With prices never dropping below four figures, it goes without saying that designer handbags are a luxury that only a small minority of the population have the means to enjoy. With celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and the Kardashians regularly sporting Hermès and Chanel bags, these designer brands have become synonymous with affluence and status. However, it’s no longer solely stylish celebrities who are interested in purloining these bags; in recent years, a new breed of business savvy investors has emerged amongst their consumer base.
While in all other areas of the fashion world, trends phase in and out of style, designer bags only get more valuable as the years go by. Provided they remain unused and in mint condition, handbags age like fine wine - if the wine in question is a $304,375 bottle of 1947 Château Cheval Blanc. The record for the most expensive handbag ever resold is held by London based auction house Christie’s, who swept in a whopping £260,899 for a Birkin Himalaya style bag in December of 2018. The value placed in this diamond encrusted collector’s item truly highlights just how lucrative the designer bag industry really is.
While the Victoria Beckhams of the world may choose to sport their coveted clutches and shoulder bags as accessories to their glamorous outfits, others see them as more than just a statement piece. Rally Rd, a platform for “buying and selling equity shares in collectible assets”, took the initiative to begin selling shares in a Bordeaux Porosus Crocodile Birkin – a highly sought-after handbag. Unconventional as it seems, people quickly warmed to the idea, and within eight minutes the 2,000 available shares were snapped up by 270 investors. Each share was worth $26.25, and the average investor purchased 6.67 shares. Relatively affordable and, as demonstrated by Christie’s London, substantially remunerative, the quick-reflexed individuals who got their hands on some of these shares had the right idea.
Although Birkin bags are certainly soaking up the limelight at the moment, Chanel bags are also churning out significant profits. In June of 2016, Harper’s Bazaar announced that Chanel bags were “gaining value faster than the stock market”. In the time that elapsed between 2010 and 2016, Chanel bags increased in value by more than 70% - an undeniably huge surge in their worth. To give but one example, the Chanel Medium Classic Flap Handbag retailed at $220 dollars upon its release in 1992; in 2016, it was being sold for $4900. Although some of this price increase can be attributed to inflation, it certainly doesn’t account for all of it. The simple fact is this: handbags are much more than just pretty accessories.
While blowing five figures on a glorified case of crocodile skin isn’t within most people’s budget, the prospect of investing in a couple of shares in one might not be so unattainable. Considering the way the handbag industry is looking now, it would certainly be a worthwhile investment. Perhaps it’s time to ditch the savings account and put your money where it matters; into a big, shiny, gold-plated Birkin.