First of all games have had "new game +" for decades now. So your argument that people don't want to do harder difficulties for similar rewards is utter horseshit.
Then you change your attitude saying ok LFR is fine, but the gear should look like crap and hardcore gear should look awesome. Blizzard specifically made LFR because they don't want to make for the 1% only. Even a brain dead 4 y/o would have the sense to realize that includes art assets. Tuned numbers, adding specific titles, a few extra stats on gear, or different color gear and an extra mechanic here and there is all you'll get in higher difficulty. If that's not enough for you and the comradership that comes along with downing bosses with your guild, then it's real simple. GTFO!