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Did popularity of Marc Jacobs bags hurt Louis Vuitton?

Conrad Wilson Oct 3, 2013
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This week fashion mogul Marc Jacobs announced he’s leaving Louis Vuitton after 16 years to focus on his own company.

While Jacobs has long been synonymous with Louis Vuitton, those who follow the fashion industry think the company could be trying to elevate its brand.

Fashion journalist and author Melissa Magsaysaya says under Jacobs, Louie Vuitton became more profitable in part because it became more commercialized.

“Generally fashion is having a major return to luxury,” Magsaysay says. “This would be the right time to sort of reposition and, as a luxury brand, really reclaim that sense of tight, controlled, exclusive sense of luxury.”

She says more and more consumers are asking for one-of-a-kind products designed just for them.

Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for The NPD Group, says there’s a real danger of a brand appealing to the masses.

“Look for [Louis Vuitton] to inject even greater product, greater materials, greater design element to raise the upper level to make it more of an elitist product again,” Cohen says.

Louis Vuitton will need to find new designers to accomplish that goal. 

Cohen says even in the case of Marc Jacobs, no designer is bigger than the brand.

“Louis Vuitton will be able to sustain their level of growth that Marc Jacobs helped build,” he notes. “They’ll be able to sustain that level even without him in the picture.”

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