I’m in a Facebook Group called BagChat, lead by Handbag YouTube Influencer Chase Amie, who posted a Balenciaga Woven Raffia Bag that I’m familiar with from my time at online authenticated luxury consignment shop, Yoogi’s Closet.
“You know I love me a designer bag but I stumbled across this on Nordstrom when I was looking for a beach bag and almost spat out my drink! Balenciaga’s version for a mere $1190.00 😱😱
I mean, I guess the straps are leather so it isn’t drastically different from a Neverfull… but I just don’t think I could pay this for a woven tote! What do you guys think? Cute or crazy? 😝😂😂“
It’s definitely cute, especially as a beach bag, I’d carry it. But I know I’ve seen similar bags for way less money.
The price seems really high for “just a woven bag”, but I got to thinking about the woven raffia, which is what the bag is made of…
If this is handwoven, which I’m pretty sure it probably is, it took A LOT of time to weave. Balenciaga couture, right? Plus, Balenciaga leather and Balenciaga design.
But what about quality, though? Will the raffia pull or snag or, I don’t know, I can see through it!?!
So, I did a little research. Typically, raffia upholstery fabric should score at least 40,000 on the Martindale Rub Test, which predicts wearability (Commercial Grade fabrics usually score 30,000 plus).
In the Martindale Rub Test, fabric samples are rubbed using worsted wool cloth. The score indicates the number of rubs that the fabric can take before it wears and changes in appearance from holes, pilling etc.
I know this tote isn’t *couch* material or commercial grade, but it seems like it can be a powerful fabric that’s durable. So, in that regard.. raffia IS strong and probably takes a while to weave.
Raffia is also sustainable and doesn’t come from an animal, like leather does (this bag still has leather though, but I think you get what I’m saying…).
Anyway, back to the Balenciaga woven raffia bag.
It’s a style I would carry, especially for a beach vacation… but it’s still too high for the price. I know I can find a similar style and quality with other good brands for sure.
So, I guess if price does not matter, get it. I’d rather spend my money on other things.
What are we really paying for?
I kept thinking about this for a little longer and it lead me to another important question: do you ever think about what we really pay for with designer bags?
What’s your equation for value?
For me, I guess it’s kinda like this:
Value = Handcrafted with Detail + Durability + Brand
That said, I think we let luxury designers play with our perception of value a lot.
Take Vetements, who prices an oversized, stretched out black hoodie that looks like it has an old metal band logo that I wore in high school for…
I think I could go to a thrift store for vintage metal/hardcore shirts or ask some of my friends for shirts from the back of their closet.
I kinda regretting donating mine years ago. I could really use a Black Flag shirt in my wardrobe right now. Anyway…
What about a clear Chanel Boy Bag for $3000?
MADE OF VINYL. PLASTIC.
It looks just like the NFL stadium approved handbags! But SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE.
*goes to Amazon.com and searches for a clear bag*
Or like, Gucci charging $590 for a white t-shirt with their faded logo on it that looks like it’s been washed about 1000 times since 1988.
So… What’s the real value then?
Well… the brand name is included in the price tag.
I know some people can afford these things and it’s not that big of a deal to drop a couple thousand on trendy fashion. One person’s $100 is another person’s $100. And one person’s $100 is another person’s $10.
Balenciaga woven tote for $1000? Vetements hoodie for $500? Gucci T-shirt for $590? Does this sound crazy?
Are you at a place in your life where you can buy these things or will you stick with a lower price alternative or dupe?
I don’t know. What do you think?