If you live in Hong Kong, have an impressive handbag collection and find yourself short on cash, you’re in luck – you might be eligible for a handbag loan! According to the Wall Street Journal, one enterprising lender in the burgeoning Chinese luxury retail hub is helping wealthy women, many of them housewives, turn their prized handbags into quick cash, from a couple hundred bucks to many thousands.
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And the luxury leather goods slap-fight continues! Just when you thought that LVMH might be appropriately chastened by its multi-million euro fine for using what amounts to using subterfuge and trickery to compile a rather enormous stake in family-owned Hermes, the French fashion conglomerate, helmed by Bernard Arnault, goes and does it again, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
If you’ve ever walked along Canal Street, you probably have a good idea of just how big of a business fake handbags are on the black market in New York City. Even when you’re walking quickly, by yourself, with your sunglasses and headphones on (which are basically all the quick visual cues for “not a tourist, don’t bother me” in NYC), it’s hard to make it more than a few steps down that famous street without hawkers shoving price lists and stock cards in your face.
I’ve worked in the fashion industry for the vast majority of my post-college life, so occasionally, I forget what it’s like for people in more traditionally corporate or conservative environments, who likely constitute the bulk of women who have the funds to buy themselves designer handbags and shoes.
Luxury-industry insiders and moguls met for the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit 2013 in Vienna, Austria, over the past few days, and lots of interesting tidbits of information came out of the event’s who’s-who list of speakers, which included luminaries like Alexis Babeau, Managing Director of Luxury at Kering, and Andrew Rosen, CEO of Theory and Helmut Lang (and a huge investor in Proenza Schouler, among others).
If you’ve been following this strange story since the beginning, you know that LVMH, the luxury conglomerate that owns Louis Vuitton, has been in some hot water with European financial regulators lately over CEO Bernard Arnault’s covert maneuvers to acquire a significant portion of stock from one of his company’s biggest rivals, Hermes.
As Christina Passariello wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal article, Louis Vuitton, with its flagging growth and logo-covered bags, now finds itself in the throes of the fashion business’ most baffling paradox – how do you sell bags to as many people as possible without becoming a company that’s associated with mass-market consumerism instead of rarified luxury?