#CNILux Day 1: A Disruptive Approach to Luxury

Alice Newbold, Vogue Daily Editor, reporting live from the CNI Luxury Conference in Lisbon

The future of luxury depends on understanding what the concept of luxury means to the next generation. To better understand how to approach this evolving market, Suzy Menkes invited two Portuguese innovators to discuss the importance of disruption, and asking questions about luxury consumers, at the Condé Nast International Luxury conference.

Paula Amorim, owner and chairman of Amorim Luxury Group, one of most powerful players in the Portuguese luxury market, has been shaping a “new luxury” since the company’s conception in 1990. The group’s mission is to create a lifestyle offering that pervades every dimension of a customer’s life by targeting a new generation and new geography of customers. “Fashion, food, hotels, resorts, a world of je ne sais quoi,” Amorim told the conference. “In a generic place where everything is done, we give a sexy tone, a surprising attitude.”

A “healthy dissatisfaction” with her business is what has helped Amorim stay on the front line, and her insights into its international consumers are invaluable: “I know my consumers are rare, diverse and complex; they are socially connected and empowered,” she explained. “What can we offer to those who have it all? To those who demand the unexpected? They don’t want product, they want one-of-a-kind experiences, to feel an emotion that reflects their values. The more virtual our lives get, the more we hunger for authenticity, human service, a deep respect for privacy, anonymity, personalisation, tailored product, content and relationships.”

For her, understanding that consumers hold the power to connect and then disconnect is crucial to success.

In contrast, Alfredo Orobio, founder of AWAYTOMARS, has connected with a new generation by remodelling the traditional fashion landscape. Founded in 2015, AWAYTOMARS invites creators to share ideas on a digital co-creation forum. The clever ones get noticed, discussed and developed, and all the people who play a part in the creation are rewarded. AWAYTOMARS doesn’t own a single product – the community of 10,000 designers from more than 90 countries does.

What does the success of this new model mean for the rest of the luxury and fashion industry? “None of us are as strong as all of us,” Orobio offers. “When there is no ego involved, you can take ideas further.” A prime example is its first brand collaboration with Brazilian footwear mecca Melissa, which is now the biggest collaboration in the world.

The fourth annual Condé Nast International Luxury Conference is in Lisbon, on the 18th and 19th April. For more information, visit the website