For the launch of its new Scarf Bar, where users both online and in-store can customize their own scarves, Burberry decided to educate people on what goes into making one.
When a brand launches a customization service, people (rightfully) assume their options are limited and at least somewhat automated to ensure fast service to the most customers possible. In other words, it can cheapen and commodify—the opposite of luxury.
But this video succeeds in illustrating, beautifully, what a total headache it is to produce a Burberry scarf, while reminding you of its premium value—or, as one YouTube commenter put it, "why it's expensive."
The scarf you customize with such ease and glee will be woven on a traditional loom in Scotland, in one of just two mills that do it. It will be brushed by natural teasels (a prickly purple plant), washed in "fresh Scottish waters," hand-finished and hand-checked for errors.
It's a common refrain to hear that the problem with our culture is that we've become too materialistic, and a Burberry scarf can easily be seen as a symptom of this disease. They're pricey but not out-of-reach, making them easy to consume and collect without considering—or even appreciating—the natural toll it takes to make them.
But there's also a school of thought that asserts that the real problem is that we're not materialistic enough. If we were, we would actually care about how things are made, who makes them, and how the act of buying connects us with a wider ecosystem of natural resources, culture and labor. If these things mattered to us, we'd buy fewer things but with more attention, and care for those acquisitions with the same devotion we demand of their makers.
So, whether you dig this ad or not, we like that it represents a step in this direction: It doesn't just educate people about the history of one brand and one scarf; it cultivates an interest that might carry over to everything we invite into our lives.
That kind of sensibility can help us appreciate the sensation of enveloping your neck in freshly-"teaseled" cashmere in a whole new way.
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