Remember the early 2000s, when a designer logo handbag was the ultimate status symbol, to the point that not-rich people were either saving paychecks to cop them and/or trawling Canal Street for the best knockoffs? That era is over. These days, rich people think the logo bag is gauche, and would prefer to floss their wealth in much stealthier ways, basically so they don’t come off like dicks.
The Washington Post reports that sales are down at Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton, and attributes it largely to the decline of the logo bag concurrent with the upswing in income inequality:
As the U.S. economy has recovered from the recession, upper-income consumers have largely seen their wealth increase, while middle- and lower-income consumers have not.
“I think as customers have begun to notice changes in their own income and the income of others, they begin to feel a little bit of yuppie guilt around purchasing the logos,” said Charles Lawry, an assistant professor at Pace University who studies luxury marketing. “It’s the idea of not wanting to seem as if you’re trying to brag about the products that you own.”
Additionally, Chinese customers are increasingly disinterested in logo bags, chopping the profit margins of premium luxury brands, while Instagram is inoculating us to thinking anything is cool for very long:
“Social media does play a huge role in desensitizing us to these things that used to feel so special, because we’re seeing it over and over again,” said Aba Kwawu, principal of TAA PR, which works with luxury fashion clients. “By the time things are hitting the stores, customers are over it.”
The thing about this article, though, is that it makes me want to resurrect my knockoff Fendi from Canal Street ca. 2004, because everyone knows that rich people don’t make trends, and nothing they do is really all that cool. Besides, who would want to be associated with this type of person:
On a sunny May morning in New York’s upscale Fifth Avenue retail corridor, Carron Ryan stopped to admire a diamond-encrusted Van Cleef & Arpels necklace in the window of the Bergdorf Goodman department store. Louis Vuitton’s sprawling flagship store was right across the street, but she turned her nose up at its lineup of logo-stamped satchels and tote bags.
“It looks a little trashy,” Ryan said. “It’s better to be subtle.”
Bye, Carron. Catch me downtown with my gauche, trashy crap on full blast.
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