If purple paint were say 25 or 50% more expensive then people would switch to substitutes but make it 500 or 1000 times as expensive and it becomes a fashion statement.
THE EVOLUTION OF AN INFERIOR GOOD. The color purple is not just a reference to a trendy book for literature classes. It once used to be expensive to manufacture, but it has become cheap enough to reverse its class status, at least to the established residents of the Iron Range and the Upper Peninsula, who coined the term "Finlander purple" to refer to the house-painting tastes of the new strangers in the neighborhood. Marginal Revolution speculates,