Do you prefer big logos on your purse, or unique designs that stand out from the crowd?
For the younger crowd, accessible luxury houses such as Michael Kors, Kate Spade and Coach have become their go-to brands because they give the middle class market a chance to experience luxury without breaking the bank. These designer brands have carved out their own market by being an entry-level option into the luxury world, as they are much more affordable than higher-end names like Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Gucci (to name a few).
But in recent years, niche brands have gained a lot of traction for offering consumers something fresh and exciting, earning for themselves a significant cult following. These independent fashion houses indirectly compete with accessible luxury brands due to their attainable price point, giving bag-aholics greater options than ever for their hard-earned money.
So which better suits you: designer or niche? Let's find out.
But first, what is niche anyway?
The keyword that encapsulates the essence of a niche brand was mentioned earlier: independent. Most of these niche brands are less than 10 years old, but their growth in the age of social media has become exponential.
The millennials and Gen-Z market are slowly becoming less logo-oriented and more concerned about standing out and flaunting their individuality, which gave rise to more contemporary brands that offer bolder, more unique designs and bag forms which push the boundaries of a handbag's form and functionality.
The rise of influencers also heavily contributed to the growth and popularity. of these lesser-known niche brands, as the new generation of influencers continue to seek the unique in a space that's becoming more and more saturated.
The case for designer bags
What accessible designer brands offer are tried and tested bag designs that have stood the test of time. Not to mention, their brand recall and established names have become a status symbol in their own right. Flashing the logos emblazoned in their purses and handbags makes the owner feel a sense of belongingness within a crowd that has achieved a certain level of success and status.
With designer brands, you're also assured of quality and value for money. The materials used and the level of craftsmanship are undeniably high-quality, helping them sustain their popularity and brand stability due to market trust.
On the flip side, accessible designer brands have less room for invention and experimentation. And rightfully so. After all, why fix what isn't broken in the first place? They might implement little tweaks here and there, or introduce bolder, more colorful prints. But ultimately, their range of bag forms remain the same. The goal is to remain true to their classic, well-established aesthetic that fans have grown to love about them.
Are you bold enough to go niche?
This lack of out-of-the-box creativity has opened the door for niche brands to enter a market that is starting to seek out more wildly imaginative, more thought-provoking creations.
Niche houses target the fashion-forward crowd who wants to set trends instead of follow them--people who defy the conventional and value their individuality above all else. Just google up brands such as Marie De La Roche, Staud Clothing, Cult Gaia and Danse Lente, and you'll be treated to a wide range of bag forms and designs that are both inventive yet still very much wearable.
Niche brands push the envelope when it comes to creating and designing bags. Their creations are admittedly not for everyone, but the allure of exclusivity and being one-of-a-kind entices consumers who have gone tired of seeing the same old stuff over and over again. Younger shoppers want to be excited with fashion once again. And niche brands offer just that.
Ultimately, your choice of bags depend on the values you stand up for. Both designer and niche brands offer something different to the table. It's up for you to decide which ones align most with your sense of style, attitude towards fashion, and how you want to present yourself to the world.