Will You Buy a Face Shield Worth Rs 70k? Well, Some People Are...
How luxury brands responded to COVID with masks and shields that will leave a hold in your pocket?
Did you ever in your wildest dreams think that Louis Vuitton could make a face shield? Not that I was okay with face masks being sold at the price of a kidney.
The luxury brand has announced that they will be releasing the face shield priced at $960 or Rs 70,000 next month (which btw is the rent of my flat in a posh Bombay area, I mean, just saying).
What makes it 'soooooo' expensive? The signature LV trim and the band.
LV describes it as an eye-catching headpiece, both stylish and protective. The brand says it can be flipped up and used as a visor.
Oh and did I say it has gold studs?
Just to give you some perspective here, a normal face shield which serves the basic purpose of protecting you, costs about Rs 250.
But how did luxury brands get here and how are they positioning new products to meet this new need for "accessories"?
How Did Luxury Brands Get Here?
According some fashion experts, the sale of luxury items this year is expected to drop by 35 per cent. In such a scenario, luxury brands across the world grabbed on to the pent up demand for masks and other protective gears to meet the needs of those who like expensive collectibles.
When the demand for masks came up early this year, it sparked a huge debate among the fashion luxury brands on whether to cash in or not. If yes, how? Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Gucci, Prada, Burberry, and Ralph Lauren repurposed some production facilities to make personal protective equipment available for healthcare professionals.
Now that the machinery was procured, the impending idea was to start making masks for profits. When a luxury brand decides to make a mask or any other protective gear, not only will that have to be stylish but will also probably have to boast some health effectiveness. And of course, it will have to be expensive - to meet the luxury brands' price point.
For example’s sake - LV’s mink fur sleep mask is priced at about $860 or Rs 63,199.
Give a desi this eye mask meant for a good night's sleep and they won't catch a wink. The price is enough for a week's worth of sleepless nights.
But would making profit out of a health emergency across the world look insensitive? One way to tackle this was to keep the designs subtle, with no bling. The other way for them was to donate a part of the profits towards healthcare. With both models in hand and with the COVID situation around for at least the coming few months, brands decided to give in to the design and innovation along with existing accessories that could double up as protective gears.
What Luxury Brands Have to Offer?
Before I begin here, let me tell you -- most doctors and healthcare professionals say that N95, N99 and N100 masks are the safest to prevent the spread of the virus. Whether or not these luxury brand masks are safe to prevent the spead of the virus, is hard to say.
Today, you name it, every luxury brand has a whole variety of masks to choose from. From disposable masks priced at $100 or about Rs 7,000, to Michael Ngo's face masks that go upto $500 or Rs 37,000, there are all kinds of masks to choose from. Sequins, silk, cotton, prints, scarf which can be made a mask; it's a whole range to match your choice of outfit.
LV switched up its perfumery to producing hand gel sanitisers. The brand started this when Paris faced an acute shortage of anti-viral materials in April. This was done to meet the supply in hospitals and delivered for free.
Who knows, as travel starts easing up, we might see brands announce comfortable PPE suits. Much like the photochromic LV visor plus face shield, these PPE kits of the future could have self-cooling properties with medical grade level protection.
But wait, how am I supposed to shop for these considering travel is off limits and no factory outlet abroad delivers to India?
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