Revelations strike at the oddest moments, something that I am certain many of you can attest to. My latest struck me when I was sinking into a sofa, safely ensconced on the third floor of Appetite (a great new restaurant and bar at Amoy Street that you must visit), listening to a wonderful lady passionately extolling the virtues of the gin that she was about to serve me. I must admit, during most of her monologue, a part of me was distracted by the beautiful font on the bottle until she mentioned the words “thoughtful consumption”.
I’ve been thinking about that idea a lot lately, especially in this era of wanton consumerism. For most of my adult life, I’ve been working in and around the luxury industry, writing about beautiful things and promoting a life of luxury. It’s a seductive dream and one that many of us aspire to reach. And so, for most of our lives, we go faster, reach higher and live further just to attain that level. But, have we ever stopped and asked ourselves why we need to elevate ourselves to that percentile? And what’s next after we’ve reached the top?
I consider myself a lucky recipient of the genetic lottery, having been born in a country that has allowed me to reach a certain level of comfort thanks to hard work and huge doses of luck at important junctures in my life. And perhaps age has also made me question my purpose in life
So lately, I’ve been exploring conscious capitalism, or as the lady with the gin calls it, thoughtful consumption: this idea of generating profit and enjoying the finer things, but not at the expense of other people, the environment or the ability of the future generation to also be able to enjoy their own lives. I find myself attracted to brands that embody this philosophy, of which there are many. They use the finest materials and the best ingredients, employ creative artisans and pay their staff liveable wages, and all done without harming the environment.
Admittedly, the products and services are more expensive than most, but they are always beautiful, made with love and can last a long time when taken care of. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot when I took over the editorship of The Peak at the start of the year. It’s a luxury title with a storied 36-year history, well-known for sharing the stories of Singapore’s business elite. As the definition of luxury has evolved in the past three decades, so too has The Peak’s treatment of it.
What then is luxury in this day and age?
To me, it is thoughtful consumption. It is appreciating beautiful things but taking a stand against unethical manufacturing. For example, I’ve started buying from brands that embrace transparency and educate consumers about their processes. It might perhaps cost more in the beginning, but in the long run, these purchases will last (as long as you don’t grow in size, of course) and you’ll consume less from this world.
Which leads us to the most important point about what luxury is, that it is realising the things you give to the world should be more bountiful than the things you take from her. It is living life on your own terms, unencumbered by the expectations of society. It is understanding that you have a responsibility to leave the world better than you found it.
And helming this great title has made me evaluate the role that we as a magazine, brand and community want to leave on this world. So The Peak has evolved to reflect that new vision, which is about helping people to live a luxurious life. And it’s not only about cashmere and silk. We’ve tweaked the magazine’s design, as seen in the video above, and will be introducing a whole host of other initiatives in the upcoming months (including a new look for the website). Come join us in this journey and pick up the September issue.
Listen to Farhan’s chat with Michelle Martin of Money FM 89.3 on the new plans for The Peak below.