Why Are Designer Bags So Expensive?

Why Are Designer Bags So Expensive?

To fashionistas all around the world, carrying a designer handbag is like the equivalent of wearing a Rolex watch or driving an Italian Ferrari sports car.

The pricey designer handbag is a woman's ultimate confidence booster, with its astonishing combination of whimsical details, stylish embellishments, and unmistakable luxury. A designer bag proclaims to the whole wide world that the lucky wearer of lavishly decorated arm candy is the greatest.

Although there are many around the world who cannot afford to buy such pricy bags, you might also be curious as to why exactly designer bags are so expensive. Here are reasons designer bags tend to be so expensive, and whether they are really worth it.

Material and Craftsmanship

Just what makes designer bags different from any other type of bag is quite simple.

Designer houses do not make corners to save a few dollars here and there, as their reputation and name are on the line. To add to the sensation of luxury and exclusivity, most designer handbags are fashioned with high-end materials. Some designer bags are even embellished with precious metals and stones!

Let's take, for example, the Hermès Birkin, which is unquestionably the apex of status symbol handbags. The bags, which are named after the French actress and singer Jane Birkin, usually cost between US$8,000 (S$10,900) to US$150,000.

Their exorbitant prices are because each bag is manufactured entirely by hand by a single craftsman who undergoes nearly two years of training before constructing a Birkin. One bag takes 18 to 24 hours to make, therefore only a small number may be produced each year.

Then also comes the materials

They produce Birkins from a variety of materials, including calf leather, cowhide, and mountain goat skin, some of which have been treated and pressed for durability. The Box Calf, Hermès' oldest leather, has a signature gloss that doesn't fade and matures remarkably well. Hermès' Evercalf leather, on the other hand, is known for its exceptional suppleness and texture, which appears to become more sumptuous over time.

When the bags are manufactured from Hermès' famed crocodile skins, the prices increase. It might take decades for exceptional skins, such as those from virtually white crocodiles, to mature. The skins must be pristine and responsibly sourced to build an outstanding purse. However, because crocodiles battle, they become hurt and scarred as a result of the conflict, finding flawless skin is difficult.

Similarly, Chanel's 2.55 — called such for the year it was originally produced (February 1955) — is made in a 180-step process by craftsmen who must work in Chanel's workshops for five years before they may work on the renowned bag. They traditionally constructed the bags of the best lambskin, but they are also available in patent calfskin, python or alligator skin, as well as alternative fabrics like jersey and tweed. While the leathers offer the bag a delicate, supple texture, the bags themselves are built and tested like tanks to ensure they can endure the test of time and use.

Making a designer handbag isn’t a simple process

Mulberry handbags are first conceptualized as a design sketch, which is then sketched out on a computer, according to a POPSUGAR article. Before making a production sample, a paper mock version is prepared to verify the correct sizing. Before the production expenses are calculated, each stage of the process is said to be timed to determine the amount of labor required. The design of the bag is then fine-tuned by the design team before they put it into production. The Bayswater, the British brand's most famous bag, costs around US$1,500.


Many feel that the best designer handbags are fantastic investments rather than merely fashion statements. "The Birkin has gone up by 500% in the 35 years since it was invented," Times journalist Hilary Rose noted in a January 2016 article.

According to a study undertaken by online marketplace baghunter.com, the Birkin has outpaced the S&P500 and the price of gold over the last 35 years. Between 1980 and 2015, the Birkin had an average annual rise of 14.2 percent. Gold, on the other hand, gave a real average return of 1.9 percent.

According to another survey by Baghunter, the value of Chanel handbags has increased by 70% since 2010.

Consider this if percentage points mean nothing to you: At a Christie's Hong Kong auction in May, a 12-inch matte white Himalayan crocodile skin Birkin with 18-karat gold buckles and strap loops adorned with 205 diamonds earned a record HK$2.94 million (US$380,000). The presale estimate of HK$1.5 million to HK$2 million (US$193,000 to US$258,000) was blown out of the water.

Consider purchasing designer purses. Bags may not appear to be the most apparent investment, but their value can skyrocket with time. Some designer handbags have established themselves as timeless symbols that will never go out of style. You'll be making money in style if you know which ones to buy.

Perhaps it may just be about time for you to spend some of your funds on designer bags.

Are designer bags worth it?

As for the million-dollar question, are designer bags really worth their hefty prices? Well, let’s have a look back.

A well-chosen designer purse can last a lifetime and even become a treasured inheritance once you've departed. On the other hand, if you want to make money as well as spend it, a well-timed purchase and subsequent sale could help you make quite a bit of money.

Now, although a designer bag's high price tag (especially when used) can be scary, it often saves you money in the long run.  Designer purses, of course, are more durable, making an outfit look more polished. As a result, they're completely worth the investment.