Sloanes, gentry and the ‘problem’ of the super-rich

By Daniel Smith 

 Elites are firmly on the agenda for British sociology. With a special issue of Discover Society dedicated to the super-wealthy and another special issue of BJS dedicated to Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, dramatic inequality fuelled by staggering wealth is the central issue and social problem of the day. Yet this ‘elite’ are problematic, difficult to name, internally fractured and culturally heterogeneous. Continue reading

The Ethics of the Brand

The Ethics of the Brand

The Jack Wills brand claims to be Outfitters to the Gentry. This article argues that Jack Wills’ marketing ethos institutes a means to achieve this promise. This promise is investigated as instituting a form of heraldry through its corporate program of Seasonnaires and monopolising the spaces and symbols of elite social standing for their branded products. Heraldry is concerned with making the symbols of the peers of the realm distinctive and within an exclusive set. I call this enterprise ‘fiduciary’ as the heralds are persons trusted to preserve the symbols’ sanctity. Overall I claim that the Jack Wills brand seeks this through its corporate program. Imitation-heraldry is a means to create the value of the brand as ‘fiduciary value’, community trust in the products and its worth. The ethic and politics that accompany the brand-ethos is concerned with making the name ‘Jack Wills’ come to stand as an eponymous character that embodies the social actions and unity of the social group the brand outfits. Jack Wills institutes an ethical economy that allocates the branded goods to those within the Seasonnaire economy of distribution, an economy that centres upon upholding fiduciary value.

– Daniel Smith