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Indians Still Want Their Louis Vuitton Handbags To Scream “LV”

The world is moving away from luxury brands emblazoned with big fat logos, but not us Indians.

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India
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Wealthy shoppers around the world prefer to shell out for unique, hard-to-find pieces instead of highly recognizable handbags from big-name brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada.
— Washington Post

Retail reporter Sarah Halzack quotes experts to suggest that that “personal taste and individuality — not conformity — are the ultimate badges of cool”.

But India is yet to get it.

According to a Wealth X report on ‘The Next 10 Years in Wealth and Luxury’, we many be now entering India’s Decade. The report says that by 2018, India will be home to 4.37 lakh millionaires and our ultra-rich population is set to double by 2037.

And as an aspirational class, Indians are not moving away from their emblazoned logos any time soon. The merchandise designated for the Indian market proves that a lot of Indians would prefer to let the world know what brand they’re carrying and how much they cost.

The world is moving away from luxury brands emblazoned with big fat logos, but not us Indians.
Cleaners work on the windows of a shopping mall displaying the logo of Italian fashion label Giorgio Armani. (Photo: Reuters)

When Did a Logo Become a No-Go?

Research indicates that the ever-sophisticated luxury consumer is increasingly becoming digitally savvy, time-sensitive, and socially aware. The seemingly new-found need for discretion could be prompted by:

1. Increased awareness about the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots.

2. The consequent need to shrug off obvious signs of wealth, like unsubtle brand logos.

3. Social media apps that digest and spit out trends faster than you can say “Runway”.

The world is moving away from luxury brands emblazoned with big fat logos, but not us Indians.
A woman runs past a Gucci billboard in Shanghai (Photo: Reuters)

While India’s (economic) growth rate is recovering from its doldrums, it remains below potential. But when it comes to spending on luxury goods, we are doing just fine when compared to other emerging economies.

Research agency Deloitte identified the 100 largest luxury goods companies around the world in its Annual Global Powers of Luxury Goods report. Providing an outlook on global economy, the report states:

Economic growth in three of the four BRIC economies has either stalled or decelerated, the exception being India.

The world is moving away from luxury brands emblazoned with big fat logos, but not us Indians.
Campaign by Louis Vuitton encouraging people to buy originals (Photo: Reuters)

Kaali Teri Gucci, Prada Tera Laal Ni

No reference to India’s obsession with luxury brands would be complete without Honey Singh’s ode to the spending power of young emerging India. As a marketing manager for Paul Smith & Etro, Ridhima Bhatia has closely observed their spending patterns.

Louis Vuitton, despite being the most copied, continues to be the most sought after brand. Over exposure translates into high demand in India. I have seen people who can afford the original carry knock-offs with pride. There is a very small section that will care about the stitching and quality of leather. Here, its all about status and acceptance in society.
– Ridhima Bhatia, Creative Head & Owner, Classique Design Inc.

Puja Khandelwal, would not fall into that category. She’s been a student of luxury marketing and says she’s learnt to appreciate luxury goods, not just for the brand it represents, but also for its value, heritage and craftsmanship.

Just like how you would pass on your precious jewellery, silk saris and pashminas to your children even though they have no branding or logos attached to them, I also value my Celine, Chloe and Balenciaga even though they don’t have any logos stamped on them. I, like any other girl love luxury, but I don’t need a stamp to remind me where it came from. A handmade Italian bag is good enough reason to put my money on.
– Puja Khandelwal, Director, Floor & Furnishings

Companies likes Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada have spent a lot of time and money to brand themselves, to become instantly recognizable with their logos. To do away with them after so many years, would suggest a need to preserve their exclusivity and boost sales. While it may be true for the U.S and Europe, Indians still appear to be enjoying the luxury goods in their present avatar.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Luxury brands   Louis Vuitton   Gucci 

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