With Kim Kardashian on the current cover of Forbes, it's probably well past time for the family's legion of haters to admit that the family really, really knows what it's doing when it comes to the business of being famous. Their brands are strong, their portfolios are diversified and the clan has undeniable influence over an army of shoppers, some of whom would never even admit (or maybe even realize) that the sisters are the propelling force behind when so many trends go mainstream. They can certainly inspire people to buy luxury bags from other brands, but what about their own? We're about to find out.
As we reported it would a couple months ago (to many readers' immediate skepticism), the KENDALL + KYLIE brand has now expanded into accessories, with a small range of handbags that sell for prices between $195 and $450. Many of the bags are currently for pre-order via heavyweight designer retailers Neiman Marcus and Saks, so now we can evaluate the results a little more closely. As you might expect, there are many things that could be improved for next season, but also a couple bright spots that make me hope the brand could turn into a reliable source of trendy, moderately priced bags.
All contemporary brands need to be very careful when choosing slouchy, pebbled leathers for their bags. If the material looks thin or not so soft, it immediately reads as fake, which makes the whole bag look far less expensive than it is. That's a bad value proposition for mid-market customers, whose options have become increasingly sophisticated in recent years. The KENDALL + KYLIE bags suffer from that a bit, but the smooth leather options are better, even if most of the bags need their details cleaned up in order to fully match their price points.
Some bag lovers will likely be glad that the line contains no direct ripoffs of popular designs, which is often a tactic of both celebrity lines and new contemporary brands. That shows a commitment to forming a distinct brand identity that I frankly did not expect, and it makes me think that things will improve overall after customer feedback on this first group of bags.