I’m sure you’ve heard the news that made the hearts of fashion lovers all over the world skip a beat – Marc By Marc Jacobs will soon be discontinued. Is the more luxurious Marc Jacobs product line closing too? No, not to worry – the affordable product line will be engulfed by the high-end one, and you’ll still be able to shop its infamous handbags, albeit for a higher price.
Although it’s a smart move, it’s a sad announcement. Marc by Marc Jacobs handbags were a coveted piece when many of us (now in our early 30’s) transitioned from buying most of our clothes and accessories from the epitomes of fast fashion (Forever 21 and H&M) to brands that taught us to be more deliberate and thoughtful when it came to our purchases. When we came of age in terms of style, many of us began our quest to substitute quantity for quality. Marc by Marc Jacobs was the brand that introduced many of us to luxury handbags through its fun contemporary designs and relatively attainable price points. It was affordable luxury at its best.
So, with such cult status and an incredibly strong fan base, why is Marc by Marc Jacobs closing? Why would the designer choose to fold such a strong product line into its luxury product line? And, was it a good move?
If you think about it, the answer is in the question. The very definition of luxury – whether it’s classified as affordable or high – is “an object, service, etc., conducive to sumptuous living, usually a delicacy,elegance, or refinement of living”. To that definition, I would like to add my own interpretation to the word: luxury (again, whether affordable or high) is something that’s rare, that’s coveted, and that not too many people can get their hands on. That’s why Pursebox carries popular brands that are hard to find in Canada. When too many people own a product, it becomes ubiquitous and, well… Normal. And the last thing a stylish woman wants to be called is “normal”.
Look around and you’ll see the evidence. The first and most famous victim of ubiquity is Michael Kors. Profits are sinking, and the brand’s most lucrative segment consists of its outlet stores. Even though Michael Kors has some gorgeous handbags around the 2,000$ price point, women don’t think they’re worth it if everyone in middle America is carrying a bag by the designer, regardless of the fact that their style and quality are incomparable. Industry analysts speculate that Coach and Kate Spade are the next ones to follow suit – Kate Spade already closed its more affordable Saturday stores in hopes of saving its brand equity, and Coach hired a new designer to revamp the brand’s image.
Marc Jacobs is acting before his affordable luxury line hits a low point. Will he lose his hard-earned clientele by knocking out affordable price points? That’s the best part – he probably won’t. The women who grew up with Marc By Marc Jacobs are likely to stick with the brand – they’re now a few years into their careers and can probably afford the lower end of the newly combined product line, which will feature a wider price range than the current luxury line. Now, it’s time for Marc Jacobs to up his design game and keep those loyal fans from transferring their loyalty to Longchamp, Mansur Graviel or Annabel Ingall.