It is a well known fact in the fashion industry that haute couture can only be afforded by the very wealthy. Thanks to the world of ‘knock-off’ fashion, the extraordinary becomes affordable. Therefore, this blog post provides some really surprising financial examples of this in the handbag industry.
As Meryl Streep deliberately explains to Ann Hathaway in, ‘The Devil Wears Prada‘, the extraordinary births the ordinary. Meryl Streep describes the origins of a shabby blue sweater that Anne Hathaway is wearing. Its history is from glamorous haute cuttiere. Anne Hathaway is totally oblivious to this. At this stage in the movie, Anne has no idea that the the ordinary is inspired by the extraordinary.
WILD ABOUT HANDBAGS
Although I am not devotee of high fashion clothing, I am wild about handbags. Therefore I have been studying the world of glamour in this industry. One of my favorite companies is Rebag. I have been introduced to luxury handbags through their social media and website. This adds to the knowledge I already have to what I consider affordable quality handbags including Coach, Dooney and Bourke, and Kate Spade.
HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS
Since I have only been able to encounter handbags in the hundreds in person, I can only surmise the difference in the cost of those in the thousands.
My favorite Coach vintage bag is called the Willis bag. Because it is a classic, variations of it have been made over many decades. A recent version, in green, and two original designs are pictured below.
They are all high quality Coach products but their age can impact the price by several hundred dollars. Due to its rarity, the vintage Willis is about twice the cost of the new one.
THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS
I had no idea that there were handbags that were more expensive than new automobile or even a house. Even those designer bags have imitators or want-to-be handbags. The designer bags include the Hermes Birkin bags which are six and seven figures. Their inspired versions cost a few hundred retail like the totes from Coach and Kate Spade.
Both very expensive and less expensive handbag companies make whimsical purses. Great whimsy inspires affordability. The most famous of this is Judith Leiber handbags. They are very whimsical as well as expensive. In similar fashion, Kate Spade came out with its frog bag. The former retails for a few hundred dollars. The latter goes for between about $5,000.
These two totes are so similar. In fact, I took a double take when I discovered the Burberry Remington tote. It’s hard to believe that it can cost up to five times as much as the Kate Spade on the right when this designer ‘knock’ goes on sale.
GUESS WHICH BRAND THIS ONE IS
Sometimes the affordable bags are so well made that one can’t tell the difference between luxury, ‘working girl designer’ (like Coach and Kate Spade) or a total ‘knock off’. This example is from the best knock off company I have found. If you’re curious, the answer is in the Sources and Resources section.
As a handbag collector and flea market stalker, I am always on the prowl for that special but accessible bag that the seller is practically giving away. Wouldn’t it be great if someone was selling an extraordinary purse for next to nothing. That is my dream. So I continue to search and collect in the hope my dream comes true.