Deluxe is one of the first books that I read that linked clothing to sustainability issues for me. Sustainability isn't a specific topic in the book, which is unsurprising given the year of publication (2007) but the connection is present, particularly in hindsight. Deluxe is also a book that offers an explanation for why it feels like we (the common, non-fancy consumers) were suddenly surrounded by everything fancy, seemingly overnight.
The author, experienced journalist Dana Thomas, walks the reader through the origins of luxury, from when clothing and luggage were made to order, crafted from beginning to end by one person, rather than manufactured on an assembly line. At that time, rich artisanal materials and careful, personal process were what categorized a product as a luxury item. Then gradually the great luxury houses such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Dior were bought, sold, absorbed and reconfigured by the desires of the shareholders and the mass market. Over time they became brands, focusing more on profit, production costs, and retail stores, than on the hand-crafted, personalized goods which had been their hallmark.