One might reasonably expect a T-shirt costing US $400,000 (HK$3.2million/ 2.5 million RMB) to be a gaudy explosion of way too many extravagant, taste-free elements aimed at the ascetically impaired. But gaze upon the seductive noir elegance of Superlative Luxury’s reinvention of the most casual item in everyone’s wardrobe and what you get is this: low-key, chic, a celebration of whispered quality over the deafening Shout Out, a sound at least temporarily doomed to the dustbin of history and fashion as the Great Recession rolls on…and on.

At least that’s what Lewis Matthews, Founder of Superlative Luxury, predicts. “Products for the luxury market have become visually intrusive and too loud. Our products are, and will always be, designed not to be obvious but classy – how true luxury should be. Yes, the t-shirt is illustriously decorated with 16 certified handset diamonds with 8 white diamonds each over 1ct and 8 ‘enhanced’ black diamonds also over 1ct each. But each diamond commands exquisite colour, clarity, cut and lustre. Each diamond is an example of natural beauty.

“The cotton is from farms which harvest by hand, without mechanization, and because organic farming does not use petroleum based chemical fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide it is less reliant on fossil fuels (which means less green house gases). My cotton supplier is highly ethical and is certified under the Global Organic Textile Standard (by Control Union and Soil Association) and by the Fair Wear Foundation for ethical practices throughout its supply chain.  For instance we refuse cotton from Uzbekistan where the use of forced child labour is endemic.”

Matthews believes high-end desirability can be achieved without ravaging the environment, increasingly a non-negotiable must for the older, as well as younger, wealthy. “I realise the first attribute talked about was the cost, but very soon after the launch people were discussing the new technology used to reduce C02 emissions by 90% and the 100% organic cotton material. It is our brand objective to prove that beautiful products can be created without damaging the beauty of our world.”

Each too-cool-for-school Tee is bespoke to size and takes up to 28 days for delivery. Shipping is guaranteed and there’s a one-year insurance policy. And orders? “Oh, piling up” Matthews says, as if a T-shirt worth $400,000 was the most natural thing in the world…and in this case sort of is.

…More stories like this are available in Quintessentially Asia.