CEO Letter | Luxury in a time of necessity

Luxury in a time of necessity seems like a direct contradiction. As we come to terms with the challenges of Covid-19, many customers are fundamentally questioning what they do and don’t need. Health and safety have quite rightly become the priority for individuals and businesses alike.

Luxury can be as easily described as ‘Creativity’. To that end, Burberry has repurposed its factory to produce PPE for frontline NHS workers while perfumier Miller Harris has donated its entire stock of soaps to Age UK. In addition to housing NHS staff from St Mary’s Hospital Paddington, Claridge’s hotel will deliver daily packed meals for over 500 NHS workers and community support teams across London via Meal Force. Across the sector, luxury businesses of all sizes are doing what they can, where they can, in the national effort.

As a sector we are using this time to look hard at what luxury can and should mean going forward.

Luxury can be as easily described as ‘Quality.’ A reflection of the tremendous dedication, talent and commitment of a highly skilled, highly regarded workforce making sure that the very best of British goods and manufacturing keep their place amongst the very best in the world.

Luxury can be as easily described as ‘Craftsmanship.’ It is and always will be a people business. We rely on the exceptional talent, skill and consistency of those men and women across the sector who are able to elevate what they do to an art form. They make the useful beautiful and the beautiful useful – there is a role for moments of both in life.

Luxury can be as easily described as ‘Made to Last.’ It can be handed down. Repaired. Sold on and become new to someone new. Through sourcing the very best materials, staying committed to traditional, labour-intensive techniques and now investing in world-leading initiatives in sustainable practices, British luxury is at the forefront of ensuring our luxury goods last a lifetime at least.

On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of employees, employers and suppliers who make up the British luxury sector, thank you. We are proud to be household names, to be in your homes and lives. Thank you for your custom over the years and your consideration in the future. As soon as we can get back to work and to doing what we do best, we will.

Helen Brocklebank, Chief Executive

Walpole protects, promotes and develops British luxury, a sector worth £48 billion to the economy, and employing 158,000 people in the UK. Walpole’s members include 250 of the finest brands in Britain, such as Burberry, Bentley, Bremont, Claridge’s, DAKS, The Dorchester, dunhill, Fortnum & Mason, Gleneagles, Harrods, Mulberry, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, The Savoy, Smythson and Wedgwood.