Luxury brands that aren’t worth the money

Luxury brands
BY
CHRISTINE-MARIE LIWAG DIXON
Many people think that luxury
brands are made better than other brands, but they aren’t always right. This
doesn’t necessarily mean you should never splurge on a designer label dress or
fancy accessories, but it’s always good to do your research before you shop.
Whether you’re looking to treat yourself to something nice or are shopping for
the perfect gift, here are some luxury brands that you may want to avoid if you
want to get something that’s actually worth the high price tag.
Louis
Vuitton
Luxury brands Louis Vuitton
Has there ever been a more
iconic — or overrated — luxury brand than Louis Vuitton? With a high sticker
price, these bags are well-known as an indicator of wealth. But what are they
really worth beyond signalling affluence? The markup on Louis Vuitton purses is
ridiculous. Way back in the year 2000, the New York Times calculated that the
production cost of a Louis Vuitton bag is hundreds of dollars cheaper than what
they sell for.
A spokesperson for the company
claimed this estimate was inaccurate, but declined to reveal the real
production costs. If that sounds fishy, that’s because it is. The same
spokesperson said that part of what you’re paying for is “the product
development that is involved in its design” — which is just a fancy way of
saying that the company is making a lot of money off of each bag sold.
According to Forbes, Louis
Vuitton is one of the most profitable brands in the world “with profit margins
north of 30%.” It’s valued at $28.8 billion, a fortune amassed over more
than a century of selling marked-up items.
Montblanc
Luxury brands Montblanc
Luxury brands aren’t limited
just to clothing, jewelry, shoes, and bags. While the art of writing things by
hand is quickly being displaced by modern technology, quality writing
instruments still have a dedicated band of followers who are willing to drop
hundreds of dollars on a pen.
The very fact the most
communication is done electronically these days means that pens are becoming
increasingly irrelevant, but the high price tag of a Montblanc pen makes this
one luxury good that definitely isn’t worth your money. If you really like way
a Montblanc pen writes, there’s a simple hack that lets you load a far less
expensive pen with a Montblanc ink cartridge.
Veuve
Clicquot
Luxury brands champagne
Whether you’re ringing in the
new year or celebrating a wedding, a champagne toast is a classy way of
commemorating the occasion. That’s right, there are even luxury brands for
alcohol. While it might be tempting to indulge in a bottle of Veuve Clicquot,
do you really need to? It turns out that you can safely save your money without
sacrificing quality. In a blind taste test conducted by Which?, Veuve Clicquot
lost to far more affordable sparkling wines. Cheers!
Tiffany
Luxury brands Tiffany diamond

Tiffany is one of the most
well-known luxury brands there is, but are you really getting what you pay for?
If you have more than breakfast at Tiffany’s, you’re pretty much just shelling
out extra money for that blue box. Other jewelers sell quality goods without
the steep prices.
If you really want the brand
name, which many people do, be aware that you’re going to be paying extra for
it. If you’re just looking for beautiful jewelry, however, consider a store
like Costco that offers top-quality gems at much lower prices. Good Morning
America went shopping at both stores and found that a Costco diamond of a
quality similar to one sold at Tiffany’s was $10,000 cheaper.
Now, while we’re on the
subject of products not worth the typical asking price…
Pretty
much all diamonds
Diamonds
If you’re buying diamonds at
all, you’re not getting much value for your money. In case you haven’t heard
the news yet, the diamond industry is a massive scam. First of all, diamonds
are nowhere near as rare as we have been led to believe. There are other
gemstones, like rubies, which are in far shorter supply. Yet, thanks to an
aggressive ad campaign in the 1930s, we still believe that diamonds are the
jewel to beat. They’re not even a sound investment, thanks to fluctuating
values. It turns out that diamonds actually aren’t a girl’s best friend, no
matter what celebrities would have us believe.
Rolex
Rolex watch
Rolex is another prime example
of an overhyped luxury brand. While the brand is beloved, its overwhelming
popularity as a status symbol is a fairly recent development. If you want an
elegant and timeless watch, look to Rolex’s prime competitor, Omega. Like
Rolex, Omega has produced Swiss-made watches for decades and is widely
recognized as a luxury watch brand. They also tend to be cheaper, so you’ll be
getting a much better bargain.
Louboutin
Luxury brands Louboutin
Louboutin sells more than half
a million pairs of shoes each year at outrageously high prices. Those red-soled
shoes might be iconic, but they’re definitely not worth the cost—or the pain.
Christian Louboutin himself said that his goal is to make stylish works of art
and that comfort isn’t even something he prioritizes when designing his shoes.
“People say I am the king of painful shoes,” the designer told Vogue.
“I don’t want to create painful shoes, but it is not my job to create
something comfortable. I try to make high heels as comfortable as they can be,
but my priority is design, beauty and sexiness. I’m not against them, but
comfort is not my focus.”
The only way that a pair of
Louboutins is worth hundreds of dollars is if you believe the mantra that pain
is beauty.
Mikimoto
Strand of pearls
If you love pearls, you’re
probably familiar with this luxury brand. Widely acknowledged as the best
cultured pearls that money can buy, even a simple strand of Mikimoto pearls can
cost thousands of dollars. At the end of the day, though, they’re only cultured
pearls — which means they’re nowhere near as rare as pearls that are grown
naturally and harvested. In fact, there’s really not much of a reason to dish
out the big bucks on pearls at all; most people can’t tell the difference
between real and fake pearls, anyway. If you’re looking for that perfect strand
to complete an outfit, go ahead and buy some imitation pearls — we won’t tell.
Coach
luxury handbag brands
Once touted as one of the most
popular handbag lines in the world, Coach has recently declined in popularity
after too many sales made them far too accessible to be considered exclusive.
Coach is trying to rectify that problem by introducing even more expensive bags
to its already pricey line and cutting back on online flash sales. While things
are getting better for the company, Coach is no longer viewed in quite the same
light, which is something you may want to consider if you’re purchasing one of
their bags in order to make a statement.
Michael
Kors
Luxury brands Michael Kors
There was a time when Michael
Kors handbags were highly coveted status symbols, but the MK bubble burst right
around the same time that Coach began to lose its following. According to
Business Insider, the brand’s overexposure led to a huge decline in sales.
Fortune said that
“Michael Kors created a ubiquity that was contradictory to a luxury cachet
and hurt its ability to turn out new and exciting products.” The company
is trying to turn itself around and improve its image, but it isn’t quite there
yet. While the company still markets itself as a luxury brand, if you’re going
to shop Michael Kors you should wait for one of its many sales which often
feature markdowns up to 50 percent.
Prada
Luxury brands Prada
While Prada might sell some
quality goods befitting luxury brands, some of their offerings are questionable
to say the least. For example, there is absolutely no world in which a $170
paperclip can be worth the cost. Sure, it’s made out of sterling silver and is
officially advertised as a money clip, but if you have so much cash that you
can sink nearly $200 on a money clip, then you have too much cash for a money
clip to hold. The high price tag is in keeping with the line’s other
outrageously priced products; the average cost of a purse runs into the
thousands.
Balenciaga
Luxury brands Balenciaga
Balenciaga is another designer
that likes to take everyday products, throw their spin on them, and then sell
them at ludicrous prices as if the most important thing is owning luxury brands
of everything. In 2017 they debuted a $2,145 tote bag that looks suspiciously
like the ones Ikea sells for just a dollar.
While the Balenciaga version
swapped out Ikea’s recyclable plastic for leather, that’s still quite a hefty
markup considering how similar they look in practice. If you don’t want to
spend that much money on a tote bag, Balenciaga has you covered with this
calfskin shopping bag–which looks identical to a paper shopping bag. At just
$1,100 you’re getting a bargain as far as Balenciaga is concerned, but still
paying way too much money.
Porsche
Porsche
Porsche is one of those names
that makes people stop in their tracks. The name of the luxury car brand exudes
indulgence and automotive superiority, but how much bang are you really getting
for your buck? According to automotive journalist Thomas Bey for AskMen, the
911 GT2, with a sticker price of $194,000, should instead come in at $129,900
if you look at what you’re getting for your money. That’s still a pretty hefty
price tag, but according to Bey, the GT2 doesn’t offer enough under the hood to
justify the higher figure.
Luxury vehicles are also more
susceptible to being marked up to even higher prices by car dealerships, which
put a premium on imported cars that are in demand when first landing in the
United States. This means that buying a Porsche might cost you even more than
the already inflated sticker price. Porsche is also starting to lose its
reputation as a maker of flashy cars as they increase sales of their SUVs.
While there might be a demand for luxury SUVs, an SUV conjures pictures of
suburban family life rather than a fast and carefree lifestyle, which may cause
some people to rethink forking money over for the brand.
Versace
Versace sign
Once upon a time, Versace was
the brand to beat. Nothing screamed sophistication and class louder than
clothes and accessories from this once-timeless brand. Of course, things have
changed quite a bit since company founder Gianni Versace launched his first
clothing line in 1978. After his death in 1997, the company passed into the
hands of his brother and sister, Santo and Donatella, and Donatella’s daughter,
Allegra.
Perhaps the first sign that
things were going downhill for the Versace brand came in 2011 when the company
launched a line for budget brand H&M. With prices starting from $19.95, the
line was a far cry from the exclusive styles for which it was once known.
Still, Versace may have been able to hold onto its reputation if it hadn’t been
acquired by Michael Kors in 2018 for $2.12 billion. Considering that Michael
Kors is another brand whose reputation hasn’t been faring too well, Versace
being acquired by the floundering business further diminishes the brand’s
legacy.
Most
designer sunglasses
Ray-Ban
There’s something shady about
the sunglasses industry, and we aren’t just talking about the lenses. It
doesn’t matter if you’re buying a designer pair or some cheap shades from the
drugstore. In all likelihood, your sunglasses were made by the same company:
Luxottica. Luxottica has a major monopoly on the sunglasses industry, with at
least half a billion people around the world likely owning a pair made by the
company. They also make frames for optical glasses, although they don’t make
prescription lenses.
Luxottica makes sunglasses for
brands like Chanel, Polo, Tiffany, Coach, and Ray-Ban. While Luxottica won’t
reveal their exact markup, their designer shades can retail for an estimated 20
times what they actually cost to produce. Many of their cheaper glasses also
look quite similar to the more expensive brands, making designer sunglasses
quite the rip-off. All you’re really paying for is the brand’s logo on the side
of the frame, which most people probably won’t see it anyway.
Hermes
Birkin bag
While Hermès still retains its
ironclad reputation as being one of the world’s most iconic fashion brands,
this is still a line you might want to skip if you’re looking to get good value
for your money. Let’s examine the Hermès Birkin, a luxury purse that many
consider to be the holy grail of handbags. Prospective buyers have to sign up
for a two-year waiting list and fork over a five-figure sum before taking one
of these home.
Is it worth the money? Former
CEO Patrick Thomas told FashionBeans that the exorbitant price tag is because
“there’s always one craftsman responsible for the whole process of the
bag, from the start to the end.” He explained, “To create a single
bag, it costs around 15 to 20 hours.” Of course, with entry level prices
starting at
10,000 (roughly $12,800) that means you’re
paying nearly $1,000 an hour to have that bag made.
The crippling cost of the
Birkin may be part of the reason so many of them end up being put up for
collateral at pawn shops. Cost aside, even the person the bag is named for,
model and singer Jane Birkin, doesn’t want the bag to carry her name because of
the cruel treatment endured by crocodiles that are slaughtered for the bags.
You’re far better off spending your money on a brand that is kinder to animals,
not to mention your wallet.
SMEG
SMEG appliances
There’s no denying that SMEG
appliances are gorgeous. The retro-style brand was founded in Italy in 1948,
but has become more popular since the 1990s when it launched a line of
1950s-style refrigerators. Today, they have other retro-inspired appliances
that might look good in your kitchen but aren’t so great for your wallet. CNET
praised their C30GGRU oven for its sleek design and cherry-red finish, but
marked it down for its general lack of usability. With the oven costing $3,199
in spite of not having much to offer aside from looks, it’s quite the overrated
product.
That’s not the worst when it
comes to SMEG, though. The brand paired up with Dolce & Gabbana to produce
some beautifully designed appliances with astonishingly high price tags. A
Dolce Gabbana x SMEG electric tea kettle will set you back a cool $650. That’s
a lot of money for an appliance that only heats up water. A Dolce Gabbana x
SMEG blender will run you $850, while a refrigerator from the line costs a
laughable $50,000 (plus $495 for shipping). No refrigerator is worth that much
money, especially when it comes with less storage space than the average
refrigerator model — the SMEG is less than five feet tall.
SOURCE:
THE LIST
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.