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International students in UK flock to join ‘luxury’ members club

A growing number of international students are brushing off the cheap drinks and meal-deal stereotype in favour of a champagne lifestyle by joining a private club that provides concierge services to students in London – with an eye-watering top-tier annual membership of £7,200.

The Luxury Student website is gaining serious momentum on social media and has nearly 5,000 Instagram followers. Photo: Pexels

A Platinum membership promises the opportunity to be taken care of "in every single way" for an annual fee of £7,200

Out of more than 500 members of the Luxury Student website, “the majority” are international students coming from countries in Europe, the Middle East and across the US, The PIE News has learned.

“It’s aimed at anyone who isn’t interested in those typical student nights out”

The website describes itself as a “membership site for students who appreciate the luxury industry”, and welcomes undergraduates, postgraduates, mature students, part-time students, bloggers or influencers to join – for a fee.

The club has three package levels, from a basic membership at £5 per month to a more exclusive VIP level that includes private fashion consultations, a PA service and a concierge service at nightclubs for £50 per month.

For those with particularly expensive tastes, there is a Platinum membership which promises “intense luxury” for £600 per month, or the opportunity to be taken care of  “in every single way” for an annual fee of £7,200.

Founder of Luxury Student Aileen Gilani told The PIE that she launched the service to help students who enjoy the champagne lifestyle receive a VIP service where ever they go.

Gilani, 26, who studied at Oxford Brooke’s University said she came up with the idea for the website while she was blogging during her post-graduate degree in law and was surrounded by “a lot of wealthy international students”.

“I loved the luxury industry and I knew many others who did too, so I was curious to see how I could create a career out of it,” said Gilani, who runs the business alongside a PR agency, partners, and several brand ambassadors.

“The majority of members are international students, and we have a large number of fashion students, PR students, and even economics students and student nurses – it all just depends on what they want from their student life.”

While upper tier membership includes styling opportunities for members from brands including Jimmy Choo, Fendi and D&G, Gilani told The PIE that it wasn’t always easy to convince luxury partners that students had the cash to burn.

“We have a large number of fashion students, PR students, and even economics students and student nurses”

“I had to show the brands that many students are not on a budget or trying to save money,” she explained.

“[Students’] spending habits are different now, and we encourage students to spend their money wisely on quality rather than on short-term needs.”

The Luxury Student website is gaining serious momentum on social media and has nearly 5,000 Instagram followers where the founders post information about upcoming deals and events to its members.

However, the connection between international students and extravagant lifestyles became a contentious issue earlier in 2018 when tongue-in-cheek series of rich international student ‘memes’ became a talking point on social media websites.

But Gilani said criticism is to be expected when promoting the idea of spending money on designer goods or exclusive event access.

“We had to show the brands that many students are not on a budget or trying to save money”

“We have had people come to us who are very against the fact that yes, some students enjoy luxury. I think there always are going to be people who won’t enjoy our platform because luxury is not something that people are always proud to talk about openly.

“But we encourage students to spend their money wisely on quality rather than on short-term needs,” she added.

Gilani is also quick to add that members are not only accepted on the basis of how much money they have.

“It’s aimed at anyone who isn’t interested in those typical student nights and instead they want to enjoy those private in-store luxury events,” she told The PIE.

“We hope to expand to even more countries and we want to show that regardless of money, status or background, any interested student should have the right to enjoy a taste of luxury.”

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