Dear Gen Z, here are some tips when buying your first luxury bag

Published July 23, 2021, 10:00 AM

by Marie Buenaventura

That LV x BTS collection is making you seriously consider your first major purchase, no?

BAG IT, BTS LV ambassador Jimin shows off a silver tote bag from the collection at Virgil Abloh’s LV Men fall/winter 21 fashion show in Seoul

Here’s one piece of fashion news that might shake your pandemic-weary soul to the core.

At the Altagamma Retail Insight conference, conducted in April, luxury brands reported that sales were unexpectedly shooting through the roof. (For example, the luxury personal market is expected to close 2022 with a market value growth of five to 10 percent above 2019 levels).

The year 2020 saw one of the worst—maybe the worst ever—year in global luxury retail. Even in the bad years of 2008-2009 when markets crashed and recession reared its ugly head, luxury never really took a hit. All over the world, the luxury market lost $79 billion in sales, the greatest drop recorded in 25 years. (Looking at data says it shed about six years’ worth of growth.)

At the recent conference, Michael Ward, managing director at Harrods, called the new way of doing things as “magical.” Luxury consumers—deprived and stressed in 2020—are back spending with a vengeance.

In the US, where many have been vaccinated, it’s back to the “Roaring ’20s,” according to a study released last month by Bain and Co Consultancy. They’re competing with the China market, and pundits are saying that, based on the trajectory of sales, it might soon eclipse pre-pandemic levels.

Bain, which has tracked the luxury market for years, is fully optimistic and says luxury will grow as much as $358 billion this year.

Closer to the home front, buoyed by a year’s savings, a renewed YOLO mentality, and just maybe coming of age, many young Pinays may be on the lookout for their first major luxury bag purchase. Known as the “Rebound Effect,” Altagamma predicts that this will be felt strongly by the Gen Z and Millennials. After bearing the brunt of the COVID crisis, Millennials and Gen Z now appear to be the most optimistic generations about post-pandemic recovery. According to the report, more than half of the consumers from these two generations express their positive feeling about a fast recovery. They are expected to represent more than 60 percent of Global Personal Luxury Market by 2025, with an estimated market value ranging from 235 to 265 billion euros.

Closer to the home front, buoyed by a year’s savings, a renewed YOLO mentality, and just maybe coming of age, many young Pinays may be on the lookout for their first major luxury bag purchase.

If you’re one of them and already looking to purchase your first luxury item (we know it’s a bag)—here are a few time-tested tips:

Choose a classic.

Some bags have a moment, some bags are canonical. Imagine having a bag you can wear 10, 20, 30 years from now. A bag that’s immortalized in the annals of history, and one you can hand down to a future offspring or a favorite niece, is a good first choice for a bag. (I wonder if those who bought Stephen Sprouse’s neon collection for LV have outgrown them.)

Start small.

Camera bags are the best entry-level choices to purchasing your first luxury piece. They’re easy to match with your wardrobe, they’re way cheaper than their big sisters, and they’re versatile. They’re easy to carry, too, and won’t cause you as much stress trying to protect them from dirt and dust.

Vanessa Williams Queen GIF by VH1s Daytime Divas - Find & Share on GIPHY

Be practical.

Need to tote a laptop every day? The Louis Vuitton Neverfull is a classic for a reason. Stressful and long commute to work? Never buy lambskin as your first purchase—you will need to learn the intricacies of caring for different kinds of leather before you can confidently carry them. You can’t carry lambskin on a rainy day—and in the Philippines, half of the year is rainy. If you can, choose full-grain leather, one of the hardiest ones. Some women, for example, choose caviar leather Chanel over lambskin because the pebbled quality is good for daily wear and tear. I generally find Balenciaga one of the best brands that are able to withstand the roughness of everyday use.

Identify your personality, and match it with a brand.

In my younger years, I only had eyes for the glitz and glamor of Prada. I didn’t like Chanel’s sophistication. Now that I am older, I appreciate the handiwork and history that go with each style. If you’re ladylike, Dior would be a fit for your fit. If you’re more edgy, Celine or Loewe can be your go-to. If you’re more in-your-face, Gucci’s bold and brazen designs can be your look. You are most likely going to be looking at the styles and models of each bag brand and finding yourself attracted to a particular aesthetic. While creative designers come and go, you will most likely form a loyalty to the first brand you purchase.

Stick to your budget.

There will always be a nicer bag than the one you’re eyeing on your current budget. Please be patient. There’s a different bag with a different price tag for each different chapter in our lives. Sticking to your budget is the most important thing to assure sustainability to this habit you just picked up.

Follow your heart.

In the end, if you want something impractical but beautiful, YOLO, right? Forget everything we’ve said here, and buy the bag of your dreams (yes, that silver metallic LV x BTS tote). If anything, they will serve to commemorate a very special time in your life.

 
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