Is Michael Kors a good brand of handbag?

Is Michael Kors a good brand of handbag?

The beginnings of Michael Kors

The Michael Kors designer brand sits at the pinnacle of the premium sector mountain, a place once occupied by the likes of DKNY and Calvin Klein. Just how did MK become the main player in a convoluted and highly competitive marketplace?

Much of the eponymous fashion designer’s success can be traced back to his dual interests in design [his mother had been a model and he spent some time studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology], and retail [Kors worked at a store close to 5th Avenue’s Bergdorf Goodman, and his own label was launched there in the early eighties].

This eye for style matched with a keen business sense, an understanding of what the upwardly mobile New Yorker is wearing, is central in defining the MK approach to fashion branding. MK fans want legitimate entry to a fashion world that the internet has made visually accessible and desirable.



How stylish is Michael Kors right now

Michael Kors is – from a New York perspective – eternally stylish. Despite the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Thom Browne syphoning some of that NYC swagger, don’t expect the power to shift any time soon.

The appeal stems from an almost mythical embodiment of NYC values and ethos that Kors projects through his brand. Think of him as fashion’s own Barry Manilow, with a story that includes youthful stints at legendary Studio 54, subway rides to and from acting classes, and now a private table at any downtown restaurant worth its Michelin star.

Is Kors corny in selling a clichéd version of the New York, New York dream? Maybe, but Tom Ford sells a slightly posher version of the same tale, and all the European brands dip deep into their own regional mystique, so what’s the problem? It’s the clothes that count and – whatever you say about the man and his profits – his designs generally hit that Big Apple sweet spot.  




Latest Collections from Women's Bags

MK bags and watches are the frequent entry points to the MK club. For bags, Saffiano leather is a generous plus point: essentially an embossing technique in the water-resistant wax that covers the leather. The MK logo is present but not overbearing.

Otherwise, Michael Kors collections are ready to wear to those restaurants and trendy offices in Tribeca or SoHo: slim cut and sleek in beige, black, cream, and white. The European consumer is further seduced with aspirational poolside and private jet imagery, but true MK champions wear their creations sharp to shop, dine or do business.  




Who is their competition?

Aspirational fashionistas might believe luxury brands such as

Louis Vuitton are Michael Kors handbags’ biggest competition. This perception owes much to the marketing acumen of Kors and Capri Holdings. In truth however, Michael Kors products compete with premium sector big wigs like Coach [in bags] and [more expensive] formal clothing from Burberry. But it’s not a close-run thing.

Kors dominates most of the premium sector thanks to around 800 stores worldwide, strong presence in department stores and eCommerce gravitas.





Where Michael Kors Bags stands in the fashion world (in terms of pricing)

Price points for Michael Kors bags come in at about the £300 range. For quality leather on a premium imprint, this is very good value indeed.

Kors understands [much like DKNY and Calvin Klein before him] that those discerning customers are less interested in radical designs or exquisite craftsmanship. They want smart looking quality ‘designer bags’ with a reasonable price tag. For a similar price, you could opt for fun diffusion line offerings from Love Moschino [although it won’t be leather] or funky Coach bags. MK fits the cool conservative bill to a tee.

Clothing similarly buys you smart lifestyle dresses from around £200. This is sexy Reformation or Diane Von Furstenberg territory, but you can’t wear their clothes to business meetings. You’ll pay a lot more for Burberry and then again for proper luxury labels. Expect Chinese brands to up their game in coming years – this is where Kors real competition could come from.




Right now, the Michael Kors brand dominates the premium clothing and accessory sector via hundreds of stores worldwide selling quality products that you can wear to work or smart dinner dates. While your purchase won’t turn heads for radical or super lux designs or label recognition, you’ll win respect and admirers for looking the part, and you can use an MK base to ascend or accessorize with more daring items.

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