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Profits, rants and theories

Found this from Vogue this morning:

WHILE the high street continues to struggle with rocky times, economically speaking, the luxury market is thriving. The day after Burberry announced an 18 per cent rise in revenue,
LVMH is getting in on the act - declaring a 12 per cent increase in first quarter sales, to $5.99 billion.

And it's the business's core fashion and leather goods brands - Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Marc Jacobs and Givenchy among them - that fueled the surge, with the figures for that group rising 14 per cent to $2.16 billion. The US, Europe and Asia were areas of "particularly significant" activity, the report noted, adding that boosting the market share and profitability of its top brands would be among its priorities going forward.

On the beauty side, Dior's J'Adore Dior and Midnight Poison fragrances were singled out as top performers. (April 16 2008, AM)

Leisa Barnett

Hermes also posted gains, as did most of the other houses. All in the midst of a recession.

I read over at Bag Snob a few weeks ago, Tina's Bag- onomics theory. Basically she says that the reason why the luxury bag market does not get effected by mundane things like recessions is that women who buy $8,000 bags on a regular basis are not relying on weekly pay cheques to get by on.

I think Tina is a pretty smart girl

But I think it goes even deeper than that. I think that beyond that fact that the world currently has more 'rich" people then it ever has had in its entire history, and more people who are willing to get themselves neck-deep in debt to portray a certain lifestyle to their friends
(and are those people really friends if that is what they judge you by? Huh?? Huh??),
beyond that, I think people are just sick to death of buying crap.

Does it just not make your soul die a little death to go to a mall, and shell out a couple hundred of bucks of your hard earned money for a "really good brand" and then four outings later the thing looks like shit? Wash something five times and seams fall apart? The color fades, those disgusting pill things start to happen?

My theory is that the world turned into this huge glutton machine when we all learned that we could mass produce stuff on the cheap. 40 years ago mass production meant hundreds of items, most of which were still finished by hand. Now it means millions, that no one in their right mind touches. Until it hits the store shelf with a price tag on it of course and then the masses buy it up and wonder why they feel depressed when they get dressed in the morning - cheap fabric probably has a direct correlation to the amount of serotonin produced by the brain.

I worked in the import business for a bit - I designed and imported all those little 'free with purchase" bags for some of the biggest retail and cosmetic labels in the business. Do you have any idea what the budget for those is? Trust me that when you spend that extra $25 to hit their number to you get the free thing, that you just paid $24.50 too much. I left that job because I honestly felt bad for bringing more crap into the world. I won't even bring those home anymore. If you saw where they come from and the conditions they are made under you would die. Although, to be fair the company I worked for was very ethical in using the best factories and visiting them often to make sure conditions where on the up and up. It still did not take away from the fact that I felt responsible for adding to the burgeoning piles of throw away shit that we all accumulate.

I think people are just tired of buying crappy stuff. Maybe we, as a society, have finally started to come around to the realization that if you buy crap..... well you just bought crap.
Its as easy as that.

Luxury houses are on the rise for profits because more people are buying from them.
It is as simple as that.

And they buy from the big luxury houses because at least those houses keep a certain level of standards. But that being said, don't think for a minute be fooled into thinking that just because something has a big price tag it is great. There are a ton of brands out there trying to get in on this market with hefty tags and guess what?
They are made of crappy fabrics and are of crappy construction, so don't go by price tag alone.

I spend a lot of money on my wardrobe so I am one of those girls who is adding to the profits of the big houses. So you can think I am full of crap myself, but I am telling you it took me a long time to learn this lesson - quality counts. And I figure there are a lot of "me's" out there who have come to the same realization and are just sick and tired of spending money on shitty things. Buy the best you can afford. And if a whole whack of us have come to that realization and there are tons of people out there with disposable incomes these days then guess what?
The profits of LVHM, Gucci group and Hermes all go up.

When I buy something I buy it from a vintage perspective. I have items in my closet that are 80 years old and are pristine and land me shit loads of compliments every time I wear them. When I buy something nowadays, I look at it from that perspective. In 50 year or 80 years will this be relevant? Will it have a chance in hell of lasting that long? Will I be happy to see it in my closet for years and years to come? Will it retain its value? Is it a future vintage piece? If the answer is yes, then the money becomes somewhat irrelevant because I have not wasted a cent of it no matter what the price.

Quality counts

Labels can count

Luxury houses are making money because we are smartening up and are tired of being overwhelmed with crap. Don't except it. Don't buy it. If you are not cash heavy - hunt the outlets and buy last year's Prada, buy vintage from me or your favorite local haunt. Just get to the point in your life where you buy less, but you buy stuff that lasts. Pass by the racks of stuff that are marked so low - there is a reason why they can sell that stuff so cheap.
Trust me - in the long run you are going to pay for it tenfold.

Hell, watch the financials and say a silent Yippee every time you see that Hermes just hit record profits. It means that there is one less dollar that went towards sustaining shitty standards in the world.

1 comment:

Sharon Rose said...

I will second all of that-I love hunting for vintage via the charity shops and boot sales and not only am I knocking a '0' off the end (or '00'), I know the quality of vintage like you say is better. About three years ago, I bought a Louis Vuitton mini bag with gold chain handle from their store on Sloane Street-lo and behold, on the interior, the glue was peeling under the zip! I kept it for a while longer and sold it on EBay, but it just goes to show even 'new' stuff doesn't always run the course.

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