I watched this video from Business Insider explaining why Birkin bags cost so much. It also referred to the Birkin as “absolute luxury.” What an interesting phrase. Let’s break it down:
It took one year to develop the Birkin bag from the moment when Jane Birkin verbalized her frustrations to the head of Hermès about not having a handbag that fit her needs. One whole year. It’s funny when you think about how Fashion Nova can have an outfit copied and in production within 24-48 hours.
Luxury is meant to be inaccessible. It’s not meant to be replicated or produced in a week. That’s why it’s luxury!!! Most people can’t afford it!!! If luxury was accessible, everything that’s well-made could be referred to as luxury. That’s not really the point.
There’s no reason (in my opinion) to make luxury accessible. Luxury has had a pretty finite definition up until recently. For example, if I hear one more person refer to Everlane as “accessible luxury” or something else along those lines, I’m going to scream. Luxury doesn’t just mean an item that’s well-made; it embodies prestige and craftsmanship.
It may sound elitist or just downright insensitive to say that everyone shouldn’t have access to luxury. There’s plenty of companies that make durable, long-lasting handbags that aren’t at the price point of Louis Vuitton or Chanel. What you’re purchasing with this heritage brands includes decades of history and the trademarks of these brands. A lot people pursue a Chanel Classic Flap or a Louis Vuitton Neverfull as their first first luxury handbag. What do these brands have in common? The brand’s logo is displayed on the bag.
With a Birkin, the Hermès word mark is displayed, but it’s rather small. Someone who isn’t really into handbags or the brand probably wouldn’t even notice it. When you see someone walking down the street with a Neverfull in the classic monogram print, you know it’s a Louis Vuitton bag, even if you’re not particularly into fashion. A Birkin can retail for twice or three times the price of a Classic Flap–but it’s still a highly coveted bag.
A bag that doesn’t need to put their logo all over the bag to sell it truly does embody absolute luxury. The brand flourishes off the simple fact that everyone wants a Birkin.