okay, okay, I admit it. I got an addiction.but after reading chloe mac donnell’s take on how paper bags of high-end brands became fashion’s most coveted item, I realize I’m not alone. I would never - they say one should never say never but in this particular situation never is really NEVER - go online and bid on a chanel paper bag for the sake of owning a chanel paper bag but do I keep a stash of boxes and bags from my luxury purchases? I do.
when fashion first became an interest of mine, my attention was set on what happened on the runway. I knew all the models by their names, I could - and still can to this day - name a collection by its season and would spend hours going through all the reviews written by the likes of tim blanks or nicole phelps on the now defunct style.com. but as I grew older, my focus switched not only to the business side of fashion but also to consumer’s behavior. perhaps, that’s the reason I find this obsession with designer shopping bags so intriguing.
a couple of weeks ago, during balenciaga pre-fall 2024 show in LA, all eyes were on kim kardashian and her bag of choice: a brown paper bag from a collaboration between balenciaga and erewhon, a cultish grocery store with several locations across los angeles. fiy, the capsule collection also includes sweatshirts, baseball caps and a crazy expensive apron. but going down on memory lane, do you remember that one time we were all crushing over a céline plastic bag from the brand’s spring 2018 collection? the bag, which was basically a transparent pvc bag featuring céline’s logo, retailed for a whooping $590.
mac donnell points various reasons why consumers are going online to get their hands on a paper bag from a renowned brand. while some do it to fake a lifestyle on social media or even in their own lives, some do it to add some sense of credibility to their secondhand purchases, as if something is missing from the actual shopping experience. from my own perspective and even though I don’t see myself selling shopping bags and packages in the near future, I do like to keep mine for a couple of reasons: they do add value to the items I put on to sale in the resale market - the same logic applies to dust bags - sometimes I keep them for storage purposes but mostly because a luxury purchase should still feel special. and yes, beautiful and thoughtful packaging are all part of a brand’s id and allure.
when I was in my early 20’s, I took a short course on luxury brand management and product design at lcf and the tutor, someone with an impressive curriculum, asked the class why would someone be willing to spend a large sum of money on a designer item. was it the quality of the item alone? the craftsmanship? the history behind the brand? it purely aspirational or emotional-driven? there are some serious questions that need to be addressed, especially in regards to this need for validation and status, but from a business perspective, brands sell more than just products or services. they evoke memories, feelings and irrational behaviors.
and since we’re discussing shopping bags, have you seen CINCO’s new silver packaging? I’m literally obsessed.
cátia santos reis "the world is yours but greece is mine” could be her mantra as cátia santos reis is yet to find a greek island she hasn’t fallen in love with. in the meantime, she keeps traveling the world. for CINCO editorial, the 34 year-old, will share her favorite things to do, visit and eat in every destination.
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