Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em: It Feels Like Every Brand Makes a “Birkin” Now

We hear the same complaint from you guys a lot: “Ugh, this bag is just trying to be a Birkin.” Sometimes it feels like a fair assessment and other times it feels like the evidence is a little thin, but either way, you guys have picked up on something important–brands really are turning out a lot of (at least vaguely) Birkinesque bags lately.

At any given time, several popular bags are likely exerting a strong influence on what every other brand is making; that’s why we have so many bucket bags (Mansur Gavriel) and chain-strap flap bags (Chanel) at our fingertips right now. In most of those cases, though, brands are simply cashing in on seasonal popularity–they’re not making the bags major parts of their design futures. Part of the Birkin’s recent influence is probably a result of the Saint Laurent Sac de Jour‘s popularity–itself a heavily Birkin-inspired design–but the slow, steady increase of bags like it in high-profile roles at big brands means something bigger is afoot.

The Birkin occupies a unique spot in the handbag market and has for decades, which is the kind of longevity a brand would kill for. Not only that, but interest in the bag has only gone up, and even though Hermès has increased its production, there aren’t nearly enough to satisfy demand. On top of that, there are tons of shoppers who love the bag’s looks but wouldn’t dream of paying $10,000 or more to have their own; together, those two factors mean that a lot of consumers are potentially up for grabs. The SDJ may have simply proved to other brands what a good long-term idea a quasi-Birkin can be.

When these bags first started popping up, they annoyed me greatly, but since then, my feelings have softened a bit. If the market wants bags that look like Birkins, then I can’t be too mad at designers for giving up on trying to convince shoppers they want something else. This is, after all, an industry of gratification.

With that in mind, I looked around to find the bags that fit the bill the best, including two upcoming styles from the Fall 2016 runways. In order to quality, a bag had to be an east-west tote with either a top flap closure, a prominent front lock and clochette, collapsing gussets or a belted closure. In almost all the cases below, the bag has more than one of those attributes; many of them have several.

Burberry Banner Satchel
$1,595 via Saks


Christian Dior Diorever Tote
Price Upon Request via Dior


Givenchy Runway Tote
Shop Givenchy via Nordstrom

Image via Vogue Runway
Image via Vogue Runway

Hill & Friends Happy Satchel
$1,300 via Net-a-Porter


Jimmy Choo Riley Python Tote
$3,695 via Nordstrom


Louis Vuitton City Steamer Bag
$3,850 via Louis Vuitton


Mallet & Co. Zeus Tote
$1,625 via Net-a-Porter


MCM Milla Tote
$1,100 via Neiman Marcus


Michael Kors Casey Satchel
$1,195 via Saks


Mulberry Bayswater Bag
$1,590 via


Prada Runway Tote
Shop Prada via Bergdorf Goodman

Image via Vogue Runway
Image via Vogue Runway

Ralph Lauren Ricky Bag
$3,500 via Neiman Marcus


Saint Laurent Sac de Jour Tote
$2,890 via Net-a-Porter


Valentino My Rockstud Mini Tote
$3,595 via Neiman Marcus


VBH Boulevard 32 Tote
$4,300 via Neiman Marcus


Versace Palazzo Empire Bag
$3,094 via



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