Have you noticed? Brands have been going crazy in the past few seasons with goats. They are using goat skins extensively and Italian tanneries such as Russo di Cassandrino have been producing goat skins at full throttle. Why is this? What is the sudden change of heart? Talking with professionals in the industry, the main reason that pops up again and again is the fact that goats do stand out from other materials. Simply put, they are different.
First and foremost top brands such as LVMH, GUCCI, FENDI and others have slowly abandoned the monograms and monograms on Jacquard. Those flipped “G’s” and “LV” marks are disappearing from the shops. This trend has even been implemented by mid level mainstream brands such as Coach. The fake/copies of monogram bags are everywhere and this is also one of the reasons that pushed the industry to look for something more difficult to copy, something more unique. There you have it! Goats come to the rescue! Yes, goats are more difficult to copy because the scarcity of goat in higher grades makes it very difficult to acquire the raw material at reasonable prices. The hand feel and look of the goat is also very difficult to replace with calf leather. Another reason why goat has been the primary choice in the last 2 years by all major handbag brands is because it just sweats luxury. You see it, you feel it, you love it… and ultimately this justifies the price of paying for a luxury handbag.
Natural milled calf leather and to some extent calf nappa has for many years been synonymous with luxury. But luxury in the handbag industry is changing because also the needs of women have changed and new markets have pushed for smaller handbags. Especially in Asia, which represents the vast majority of turnover and profits for all top brands, the size of the bag is small simply because the size of women is usually smaller (sorry to all the ladies, it looks like I am talking about some sort of raw hide… really not my intention). The objects women carry around are also less bulky. Mobile phones are slimmer, and wallets are reduced to credit cards, makeup and lipstick have also evolved in this day and age to fit nicely in a small side pocket. The big and sometimes heavy natural milled calf handbag is far from extinct but surely is not synonym of luxury any more. Goat have replaced to some extent calf and logo monograms and are now firmly in the top segment of most branded collections. For all of you “replica” handbag makers thinking of even trying to copy a goat with some other contraption… good luck to you all!