Luxury, innovation and technology have always been intertwined. Whether it be through the manufacturing techniques developed during the eighteenth century or the emergence of digital processes that impact on design, craftsmanship and production today. Circular economic models address the need to be aware of the impacts of our actions on the production of goods and services. Technology continues to influence our lives and decision making processes. Data driven information informs and enhances our understanding of the customer and can provide goods and services to address their needs. This is in contrast to mass produced 'services' that through global portals contradict the very nature of customisation.
It could be said that manufacturing and craftsmanship was, and remains, a critical component of how luxury is defined. But is the impact of digital technologies changing our understanding of what luxury means today? Should the notion of luxury be adapted / re-examined? What form should it take that reflects and reacts to the continued advancements in technological processes, opportunities and services?
Current concerns that need addressing include consumption and waste and the impact of our actions on the planet, health and well-being, equality and change. An emphasis on corporate social responsibility has enabled the tracking and tracing of finished goods and the materials used in their constructions, their environmental impact and the well- being of those involved in production as the industry becomes more transparent. Can luxury therefore continue to remain aloof? The luxury customer has historically demanded the best. But now customers are also demanding transparency, traceability and accountability. Through recognition of how mass consumption is fouling the environment we are beginning to better understand the importance of circular practice within the supply chain. Technology can and is being instrumental in organising and defining this new world order. And as artificial intelligence becomes common place and aids our decision making process, how long will it take to decide that the exponential growth of luxury is not the most effective or efficient course of action?
Advances in technology continue to challenge the status-quo where innovation takes precedence and forces change. This change is keenly balanced with traditional craftsmanship and skill. How do these two concepts converge in a market that is both becoming increasingly demanding and disparate? Some, if not all of these issues are pertinent and possibly contentious. With this in mind we welcome papers that will contributed to debate and discussion around luxury, innovation and technology.
We welcome papers that explore links between luxury and technology in all product and service categories including manufacture, online including e-commerce, marketing and the virtual luxury experience, bespoke product, design, materials and innovation.
The 2020 conference provides a platform to continue to expand our understating of luxury. As with previous conferences we welcome contributions from various disciplines and practices including automotive, architecture, engineering, fashion, product, digital design, retail, hospitality - all of which explore luxury through a critical lens to encourage debate.
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School of Creative Arts, College Lane, Hatfield, AL10 9AB, UK.
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