Are designer bags like Louis Vuitton, YSL, etc really that superior in quality(17 Posts)
over, say, Marc Jacobs, Coach, etc?
Or is it all about the name?
Personally I think a lot of the pricing is based on the name, I have bags from Chanel, mulberry, Louis Vuitton, Alexander wang and Prada and I don't honestly think there is much of a difference between some of them and some of the leather bags I have from zara. I don't have anything from Marc jacobs or coach to compare to though. Zara's copy of the Chanel boy bags are fantastic quality for the price they have been doing them for a few seasons now.
I have a big mulberry Alexa and a mini version, on the mini one the leather has worn away on the corners, and it is much thinner leather than the big version. It is about two or three years younger than the big one and I think during that time the quality of mulberry bags has dropped significantly while the prices have gone up, I wouldn't buy anything from mulberry again.
The hardware on more expensive bags is generally more sturdy but on my Alexander wang Rocco bag the clip for the strap broke after I overloaded it, the same as a Russel and Bromley bag I had. About £500 difference in price and not much difference in quality imo.
Admittedly my Louis Vuitton bag is a very beaten up and the light leather is now dark, but it was made the year I was born (was an 18th birthday present) and I haven't taken care of it at all. It has lasted well considering it is 22 years old, I haven't had a cheaper bag for that long/that is that old so can't compare, but Louis Vuitton bags don't look perfect for long because of the type of leather they use. The canvas stays nice though as it is very sturdy. With the exception of my Chanel, which I am very precious about, I like my bags to look used and loved.
The stitching on higher end bags is certainly better quality than cheaper versions but most people won't use any bag long enough for it to start coming apart at the seams. One of the ways to spot a fake Chanel is counting the number of stitches per square on the quilted bags as the quality of craftsmanship is superior with Chanel products. The leather is absolutely exquisite I have to say and has kept its lovely new leather smell.
I once watched a documentary on how these fashion houses make their money. They don't make that much off the couture as each client will only buy one or two pieces per year. They clothe all celebrities for free as it's advertising. They make their money off 'normal' people like us wanting to buy a bit of glamour. They make their bucks out of bags/purses/perfumes/cosmetics/scarves. And these things aren't necessarily any better products than high street. Really opened my eyes.
My Coach bags are really well made. I bought them in the sales for around £150 each. They are as well made as my Mulberry one, which cost 4 times as much.
my mulberry bag is very well constructed but I am aware I am paying significantly for the label.
I don't buy non leather bags ever, hate paying money for something that will then fall apart quickly
Some expensive ones are indestructible, viz. Chloe and Vuitton. Not Mulberry.
I haven't time to google but I remember reading that the price of top end bags rose by over 60% in the last decade. To me that suggests the prices have little to do with the cost of crafting that bag and everything to do with signalling wealth. I'm not saying that's always the motive for buying one - I realise some people simply love bags and will pay whatever they have to. But I do believe that's why they cost as much as they do.
If I was a bag lover - which I am not - I would look for an old school brand like Coach and if I was super rich I would pay to have one custom made.
No, I don't think my Mulberry is better made than my Coach, but I do think my Coach is better made than a Zara or Topshop leather bag.
If I'm buying a bag though, it's because I like the design. Sometimes that means paying more which is fair enough.
My vintage Coach bags are almost indestructible and just such thick, beautiful leather. I purchased a newer one recently and it was OK but nowhere near the quality of the 80's/90'. I only buy vintage ones now...
Another vote for Coach though I only buy in the sale.
So Coach bags are good quality? I usually stay away from them because of their in-your-face logo. I guess I should give it a chance.
I bought the Marc Jacobs moto bag and I was looking at it, and thinking this is good quality. So was wondering how much better the pricier designer bags are.
Coach do a lot of more grown up, less bling-y bags, Really but you often need to look online to find them.
Fundamentally you are paying a lot for the brand with a designer bag.
That said, the cost generally does mean that the quality whilst not reflecting the total price, does have to be to a good standard.
I’ve 4 Mulberry bags bought over a 7 year period (Bayswater, Large Alexa, Cara and another I can’t remember the name of but a bit like a modified Bayswater). They cost between £600 and £1500.
I did notice the price jump with the later purchases but unlike pp’s I haven’t had any issues with a decline in quality. The newest bag is now 2/3 years old and looks immaculate despite a lot of use. Equally my first - the Bayswater is still going strong.
Prior to Mulberry I bought bags from places like Hobbs. They weren’t cheap - £200 ish. All of them died after about a year - linings ripped, leather scuffed. I bought my first Mulberry on the premise a good bag would work out less expensive over time.
I do “hammer” my bags. I work in IT so they get laptops/tablets etc stuffed in them, taken on planes/trains, dumped on desks etc
All my Mulberry bags still look good (especially when I’ve cleaned them out and polished the leather
which I do far less than I should )----.
I can’t say hand on heart is has cost be less because I kept buying the bloody things in different colours etc
and still hanker after a navy bag which will be my next purchase. But if I’d stuck to my original intention of one black and one brown bag (the Alexa and Bayswater respectively) it’s would have been a close run thing .
Picture below - from oldest brown Bayswater on the right to the newest red one I can’t remember the name of on the left.
I personally think that a lot of its luxurious price tag has more to do with the brand name than with durability. There are a lot out there that are equally durable but not as expensive as the well known brands. I have several bags that I am proud to have used on a regular basis and have not even shown signs of tear. As equally tough-made maybe, but not as heavenly expensive.
I have this Coach - it's not logo-y or ostentatious. I paid £125 in the sale I think.
I’d agree with that. There are definitely brands out there that offer great quality without the designer price tag.
Like anything it depends what you like and can justifiably afford.
Ultimately I like the design of my Mulberry bags. I’m not under any illusions however that I could have bought bags of the same quality at much lower price point
For some bags/brands the higher price does mean you're getting hand stitched vs. machine. Calves (or exotic) leathers over sheep and lambs. The Rolls Royce of zippers that are indestructible vs. a standard one that'll give up before the bag does. Leather sourced from Europe from cattle that is specifically reared for their hides (so no fence marks, scarring, etc.) and that is treated/tanned under strict health and safety codes that doesn't ruin workers' health and direct environment. Original design vs. heavily inspired by
ahem... Micheal Kors. A lifetime guarantee and service (though over the past 10-20yrs the quality of this has been steadily declining) vs. the standard 1-2yrs.
Then there are social implications, having bags made by craftsmen in Europe (specifically Italy and France who are regarded to be the best by most) rather than by underpaid poorly treated workers in China and similar (see the current scandal with Ivanka Trump, Coach, Karl Lagerfeld, and Kendall + Kylie).
Hermes and Louis Vuitton are rumoured to incinerate every bag that doesn't comply to standard so that there are nothing but 'perfect' versions of their bags out in the world. They also never go on sale, thus the price is artificially kept high whilst many brands like Coach and Micheal Kors work with a two-tiered system, affordable entry bags of lower quality with lower prices alongside their more expensive offerings with which they make their name as a 'quality' brand. Those volume sales are hard to match by prestige heritage brands who refuse to compromise on quality. All those things do amount to more cost but brand names will impact price too, especially in something as visible, and visibly branded as designer bags.
If I'm spending money on a bag it has to me made in Europe and preferably the leather to be too (not all brands disclose this unfortunately). There's no guarantee that it is in its entirety made within Europe but at least it's something. I tend to avoid the US brands (there are a few exceptions like Proenza Schouler and some of 3.1 Philip Lim) on those grounds and at that entry-mid range price level much prefer to spend it on emerging designers who do somehow manage to deliver high craftsmanship within Europe with European leathers and in original designs and are very transparent about their workforce and manufacturing process.
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