Has The Hermes Birkin Bag Lost Its AppealFor all the stories of waiting lists and the $10,000 price tag, is the Hermes Birkin still the mother lode of handbags when every
Hermes Birkin bags for sale at Milan Station in Hong Kong
other woman at lunch is armed with one? This is true in Asia, especially in Hong Kong and Singapore, where Birkin bags are as ubiquitous as Coach bags are in the US. They are everywhere and in every form—from entry level Birkins to special colors, from croc and ostrich versions to those embellished with crystals. As someone who’s worked with the socialite crowd, I’ve also seen closets devoted entirely to Birkins.
If Birkins are so expensive and so hard to get, then why do so many women—and men—carry them? Maybe they aren’t all that special if everyone has them?
In my quest to find all sorts of information about the Birkin, I talked to a bag blogger, a socialite and a fashion insider on the myth, and shall I dare say it, the decline of the Birkin. I also visited Milan Station in Central, Hong Kong, a second hand luxury bag shop that now almost exclusively deals in brand new Birkins and Kellys.
More Hermes Birkin bags for sale at shopvogueuk.com
Picking out a hibiscus colored Birkin, I was told that it was brand new, straight from the box, and never been used. I asked where their Birkins come from and a sales associate responded, “Our clients buy Birkins at Hermes stores and sell them to us. We have more stock of Birkin bags than the Hermes store,” she said. They sell the Birkins for 50-100% more than the retail price at the Hermes store and they would not bargain down because they said there will be people who will buy them at asking price. Topbagsuk.com and others like it, do away with the waiting lists for an added cost, making Birkins readily available for those who have the money to spare. And many people in Hong Kong do.
Masako Kumakura, a global communications practitioner who recently moved to China, believes that the Birkin has become a bit démodé especially among the stylish set. “Too many people who are not all that fashionable have it. And they carry it everywhere. In Asia, I have seen women carry their big Birkins to dinner parties. So not chic,” she said.
“Since almost everybody has a Birkin bag, more and more ladies are opting for bags made from exotic skins now, not necessarily Birkins,” shared socialite and Singapore PR maven Olga Iserlis.
Popular blogger Bagaholicboy who hails from Singapore had this to say: “Truth be told, I’m honestly still puzzled why the Birkin is still so coveted. Yes, it still seems to be the most coveted bag in Singapore and around the region, and every month I get at least 10 new snapshots of Birkins from their proud owners from South East Asia.”
But he also points out that to a lot of people, the fact that the Birkin is a handbag is beside the point. It represents success, achievement and status. It shows that the wearer is a card-carrying member of the $10,000 handbag club. “It is still the ultimate status symbol, for first-timers who save for months on end to buy their first very Birkin to those seasoned collectors who must have every new color or size in their wardrobe. Because the Birkin is more than just a bag, it’s a lifestyle.”
View the slideshow of celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Naomi Campbell and Lady Gaga and their Birkins.
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