Premium vs contemporary designers

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  1. Is there a difference in the quality of the bag?
  2. Unless you are talking about very high end premium bags I don't think there is a huge difference. I have LV and LAMB bags in a similar style and if anything I think the LAMB ($300) is better quality (workmanship, detail, nicer lining material, durability).

    There is much more of a quality difference between a $100 bag and and $300 bag, than there is between a $300 bag and a $1500 bag.

    If you look around the individual subforum for the designer you are interested in, you will see they all have threads about poor quality or that the quality isn't as good as the brand used to be.
  3. Yes.

    Which isn't to say that quality hasn't been declining across brands... for that's true of both premium and contemporary designers.

    In any case... quality is incredibly subjective... and one's person's better quality is another person's lesser quality... and vice versa. Often, quality concerns addressed here on tpf, are very specific... i.e. loose stitches, corner wear, etc. However, overall, contemporary designers are good quality. Premium designers are better quality.

    Meanwhile, a careful person can use a contemporary bag, and keep it pristine... for years. While a less careful person can use a premium designer bag, and make it look like a wreck... within months.

    GL. :smile:

  4. I think big box store brands give you exactly what you pay for. But, being the owner of both Premier and Contemporary Designer bags, my experience tells me that there really is no difference in quality of workmanship. Maybe there is a difference in the type of material used, but they all have their issues.
  5. In my personal experience, there can be a quality difference, especially in the "premium end of premium" e.g. Hermes, BV etc, but not enough to justify the massive jump in price. Paying for great quality is a game of diminishing returns IMO, where you may pay double or triple the price for, say, only a 10-20% increase in quality (assuming the fluid concept of "quality" can even be quantified this way.)

    That said, it doesn't stop me from exclusively buying premium designers over contemporary. I enjoy the other brand-specific aspects such as heritage, (perceived) exclusivity, "fashion street cred" etc. All these intangible values carry different monetary value for different people, it depends on what matters to you personally. *shrug*
  6. What are some examples of $100 bags and what are some examples of $300 bags? I tend to lump both in the same category, but maybe I shouldn't!
  7. I think there is a pretty substantial difference in quality and quality control, but the price does seem to increase exponentially. Occasionally, I hear about premium lines having a quality issue, whereas if contemporary lines have more issues. As well, premium lines use better materials and are more detailed oriented.

    I own items from Gucci, LV, Dolce & Gabbana, and Christian Dior and Burberry and the stitching is supreme (straight, no loose strings, consistent sizing, and the same number of stitches on each handle), patterns are placed symmetrically on the items, and the materials are resilient. For items I own from contemporary lines, I notice more threads out of place, there's no concern for pattern placement, hardware isn't aligned properly, fabrics and leathers aren't as nice to the touch, etc.

    There are exceptions to this rule. My ten year old Coach bag is top notch. On the other hand, there are some premium lines I just won't buy based upon quality issues. I can justify overlooking stitching issues on a $200 bag; however, I certainly won't do that for a $2000 bag.
  8. $100 - generally don't have any recognized 'brand' or logo - like you would get at a mid-range department store such as Sears.

    $300 - Coach, LAMB, Michael Kors, Kate Spade (based on the prices I paid - mine are a few years old so those brands probably cost more now but they were $250-$300 when I bought them).
  9. I don't know what to think any more.....
    I used to spend a lot of money on premium designer bags.
    Now I realize that the extra cost is not really worth it. I paid for the huge rents of the boutiques on posh avenues, for the advertissing campaign in luxury magazines, for the top models or actresses who advertised the product.....How much was left for the cost of the bag actually?
    One third, one quarter of the price?
    In luxury items the margin profit is enormous.
    Today I am into contemporary designers, Gérard Darel is one of my favourites, and I have not noticed any quality issues.
  10. +1 It's really mind over matter. What it truly comes down to is the more prestige the name, the more expenses the manufacturer obtains ie., marketing, rent, distributor salaries, etc. The marketing is to be awarded significantly because they have won the mindsets of many women into believing that buying a more exclusive, higher priced bag places them in a separate league and gives them more exclusivity and therefore, confidence. I see beyond that. (I want to mention I own quite a few premier designer bags!!) I don't feel like padding anyone else's pocket when the majority of bags come out of the same China plant and cost a fraction to make.

    My advice is to check the style, stitching, quality of leather, edges, zipper, etc. If you love it and it won't set you back financially, it's yours!
  11. my premium designer bags are Hermes, Bottega Veneta and Valextra. my contemporary designer bags include Proenza Schouler. I've never had any construction issues with the premier designers unlike the contemporary. that said, I have a 20+ year old Coach bag and it's still great.

    You can find quality construction at any price point - you just have to look. But the consistent difference between premier, contemporary, and low is in materials (this is true for clothing as well) - the high end ones have the best leather, skins, and unique/unusual treatments. Sometimes it's not immediately obvious but will show over time.
  12. I think there is a big difference. A Louis Vuitton Neverfull is much better than a Michael Kors jet set bag!
  13. I don't think you can generalize so much. It depends more specifically on the brand, the season and the particular bag! You can find outstanding quality in some contemporary designer bags and find some premium bags with quality issues.
  14. To me, a very important measure of quality is the labor and environmental conditions under which the bag was made. These are more likely to be favorable in the production of the premium designers' bags, or at least that's been the case traditionally. I continue to expect a better experience from French and Italian leather made in a smaller scale situation vs. bad leather highly processed in a Chinese factory--but discovering such facts is not easy.
  15. What differentiates premium from contemporary is often a vision -- that premium designers tend to be more original & innovative. That is in part where the cost is. While quality may correlate positively with premium designers, the relationship is not entirely direct. Many contemporary are also very good, just less established.