It’s the material that started it all for Louis Vuitton back in the 19th century. But now, the Parisian Maison’s iconic coated canvas faces a new set of challenges as the brand navigates the changing luxury landscape.

The rumor mill is swirling that Louis Vuitton is focusing on a strategy that encourages customers to invest in the label’s more expensive leather styles. For the first time in over 150 years, the future of Louis Vuitton’s canvas seems uncertain.

Against the backdrop of unparalleled price increases across the luxury fashion sector and Louis Vuitton prioritizing new leather bags each season, will the label’s beloved canvas prevail? And what is the potential impact of Louis Vuitton distancing itself from its signature material? Let’s discuss.

The History & Significance of Louis Vuitton’s Canvas

Canvas is so much more than a material for Louis Vuitton. Strong, innovative, and revolutionary, Louis Vuitton’s signature canvas encapsulates the brand’s entire essence. And without it, it’s unlikely that the trunk-making business would be the fashion powerhouse it’s known as today.

For as long as most luxury fanatics can remember, Louis Vuitton has been the canvas brand, and this reputation lies in the brand’s heritage. Louis Vuitton founded his famous Maison in Paris in 1854, but it wasn’t until a big invention that his brand began to change the worlds of travel and fashion forever.

As world travel took off for the most wealthy, Louis Vuitton understood the need for trunks that were flat, so they could be stacked on ships. Trunks of the time were rounded on top so that rain would fall off, so Vuitton covered his flat-top trunk in his other great invention – Gris Trianon, more commonly known as coated canvas. This waterproof material proved sturdy and reliable, becoming synonymous with the success of Vuitton’s revolutionary flat-top trunk design, the first ever of its kind.

Vintage Louis Vuitton Luggage

A vintage image of Louis Vuitton luggage

In 1888, Louis Vuitton’s son Georges Vuitton invented the Damier print to be patterned onto coated canvas. And in 1896, the iconic monogram print was born, becoming forever associated with the house’s signature material and the possibilities it brought.

Louis Vuitton’s skill as a trunk maker made him a favorite amongst the European elite, but it was his coated canvas invention that set his brand on track to dominate the fashion industry.

In the years since coated canvas was introduced, it’s been at the center of the label’s handbag offering, most commonly in the monogram, Damier Ebene, and Damier Azur prints, and it has been reimagined season after season. From appearing on classics like the fan-favorite Speedy and Alma designs to being reinterpreted by artists such as Takashi Murakami and Stephen Sprouse in multicolor and graffiti-adorned iterations, coated canvas is a mainstay of Louis Vuitton. It’s endured changing trends, manufacturing processes, and attitudes for well over a century. So why now does it seem to be under threat?

Louis Vuitton’s Changing Price Point

For decades, Louis Vuitton has relied heavily on its canvas designs. But as prices at top luxury labels continue to soar and more brands attempt to align themselves with ultra exclusivity, canvas becomes less lucrative.

Louis Vuitton has long been regarded as a starter luxury label thanks to its prevalence of more affordable canvas styles, traditionally under $1,000. But brands can charge much more for leather styles than their canvas counterparts. There’s around a $1,000 difference between the prices of Louis Vuitton’s Speedy and Alma styles in canvas compared to leather. And so, lower-priced canvas bags are becoming less of a priority for the brand.

Louis Vuitton Alma PM

The dominance of ultra-exclusive and high-priced labels, such as Hermès, has caused the likes of Chanel and Louis Vuitton to increase prices and adopt strategies prioritizing exclusivity. The attainability of Louis Vuitton’s signature canvas handbags, thanks to their more affordable price tag, doesn’t align with this.

Over the last decade, the brand’s repeated price increases have affected canvas designs too. The price of classic canvas styles like the Speedy has risen by around 50% within the past 5 years, further alienating luxury shoppers on a budget.

Phasing Out Canvas

From 2023, it has been widely speculated that shoppers will no longer be able to buy canvas iterations of popular designs like the Mini Pochette Accessoires. And as sought-after styles like this are phased out, the brand continues to push its leather bags.

Over the past decade, there’s been an influx of new leather handbag options at the house. In addition to focusing on its classic Epi, Vernis, and Empreinte leather options, the brand has launched bags in a range of new leather variations. From quilted calfskin embroidered with a maxi iteration of the iconic monogram pattern to grained leather appearing on the likes of the Capucine and Pont 9 styles complete with hefty price tags.

Louis Vuitton Speedy 30

The Future Of Louis Vuitton Canvas

The future of Louis Vuitton’s classic coated canvas seems uncertain. As some canvas styles are being discontinued and the remaining canvas options no longer offer the affordability that helped make them so popular, more and more leather designs are being introduced. So it looks like canvas may no longer be as central to the Louis Vuitton brand as it once was.

But the continued demand for Louis Vuitton canvas is undeniable. Despite significant price increases, canvas options of classic handbags are regularly sold out at Louis Vuitton boutiques and online. The secondary market boasts an insane demand for Louis Vuitton canvas Speedy, Alma and Noé designs. So perhaps the luxury powerhouse should be more hesitant before turning its back on the coated canvas material that’s been a hallmark of the brand’s identity for as long as the mighty trunk itself.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

62 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kaybee
Kaybee
1 month ago

Are there any sources that can be cited for the assertions made in this article? For example, it seems like there should be some source for the statement: “From 2023 onwards, Louis Vuitton plans to discontinue some of its most popular canvas pieces as part of a bigger strategy to encourage customers to invest in the label’s more expensive leather styles.”

Similarly, the statement that the mini pochette and other popular styles will no longer be made in canvas seems like something that should be backed up by a source.

Joan
Joan
1 month ago
Reply to  Kaybee

l agree. This post feels like cheap clickbate.

Roseanne
Roseanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Kaybee

I agree! I just texted my LV SA. If this is the case I will start purchasing other brands. The prices are becoming too high for what they offer.

Ali A
Ali A
1 month ago

Well written. I have loved LV canvas…as you write, it’s a more affordable option. Could I personally afford the leather bags? Sure. But I don’t want to pay that much. I’m not looking to spend Hermes/Chanel money to get quality goods.

I feel like a large part of this migration is due to influencer marketing and social media. It’s driven demand and prices so high that it really is unattainable for most, even those with solid income.

If they desire to be exclusive to the 1%, that’s fine. I’ll go back to purchasing high quality contemporary brands. I’m opting out of the rat race.

Jenny Z
Jenny Z
30 days ago
Reply to  Ali A

I 100% agree. The whole influencer “profession” has changed luxury shopping. These young women can buy a high-end bag with one Instagram post. It has taken the total exclusivity out of owning a luxury bag. Hermes Birkins have become so ubiquitous. Why would I want to carry the same bag as some 20-something schlepping Walmart fashion?

Ella
Ella
1 month ago
Reply to  Ali A

Completely agree, Instagram makes it appear as though everyone owns a Chanel, LV etc. I often catch myself wondering how very young people (controlling for parent wealth) can afford to own all the latest bags, Cartier VCA jewellery. While appreciating some of these items, it also starts feeling as though they are not unique. (I know this has a lot of do with algorithms and not everyone owns this but still). I think this global level mass consumption of these goods has emboldened the brands to raise prices FAR FAR in excess of what the items cost to manufacture and advertise. Also they are probably desperate to keel things exclusive which is hard when everyone is obessed. I purchased an LV Coussin in October as a Christmas present and noticed they changed the design to remove the hanging zipper, line the interior in full leather and allow the sides to swivel. As the bag was unopened, LV offered to exchange it and I can say the customer service and product quality is there. This has not been my experience with all LV bags. My canvas Neverfull GM started having the lining red colour poking through the edges which shows the canvas was not in the great quality of the bags I got in the early 2000s. I am also starting to look at contemporary options as I don’t think the way the prices are going is something I’m willing to spend. Also I work in tech and most people are not into conspicuous items and spend money on tech, sneakers etc. and on examining the rest of my life I don’t have enough fancy occasions to wear items such as a dressy bag so opting for items that match my lifestyle and for that I probably don’t need 20 bags. I do have my eye on that Gucci Aphrodite though that Kaitlin shared a few weeks bag. Looks like a functional statement bag.

Sam
Sam
1 month ago
Reply to  Ella

Either it’s fake, they buy preloved or they were really rich enough (probably got the wealth from their parents) to afford them.

CharD
CharD
1 month ago
Reply to  Ella

Absolutely. I see these unboxing videos all the time. I just bought my first Gucci Medium Interlocking G tote (it was coated canvas with leather trim). It was a retirement gift…to myself. I worked 30 years for that bag. No shade to young folks and their luxury bags. I just don’t know how a 20+ year old affords a Birkin. Anyway…I will no longer buy a designer “canvas” bag that costs the equivalent of someone’s mortgage. I think something that expensive requires leather all around.

kalista
kalista
1 month ago
Reply to  CharD

A lot of the things displayed in social media is fake. Lots of ‘influencers’ use fake goods, borrow or rent them, etc. Lots of them also go into debt just to be able to ‘flex’. I personally choose to buy few good quality bags that I can use often and will last me many years, and most importantly what I am comfortable spending.

Styleforme
Styleforme
1 month ago
Reply to  Ali A

I couldn’t agree more!

Styleforme
Styleforme
1 month ago
Reply to  Ali A

I used to love LV but I’m really turned off by them in recent years. The prices continue to increase while the quality and customer service continue to decline. Hermes and Chanel are not my style or in my price range. There are many quality brands that cost less than LV and aren’t trying so hard to be exclusive.

Techluxe
Techluxe
1 month ago
Reply to  Styleforme

I totally agree on the decline in LV quality and service. See my comment below. I also do not enjoy seeing myself coming and going. The resale value for LV is dreadful and I know longer like ANY of the styles…but obviously that is just me.

I ditched LV for Chanel and yes Chanel is not pocketbook friendly. The price increases are jnsulting. I now have Six Chanel bags but I started collecting back in 2005. My first CC Red Cavliar bags was $2500! My last teny/tiny CC flapbag in 2021 was $7k+. Chanel is struggling with customer service and getting a very bad rep. I have now shifted to Fendi but honestly at this point I just shop my own closet! Enuff!

psny15
psny15
27 days ago
Reply to  Techluxe

Thanks for sharing your experience and ignore the less than bright users who are against the first amendment ❤️

Fabuleux
Fabuleux
1 month ago

As far as all my buddies who still work at Louis Vuitton tell me, there is absolutely zero plan to discontinue canvas bags, luggage, and accessories. Simply price adjustments to better reflect the brand positioning—but that’s not unique to Louis Vuitton.

skye
skye
1 month ago

I am not a fan of LV canvas really but this seems like a bad business decision to me. The cappucines is a gorgeous bag, but the price point is crazy. If you can get a chanel for the same price or even a Bottega why wouldn’t you? If I am going to buy leather, I’d rather buy from a house known for it such as Bottega, or Loewe than a brand that isn’t but is charging a fortune for leather goods.
LV is shooting itself in the foot i think by trying to compete with Chanel – and anyway Chanel is now so high priced with many reports of bad quality that i wouldn’t shop there either!

FashionableLena
FashionableLena
1 month ago

Makes you wonder how this will translate into getting new customers. The canvas, at least to me, appears to be the entry level to the brand. Then, the customer goes from there by buying the scarves, small leather goods, sunglasses, and footwear. Eventually, they get to the ready-to-wear and the leather offerings. It’s a progression since a lot of future consumers can not afford the leather pieces right off the bat.

Then again, what do I know? I’m just on the outside looking in as I’m not a fan of the handbags.

Techluxe
Techluxe
1 month ago

Funny I was an LV collector for 15 years (Alma’s, Manhattan GM etc). 15 handbags and 3 wallets later most of my bags canvas leather has cracked and/or have lost there shape. A complete and total waste of money. My last purchase was in 2018. I bought this tote. It is the only LV bag that has held up. No matter what LV comes up with I would absolutely never waste a penny on there handbags. E V E R!

Roseanne
Roseanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Techluxe

I have had LV since my first purchase in 1983. I have only had one bag with a problem and LV repaired beautifully.

Syaki
Syaki
1 month ago
Reply to  Techluxe

I think a lot of people don’t know the climate in homes affect bag conditions as well. For instance, if you have central air/central heating, this tends to be very dry air and requires the bags to be moisturized more frequently after oxidation. Imho, where and how they are stored has an impsct on the life of the bag. I have quite a collection of vintage and current monogram peices that are still going strong with no cracking and have held up well over 25 years. Fortunately, my home has radiators which give moisture and warmth simultaneously. Remember leather is skin.

Techluxe
Techluxe
1 month ago
Reply to  Syaki

Interesting! We have central air. The only bags/wallets that are a problem are the LVs. Not every single one. My Manhattan GM the front pockets Canvas was bent and couldn’t be reshaped.

My Chanel, Fendi, GG take my abuse well!

C G
C G
1 month ago
Reply to  Techluxe

I have several Louis Vuitton canvas bags. Some new, some vintage and not have ever shown any tracking. Several of them are leaving show wear. How are you storing your bags?

Techluxe
Techluxe
1 month ago
Reply to  C G

Carelessly! Thanks for the tips.Unfortunately, its all to late for my current LV collection! Tsk Tsk

Ruby
Ruby
1 month ago
Reply to  Techluxe

Cracked ? Lost the shape? You mist have bought fake bags!!!! I bought my first LV bag about…45 years ago. And believe me, my collection is Hugh…none of the bags cracked or lost its shape !

Ruby
Ruby
1 month ago
Reply to  Ruby

You abuse others…
And all the things you have and what you are….You don’t have to invent stories…:-))
That’s so poor. People who really are in hat position don’t offend others.
But enough now.

Zoe
Zoe
1 month ago
Reply to  Ruby

why do you feel the urge to list all your belongings? you could just report this person without showing off your wealth. it is not classyxat all.

Sandra
Sandra
1 month ago
Reply to  Ruby

It’s all relative. I have a collection of LV coated canvas items. All are in good to very good condition and some are well over 15 years old. I never overload my bags and always treat them with care. The way you treat them matters.

Techluxe
Techluxe
1 month ago
Reply to  Ruby

25th Anniversary Baquette Drops Now! | Page 3 – PurseForum – PurseBlog https://forum.purseblog.com/threads/25th-anniversary-baquette-drops-now.1056749/page-3

Here is my actual contribution to this platform. Yes contribution! One thing I am not is a “Presumptuous, Toxic Troll”!

I started my post by honestly sharing my experiences with this brand. It has quickly turned into SM bashing. I’m sad that I allowed you to rattle me. I am an Elitist and you are a english grammer fumbling angry little gurl

Bon Soir!

R.L.
R.L.
1 month ago
Reply to  Ruby

I also took an LV bag to Rago brothers because the zipper split and they fixed it beautifully. That bag also had a small crack but I was really rough with the bag.

Styleforme
Styleforme
1 month ago
Reply to  Ruby

Cracking canvas is not uncommon, both my Artsy and NF had cracks from general use. I have vintage pieces and the canvas looks better then any bag I’ve purchased from the boutique

Techluxe
Techluxe
1 month ago
Reply to  Styleforme

Thank you. Jeez

Sam
Sam
1 month ago

If they want to cater to the upper echelon this is a brilliant move; however, they are also shooting themselves in the foot to cast such a broad net over perhaps the majority of their clientele, by discontinuing what so many love.

Antonia
Antonia
1 month ago

I own a vintage speedy 40 that looks almost new-it’s from the 90’s era and made in France, which is what I prefer. I never liked the new tags that say ‘Made in the USA of imported materials’…..really??? Imported from where exactly?? Mine has a very thick canvas…nothing like the new bags. The patina on the handles is a nice color-evenly tanned and not dark at all. The lock is solid brass, made in France too….the new locks are not. If you want canvas, go vintage.

Nini
Nini
1 month ago
Reply to  Antonia

The LV canvas is always made in France. The pieces are then sent to the US (or Spain or Italy) where they are sewn. But no canvas is ever made out of France!

jsf
jsf
19 days ago
Reply to  Nini

I work in fashion. I just went to a showroom for the company that makes the plastic canvas and woven print fabrics, for all of the big brands. It’s an Italian company.

Antonia
Antonia
1 month ago
Reply to  Nini

I don’t know if I believe this because then the tag would say ‘Made in the USA of materials from France’ that I’m certain of because of the heritage, they would be proud to say France on the tag. Before that tag, it would just say Made in the USA (nothing else).

Totes Gene
Totes Gene
1 month ago
Reply to  Antonia

Bags made in the USA don’t say “made in the USA” in any form at all. The only bags that sat “made in” are those made in France, Spain or Italy. It doesn’t matter where it is made. It’s the artisan that matters. The only LV bag I’ve ever returned was a made in France piece.

Janeen
Janeen
1 month ago
Reply to  Totes Gene

I just bought one yesterday I think it says made in USA I will check i remember being pisssd.

Ed B
Ed B
1 month ago

What an odd move. I feel like having “SLG”s in canvas makes so much sense that I can’t fathom wanting to discontinue mini pochettes in canvas. I don’t enjoy canvas bags (would rather do leather or nylon) but I do have a canvas wallet and have bought a canvas wallet for my sister in the past, too. I just think SLGs are a great place to use interesting colors, textures, durable-but-doesn’t-have-to-match-anything styles, etc. If I were them I’d stop canvas bags before canvas SLGs if they had to stop any.

Then again, I don’t own a big luxury brand lol what do I know.

Sandra Hohn
Sandra Hohn
1 month ago

Once again an other label that is going to eliminate the possibility of a first time buyer being able to purchase a starter handbag. Please think about it clearly luxury brands.

GG Pastel