of your younger self 60 years from now.

There is no right or wrong way to live but lately I’ve been seeing a lot of videos on Facebook where young people are participating in the fire challenge, the pass out challenge, and whatever other crazy challenge that’s popular these days. I’ll never understand why teens and young adults are willingly setting themselves on fire or making themselves pass out, but I do know that when they’re doing these things, more than likely, there’s a little voice in the back of their mind saying, “you only live once.”

I get it. When you’re young, you feel invincible; like you’re always going to be healthy, like you’re never going to die and you can pretty much do anything because you’re young, and when you’re young you can make mistakes or get so drunk you get alcohol poisoning or forcibly stop the oxygen from going to your brain so you can pass out. You only live once so it makes it okay to do things that won’t better your life in any way. You only live once so why not go to parties all the time instead of focusing on your schoolwork or if you’re not in school, saving up to travel the world and experience other cultures.

I can go on and on and on but the point is, this generation, with our you-only-live-once mentality, turned the concept of YOLO into an excuse for doing irresponsible things and posting it on YouTube or Facebook. I’m not saying this is every young person because it’s not, but people who do something like participating in the fire challenge or getting drunk at a party will get more ‘Likes’ and shares on Facebook than someone who graduates from high school with good grades or someone who spent their summer in a different country doing charity work. The media also tends to focus on teens and young adults who do things that don’t reflect how amazing our generation is. This doesn’t mean that there is a shortage of young people doing great things, it just means that more young people need to be proactive and do the things that matters.

Once you figure out what that means, DO IT. Don’t just sit there. Get up and make something happen. Take this life, the one you only get to live once and make something out of it. You don’t want life to pass you by because when it does, there’s no pushing a rewind button.

This is why you have to start living now. I like a good party as much as the next  person, but that’s not all there is to life. Your age is not an excuse for you to purposefully make mistakes. If you know what you’re doing is wrong or irresponsible but choose to do it because somebody said YOLO, then now is a time for you to evaluate your life. Too many young people lose their lives because they do not-so-smart things and they feel that seizing their youth equates to doing something dangerous or something that they’ll probably regret the next day.

Yes, we only live once, but you don’t know how much time you have. Don’t waste it doing something that doesn’t mean anything to you. A lot of people believe that youth is wasted on the young because, often times, we take this time in our life for granted. But I say take these years for granted. Only take them for granted in a positive way. Seize your youth. I know I keep saying that but it is exactly what I want everyone who reads this to do.

You alone are the author of your own story, so write a good one.

​Image: morguefile