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Written by Weavabel, published 05/02/24 08:00
It’s a brand that has been a staple in many wardrobes since it began in the 1940s. Today, it’s a forward-thinking brand diversifying its offering to change the luxury market as we know it.
Image credit: LoveToKnow
Coach is the epitome of classic luxury leather goods. Although it also specialises in men's and women's clothing and accessories, its bags and leather products have seen it soar to the heights it’s at today.
Thanks to its horse and carriage logo or the more recent updated ‘C’ emblem, it's a recognisable brand. Loved by celebrities, fashion-focused and quality-seekers alike, Coach is a brand that strikes the perfect balance — appealing to the masses while upholding its exclusive, luxury status.
Starting as a family-run leather brand in 1941, Coach’s designs and heritage are inspired by its birthplace — New York. The brand's ethos is authenticity and craft, making its minimal yet statement designs still popular today.
Like many luxury brands, the popularity of Coach has peaked and troughed as fashion customers became more trend-led and focused on the next big thing.
The laid-back, hippy chic vibe was popular during the 60s, and the monogram bag was worn by almost every celebrity and civilian during the 00s.
Coach took a back seat on the luxury fashion scene throughout the 2010s. However, it has seen a resurgence in recent years thanks to its creative director and re-focused vision, largely appealing to the younger consumer.
Image credit: Coach
Luxury bags and accessories are the primary reason Coach has gained the status it holds today. From slouchy silhouettes to boxy, miniature styles, its bags account for most of its sales.
Each bag is crafted with the utmost care and quality and is finished with the finer details that set luxury brands apart from their high-street counterparts.
However, Coach has expanded into womenswear, menswear and shoes, more recently with a preppy finish that appeals to many consumers searching for elevated basics.
Like many luxury brands, Coach has capitalised on collaborations to help it tap into new customer bases. From partnerships with celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez to iconic names such as Disney, and most recently, its playful collaboration with Observed By Us is garnering attention from the Gen-Z demographic.
If you’re asking, is Coach a luxury brand? The price point is a big part of the puzzle. While Coach offers the style, heritage and quality of a luxury brand, the price point is much lower than some of the big fashion houses out there.
The bags range from £175 to £500, depending on the style. To put it into perspective, Gucci charges anywhere between £800 to £2,000+ for its luxury bags. This has led to many people questioning whether Coach is a luxury brand.
Most seem to take the stance that Coach is the epitome of accessible luxury — a luxury-level product that’s more accessible for the everyday consumer, thanks to the lower price point.
Image credit: Harper's Bazaar
While many luxury brands have successfully navigated the changing retail market and diversified to reach a new, younger, future demographic, some haven’t been as successful.
Thankfully, Coach is part of the former group, having recently diversified its style and created a new luxury sub-brand, Coachtopia, specifically developed with the Gen-Z customer in mind.
Coachtopia is ‘a world of circular craft, powered by community, building towards a better future for our planet’. The sub-brand creates bags, accessories, clothes and shoes with fun, impactful and imaginative designs that target the younger consumer while still having a luxury edge.
But while the eye-catching designs and styles are a big piece of the puzzle, Coachtopia’s sustainability credentials set it apart from all other luxury brands trying to diversify for the future consumer.
All the bags are made from recycled, sustainable and upcycled materials, from leather scraps to recycled plastic and recycled cotton.
Image credit: Drapers
Each garment has its own digital passport accessed via an NFC chip or QR code, which allows consumers to track the journey, material content and sustainability credentials of their chosen product.
The product pages are centred around minimising fashion and luxury's impact on the environment, providing a snapshot of the carbon created, the percentage of carbon reduction and how the brand is closing the loop with a specific product.
Coachtopia has found the sweet spot of future luxury fashion. It understands that the modern consumer doesn’t just want heritage, the finest leather and classic styles.
Modern consumers are more concerned about their buying habits' impact on the environment, yet they still desire luxury products that feature style and quality without sacrificing the planet.
The answer is never clear-cut when deciding whether Coach is a luxury brand. Different people within the fashion industry will give you different opinions. Some will say Coach is too cheap to be luxury, while others argue heritage and quality determine luxury rather than price points.
This is one of the reasons why Coach has gained such popularity. Due to its inflated price points, luxury bags are an unreachable desire for many. Coach allows people from all financial backgrounds to have access to their slice of luxury.
Ultimately, when you combine the innovation, quality, history and popularity of Coach, we’d determine that it is, in fact, a luxury brand.
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