luxury brands are known for their high prices, but also for their unique designs and exacting standards of quality in details, finishes and materials. the knowledge, training and wisdom of skilled and experienced craftsmen is what sets them apart. only niche markets with production ideals and environmental concerns use this manufacturing business. for instance, viktor & rolf couture, whose garments are largely handmade in its paris atelier, upgrade their commitment to sustainability is the SS20 collection, in which nearly all of the existing garments had already been used in previous upcycled collections.
distinguishing feature is the recognition and appreciation of the production process. in the case of hermès, for example, each bag is the work of a single person who is responsible for the entire process from start to finish. the hermès atelier, located 6 km from paris, is a four-story building entirely dedicated to the production of bags and small leather goods. it is here that more than 200 highly skilled artisans bring the incredibly desirable bags to life (birkin bag may feel like it is impossible to achieve.).
like hermès, bottega veneta's bags are made by a single person (if he or she is absent, production stops). this means that no two bags are alike. they are so committed to its production that it has created the accademia labor et ingenium, a school where it trains new artisans, ensuring not only the preservation of its quality features and distinctive techniques, but also the continuity of the art. it has also introduced a program that allows the iconic bags to be repaired a few times free of charge, and gives customers access to loaner bags during the repair period. the idea of luxury goods is always closely linked to the question of durability; items are made to last.
van cleef & arpels is one of the greatest examples of perfectionism and meticulousness. the mystery set gem-setting technique was patented in 1933, and its secret lies in the gold rails into which the stones are set, one by one, in an explicit and meticulous manner. it is so complex and rigorous that it can take up to 8 hours to set a single gem. for example, it takes an average of 300 hours in the hands of the jeweler and the lapidary of the mystery set to create a clip.
each of these brands could try to cut production costs or find suppliers elsewhere, but that's not their goal. each bag, shoe, dress or piece of jewelry takes many hours to make, which is expensive, but it's that exclusivity that makes it special, unique and desirable.
cláudia cavaleiro the editor in chief for CINCO editorial. born in '82 in coimbra, she is graduated in philosophy from the university of coimbra. passionate about books and podcasts in a geek kind of way, she always find something interesting to research. loves to bring awareness to social problems and loves working at CINCO!