I’ve loved handbags for as long as I can remember. Even as my personal style transformed over the years, I have always felt the need to carry around a nice bag. I can’t really come up with any sound reasoning for it but I do remember that there was one special day in 2004 when I was gifted a velour Juicy Couture Daydreamer tote that resulted in my lifelong love affair with purses. Now, two decades later, I am still eye-balling the trendiest pieces of the times and plotting on how to make them mine (which unsurprisingly, is much easier to do as an adult than as a middle-schooler.)
For the past 8 months, I have been in hot pursuit of my next big purchase; I pass my evenings refreshing webpages of reseller sites and watching what yet another YouTuber has to unbox. I peruse through hundreds of lengthy PurseForum threads and I even search for bags of interest on Instagram and Pinterest to examine how exactly I would style them.
More and more, I began to notice how the bags that we luxury lovers gravitate towards are, more often than not, from European brands. This isn’t to say that those brands aren’t entitled to their place in the handbag hierarchy, after all, multiple decades of releasing praise-worthy pieces should definitely give them the respect that they deserve, but accent marks and silent letters abound, at some point it became clear to me that it’s all about the French prestige, the Italian leather, the Spanish design.
Of course, I also understand that there are a decent number of British brands that have made a name for themselves and that every country produces something that they are well-known for, but I still sometimes wonder – do we undervalue bags made by American fashion houses?
Now, when I say value I mean it in terms of significance, not monetarily. Sure, we’ve got Coach and Marc Jacobs but those are what many of us would categorize as “premium” as opposed to “luxury” or “high-end.” But what about higher-end brands like Tom Ford? It’s got a leg up on brands like Micheal Kors in terms of prestige and price point but rarely do I see it included in any of those glamorous handbag collection videos and never mentioned as holding a top spot on anyone’s wish list, including my own.
This little curious thought was forced to the front of my mind again when I last visited my local luxury boutique. Just from browsing around, I couldn’t help but notice the select few Tory Burch styles situated in a sea of Gucci, Prada, Chloé, Balenciaga, Givenchy, and Valentino. To be honest, this confused me even more because while I adore TB (shout out to this trusty tote!), I can acknowledge my own bias: I never pegged it as being as opulent as the aforementioned European brands. The same goes for brands like Philip Lim and Proenza Schouler.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it or maybe I’m just a snob, who knows really, but I can’t stop asking myself: why does it seem like we overlook those that originated a little closer to home?
I want to know everyone else’s thoughts.
Where do bags by American brands fit into our collections? Are they forever destined to be seen more as cute n’ casual as opposed to glamorous and elegant? Do you think there is an American brand that doesn’t get as much love as it deserves?