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Home > Blog > Guides > The Ultimate Guide to Luxury Brands
The Ultimate Guide to Luxury Brands
Big names and bold styles
Rebatesme 02/27/20(PST)

Luxury brands are desired the world over. They offer a significant “step up” from other brands out there in terms of quality, style, and exclusivity. From cars to watches, there’s a luxury version of just about every item out there.

 

What Defines a Luxury Brand?

 

Much more than just “things that cost more”, Luxury generally refers to items and services that go above and beyond what is typically offered.  Luxury goods usually have a combination of a few factors that outline “what is luxury." These factors are:

 

Price

The easiest to understand, most luxury brands have a price point that is often far greater than what you’d see elsewhere. This is generally used as a barrier of entry and helps make products and services feel more “exclusive”.

 

Exclusivity

Exclusivity comes in the form of quantity produced, access, and timing.  Pricing helps make things more exclusive by limiting access, but there are other things that can achieve this as well. Only releasing a product in a specific region or for certain clientele are other examples. This is probably the biggest indicator of luxury brands.

 

Quality

Most luxury items prioritize quality. Whether it’s with the materials or craftsmanship, luxury goods are often built better (and thus cost more). Usually, that means that the item will last much longer and is part of the reason many luxury goods become heirlooms. There does come a point for many products where price and quality diverge. Is a $10k pair of shoes 100X better than a $100 pair of shoes? It’s hard to say.

 

Service

This is often a factor that’s severely overlooked when people think about luxury goods. Often, luxury brands often go out of their way to please their customers before, during, and after a sales is made. Luxury brand service reps generally do a fantastic job at being informed and ensuring that your overall experience with the brand is a positive one.


Style

To stand out amongst crowded markets, luxury brands often count on a unique style. For example, the signature sleek yet boxy look of a Rolls Royce helps separate it from any other car on the road. Style is equally important for all luxury brands for the same reason. From fashion houses to watchmakers, each luxury brand will have its own unique style that helps identify the brand, and set it apart.


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Do Luxury Goods Hold Their Value?

 

It depends. Some items have depreciation just like regular items. Some gain in value as time goes on. Many luxury items are considered hard investments – meaning they hold tangible value and can be used as collateral for things like loans. Watches and Jewelry are the most common in this category.

 

Apparel usually depreciates due to fluctuating style trends and the whole “second-hand” nature of clothing in general (once someone else wears something, that thing becomes less exclusive). However, fashion/apparel accessories can greatly increase in value as time goes on.


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Handbags are the most famous for doing so. Look at Hermes’ notorious Birkin bag. A bag first designed in the 1980s, it’s only made in very limited quantities. In fact, many versions can only be purchased by invitation only. The starting price for many of these bags hover around $10k, but over time the value of a single bag can skyrocket to $100k or more.

 

The extreme exclusivity and high starting price point are the two factors that contribute to this value spike the most. As a rule of thumb, if you’re looking for a luxury item that holds in value, look at its exclusivity. If the quantity is few, or it’s extremely challenging to get your hands on one, then that’s a very good sign that the item is a worthy investment.

 

A Closer Look at The Most Popular Luxury Brands

 

As previously mentioned, there’s practically a luxury brand for every item out there. The most popular and well-known brands tend to hover around the fashion, apparel, and jewelry categories. Here’s some of the world’s biggest luxury brands, and a bit about what they’re about.

 

Gucci 

Gucci is one of the largest luxury brands to this day. Started by a man called Guccio Gucci in 1921, the brand made a name for itself in Italy’s fashion world for their stylish and luxurious leather handbags, luggage, and accessories. Today, the brand fully embraces fashion and designs a plethora of outfits as well.

 

Founded: 1921

Country of Origin: Italy

 Most Famous For: Handbags, Leathers, Wallets, Loafers, and Belts

 Fun Fact: While Gucci has solidified itself as an Italian fashion icon, in the early days the company’s styles were inspired by those in the UK.


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Tiffany’s

One of the largest names in Jewelry in the world, Tiffany’s was founded in New York city in the 1830’s. The company has set the standard for elegant jewelry design for almost over 180 years.  While based in New York City, Tiffany’s was especially popular amongst Hollywood elite during the mid 1900’s.

 

Founded: 1837

Country of Origin: USA

Most Famous For: Diamond and Sterling Jewelry.

Fun Fact: The famous teal/blue color of Tiffany’s was inspired by a portrait of Napoleon III’s wife. The color is called “Pantone number 1837.”


Kate Spade

Kate Spade was an editor for the fashion magazine Mademoiselle until her desire to create a better handbag pushed her to form her own fashion brand. Formed in 1993, the company started with just six handbag designs. Today, they design shoes, home furnishings, tech accessories, and more.

 

Founded: 1993

Country of Origin: USA

Most Famous For: Handbags

Fun Fact: Kate Spade was famous comedian David Spade's sister in law. Kate married David's brother Andy Spade in 1994 - just one year after the brand made its debut.


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Chanel

The house of famous fashion designer Coco Chanel. Chanel has been designing high fashion looks for over 100 years. Chanel pushed woman’s fashion forward with sleek designs and timeless looks. The “little black dress” is a hallmark of the brand. Chanel No. 5, a perfume created in 1921, is still a favorite amongst consumers today.

 

Founded: 1909

Country of Origin: France

Most Famous For: Women’s Fashion, Chanel No. 5

Fun Fact: Coco originally tried to become a singer before switching careers and thus changing the fashion world forever.


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Louis Vuitton

A common theme amongst early fashion houses was that they started with luggage, and Louis Vuitton is no different. Since its inception, the company now designs shoes, jewelry, sunglasses, and more. The company is one of the most well-known fashion brands in the world, and it operates in 50 countries.

 

Founded: 1854

Country of Origin: France

Most Famous For: Leather travel bags and accessories

Fun Fact: Because of the material and process used for making its bags, Louis Vuitton bags are fireproof and waterproof.

 

Rolex

Rolex has been a luxury watch brand for over 100 years. Priding itself on quality and style, the watch brand has been a favorite heirloom amongst families for generations. During WWII, the watch became incredibly popular amongst RAF pilots due to its reliability.

 

Founded: 1908

Country of Origin: UK, then Switzerland

Most Famous For: Chronograph Watches

Fun Fact: The word Rolex was chosen for the company because 1) It was easy to pronounce in any language, and 2) it resembles the sound a watch makes when winding up.

 

Hermès

Hermès has a long history in the fashion world. It designed everything from jewelry and clothing, to home furnishings. However, today it’s probably most well known for the Birkin bag. Apparently designed in collaboration on an airplane by British actress Jane Birkin and fashion designer Jean-Louis Dumas in 1984, the bag has exploded in popularity and has become one of the most sought-after luxury goods in existence today.

 

Founded: 1837

Country of Origin: France

Most Famous For: Birkin Bags

Fun Fact: Hermès was one of the pioneers of ecommerce, setting up an online platform in 2001.

 

Dior

Founded in the aftermath of WWII by Christian Dior, this French fashion house is relatively new considering the 100+ year history of many other brands. Dior created what has become known as “The New Look.” It was a serious of women’s fashion outfits that featured rounded shoulders, a cinched waste and a full skirt. At the time, this was completely revolutionary and helped propel Dior towards fame.

 

Founded: 1947

Country of Origin: France

Most Famous For: High Fashion for Men and Women, Perfume

Fun Fact: Christian Dior was founded by a wealthy businessman named Marcel Boussac. Originally, Dior was simply a vanity project for Boussac, but that quickly changed once Dior's reputation for daring styles began to form.


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Armani

A relatively young company, Armani is a brand that has over 200 stores across the globe. The founder, Giorgio Armani, is seen as one of Italy’s most influential fashion and luxury designers. Armani is created for creating the Hollywood red-carpet fashion culture.

 

Founded: 1975

Country of Origin: Italy

Most Famous For: High End Men’s and Women’s Ready-to-Wear Accessories

Fun Fact: Giorgio Armani first studied medicine before he realized that’s not what he wanted to do. It was only after working in a department store that he realized fashion was his calling.


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Patek Philippe

Often considered one of the most prestigious and oldest luxury watch makers in the world, Patek Philippe has been the watch of choice for president’s, royal figures, and celebrities.  The watch company has 400 retail locations across the globe, and has a close partnership with Tiffany’s. Patek Philippe watches are known for their exceptional quality.

 

Founded: 1839

Country of Origin: Switzerland

Most Famous For: Luxury Watches

Fun Fact: Out of the world’s top 10 most expensive watches ever sold at auction, 7 were created by Patek Philippe.

 

Tissot

Switzerland is home to many luxury watch companies, and Tissot is one of them. Tissot is often referred to as a sporting watch company as they have partnered and sponsored a variety of sporting events throughout its history.

 

Founded: 1853

Country of Origin: Switzerland

Most Famous For:  Sport Chronograph Watches

Fun Fact: Tissot had the first mast produced pocket watch in 1853.


Michael Kors

Headquartered in New York City, Michael Kors has exploded as one of the biggest US fashion brands in the world. Named after it's founder, the company is known for its philanthropy.

 

Founded: 1981

Country of Origin: USA

Most Famous For:  Men and Women's Fashion

Fun Fact: Michael Kors was born as Karl Anderson Junior. His name changed when his mother remarried when Michael (or Karl) was just 5 years old.


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Prada

Founded by Mario Prada in 1913, the company got its start designing leather goods and handbags. It has now become a fashion powerhouse for shoes, clothing, and accessories for both men and women. Unlike a lot of other luxury brands, Prada focuses on what’s known as “inward luxury,” meaning they don’t put a focus on their logo when creating designs.

 

Founded: 1913

Country of Origin: Italy

Most Famous For: Fashion Wear and Accessories

Fun Fact: Prada really only became a world renown fashion brand after Mario Prada’s granddaughter, Miuccia Prada, took over.

 

Burberry

Founded by a young 21-year-old in England, the brand originally focused on outdoor wear to help combat the wet English weather. In 1879 the company created a fabric known as Gabardine, which was a lightweight and waterproof material. The company has helped design outerwear for the military, pilots, and civilians.

 

Founded: 1856

Country of Origin: UK

Most Famous For: Outdoor Fashion Wear

Fun Fact: Burberry has a famous checkered design it uses as inner lining for many of their products. This checkered pattern is a registered trademark.


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Lancôme

One of the world’s leading luxury beauty brands, Lancôme started as a fragrance brand, but quickly expanded into cosmetics. Their foundations and powders are amongst their most popular offerings. The brand is a current favorite amongst actresses.

 

Founded: 1935

Country of Origin: France

Most Famous For: Perfumes and Cosmetics

Fun Fact: Since 1964, L’Oréal has actually been the owner of the brand.


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Yves Saint Laurent

Named after its founder, Yves Saint Laurent has been a French fashion icon for over 50 years. He created the famous women’s fashion suit line known as “Le Smoking”. The company has a diverse fashion line from leather accessories, to shoes, eyewear, and clothing.

 

Founded: 1961

Country of Origin: France

Most Famous For: Suites and Fashion Attire

Fun Fact: Yves actually worked as an art director for Christian Dior (founder of Dior) back in the 1950’s at the young age of 21.


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Cartier

One of the largest and most prestigious jewelers in the world, Cartier has become a go-to-jeweler for royalty and high-class individuals for 100+ years. With a focus on quality craftmanship, Cartier jewelry has been sought after the world over.

 

Founded: 1847

Country of Origin: France

Most Famous For: Jewelry and Watches

Fun Fact: Cartier started as a watch manufacturer and later expanded into designing jewelry.

 

 

Tips for Saving on Luxury Brands

If there’s one thing luxury brands have in common, it’s their price premiums. Many brands have price points that scale from reasonable, to incredibly expensive. When looking to get a better price on a luxury item, there are a few tips you can apply to help save you a bit of money.

 

Buy Off-Season

A lot of luxury goods come in “seasons.” This is especially true for fashion goods where the style changes every few months or so. If you’re willing to wait a few months, this might be a good way to save on a new look.

 

There’s even some seasonality when it comes to things like jewelry. Most people buy jewelry during the winter holidays, avoid this time and you might get a better deal.

 

 

Shop Online

This is true for non-luxury items as well, but generally buying goods online is cheaper than buying in an actual store. This is due to cutting out middle-man costs and commissions. With Luxury brands, this isn’t always true, but it’s worth a look.

 

One thing to keep in mind when shopping online is that you’re giving up part of the in-person service element that often makes luxury brands so special – especially if you go through the brand’s outlet directly.

 

If you can live without this, then online shopping can offer some unique opportunities.


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Take Advantage of Sales Opportunities

Just like for normal deal shopping, waiting for the perfect sales opportunity is a great way to save on some exclusive looks. However, luxury brands are a bit different. Many brands actually don’t offer any sales (Louis Vuitton is one example).

 

For many luxury brands, a sale might diminish its overall brand image. That doesn’t mean that deals can’t be found, but it does make it a bit harder.

 

Your best bet? Look for sales opportunities through retailers as opposed to from the brand directly.


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