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Now the luxury French fashion house is bringing production of its world-renowned bags to Texas for the first time, but will a designer label from the Lone Star state have the same status appeal to luxury shoppers?
On Thursday, President Trump visited its new factory in Johnson County where six of Louis Vuitton's most iconic monogrammed canvas and leather handbags will be made and reflected on his own experience with the brand.
"We proudly celebrate the opening of the brand new Louis Vuitton — a name I know very well. It cost me a lot of money over the years."
And while brand experts say the “Made in America” story can appeal to a broader mass market, some consumers say they want their luxury labels coming from their place of origin.
“You’re buying a luxury brand that’s French and is perceived as exotic. The whole appeal is that it’s made in Paris. Who wants to buy Vuitton from Texas?” New York City-based celebrity fashion consultant Amanda Sanders told FOX Business. “If it’s now going to be made in Texas, they’re going to have to lower their price point to appeal to the masses.”
Louis Vuitton spokeswoman Anntal Silver told Fox Business one of the bags being assembled is the iconic Neverfull leather tote bag which fashion bloggers tote as one of the label's most popular bags ever.
Also coming off the Texas assembly line are the bohemian style Artsy shoulder bag; the hobo canvas Graceful style; the Palm Springs backpack; the Lena shoulder tote; and the NéoNoé bucket bag cross-body. The bags will be tagged "Made in the U.S.A." and range in price from $1,240 to $3,200.
Louis Vuitton’s Texas location has reportedly been two years in the making. It employs around 150 workers making handbags and backpacks and will create 1,000 new jobs for the next several years, the Dallas Morning News reported. Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, were joined at the ribbon-cutting ceremony by LVMH chairman-CEO Bernard Arnault and Louis Vuitton chairman-CEO Michael Burke.
The push to move its 100,000-square-foot workshop to Texas was to “meet the ever-growing demand for Louis Vuitton products in the American market,” according to a release from the company. Louis Vuitton’s luxury competitors like Chanel, Hermes, and Gucci have left most of their production in France and Italy.
Some shoppers say they’re less likely to splurge on a luxury item that is made outside of its home country.
“When you’re spending thousands of dollars on a luxury handbag, you want it to be authentic to the origin of the fashion house. You want your Gucci or Fendi bag to be made in Italy, and your Chanel or Louis Vuitton bag to be manufactured in France,” said Olivia Fernandes, 28, a New York City-based menswear designer.
“Having the bags made in the U.S. doesn’t necessarily cheapen the quality of the product, but it loses its ‘romance’ to the customer which in turn leads to a lessened perceived value.”
While Americans say they want to buy products that are made in the U.S., most don’t want to pay more for them. Thirty-seven percent of consumers said they would refuse to pay up to 5 percent more to buy American, and 21 percent said they’d pay no more than 10 percent, according to a Reuters poll.
Still, branding experts say the “Made in America” story could be a strategic selling point to attract new customers to the brand.
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“When the [manufacturing] process is happening locally – you see it in clothing; in furniture – there’s this notion of quality and durability. The idea of the best version of something being made in America does stand for durability, which connects to quality and craftsmanship,” Nandi Welch, head of business strategy at brand consultancy Ruptures Studio said.