Is Coach a luxury brand? This is a question that many people ask, especially given the higher-than-usual prices of its products.
This American brand is all about quality craftsmanship and timeless design.
Its leather goods, handbags, footwear and accessories are staples in any fashion-savvy wardrobe.
There’s no question that it’s a popular brand in the fashion world. But is Coach a fashion brand?
Its contemporary designs and good-quality materials give it a luxurious feel.
Plus, its long history in the fashion industry adds to its credibility as a high-end brand.
However, some may argue that Coach isn’t quite luxury because it’s more accessible and affordable than other luxury brands.
Let’s see where Coach fits in our assessment of its luxury connection.
What Makes a Luxury Brand?
Designer and luxury brands are all about the finer things in life. They exude a sense of scarcity, carefully curating their products to ensure that only a select few can experience them.
The exclusivity is often reflected in the price tag, with the brands commanding a hefty premium.
But it’s not just the price tag that sets these brands apart. They also pride themselves on craftsmanship, ensuring every product is made to the highest possible standard.
The attention to detail is what gives them their timeless appeal.
And then there’s the heritage. Luxury brands have a long and rich history, dating back centuries in some cases.
The past is carefully preserved and celebrated, with many of these brands still run by the same founding families.
These brands also have a responsibility to give back. They often support charitable causes and use their platform to raise awareness for critical issues.
Commitments to social responsibility are another crucial part of what makes them so unique.
All luxury brands offer a unique blend of scarcity, price, craftsmanship, heritage and responsibility.
It’s this combination that makes them so desirable and likely to be coveted by discerning shoppers for years to come.
Does Coach Have the Characteristics of Luxury Brands?
So, is Coach a luxury brand? Let’s compare it against the established luxury parameters to see where it stands.
Founded in 1941 as a family-run leather workshop in Manhattan, Coach has come a long way in its nearly 80 years of existence.
It established its brand identity only after Miles and Lillian Cahn joined the company in 1946.
It went through another product makeover when Bonnie Cashin became its head designer in 1962 and added her personal style.
The Cahns laid the brand’s foundation by adding different products, including women’s handbags, to the inventory.
They also refreshed the looks and designs of the merchandise and dramatically improved the quality of materials.
However, Coach’s fate took another turn when the Sara Lee Corporation bought it in 1985.
Lew Frankfort, the president of the company, appointed Reed Krakoff as the creative director in 1996.
Under Krakoff’s leadership, Coach has become one of the most successful luxury brands in the world, with a loyal following of celebrities and fashionistas.
His successor, Stuart Vevers, has continued to build on the brand’s success, expanding the product line into new categories like shoes, clothing and jewelry.
With 1500+ department stores in more than 18 countries and annual revenue of US$4.2 billion, it’s now one of the fastest-growing brands in the world.
Coach is a true American success story, and its products are beloved by women worldwide.
The brand offers many exciting choices if you want a luxurious, stylish, high-quality handbag.
Is Coach a luxury brand regarding exclusivity? There is no rarity or exclusivity regarding Coach products.
They are readily available to anyone who needs or wants them, and there is no need to wait anxiously for a “drop” of new products.
The brand seeks to appeal to a broad audience rather than remain exclusive.
So its prices are set at an affordable level for many people. Its products are also available in various department stores.
However, the brand reduced the number of products in those locations in 2016.
This does not mean that Coach products are of inferior quality to luxury brands.
In fact, it offers higher quality products that are just as good, if not better, than Louis Vuitton bags and products from similar brands.
However, Louis Vuitton evokes a feeling of exclusivity that Coach products lack.
The brand is definitely more exclusive than Michael Kors or DKNY, but has yet to reach the top level.
A brand’s celebrity association defines its luxury status in the fashion industry.
Celebrities are often associated with wealth and high status. So the brands they endorse are also seen as more luxurious.
Also, the involvement of celebrities and supermodels generates buzz and interest in the products of these brands.
When the audience connects the brand to an affluent lifestyle, it becomes a luxury product.
So, is Coach a luxury brand?
Well, this brand has affiliations with celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Kristen Bell and Zoe Kravitz.
Coach handbags and other products have become more valuable because of the brand’s association with Hollywood stars.
The high price of products can tell you a lot about the luxury status of a brand.
High-end brands typically charge more for their products because they use high-quality materials and craftsmanship.
Even if the product quality does not justify the price, people are willing to pay it because of the brand value.
For example, some Coach handbags are higher in quality than Louis Vuitton bags, but people will pay a premium for the latter because of the brand’s luxury status.
The lowest-priced Coach bags are around $89, while the highest one is above $20,000 (Crocodile Tote).
If you compare them with other high-end luxury brands, the prices are not that high.
- Max Crossbody
These are the lowest-priced Coach handbags at $89. It’s a functional bag that’s still chic, stylish and trendy.
- Crocodile Tote
There are fewer bags in this category, as they’re made with high-quality materials.
Each new Coach bag in this collection costs above $20,000.
Coach products are pricier than Kate Spade and other similar brands, but for good reason, because they are also higher in quality than the products from these designer brands.
Luxury Brands as an Investment
Is Coach a luxury brand? What do you think? A luxury brand should have good investment value.
Coach bags generally have substantial resale value. Because they are such a well-known and popular brand, people are often willing to pay a fair price for secondhand Coach bags.
It is especially true if the bag is in good condition and is a style that is still in fashion.
You can frequently find these bags on sale for a great price, use them for a couple of years, and then sell them for almost as much as you paid for them.
This is due to the desirable features of the Coach brand, such as its excellent craftsmanship and timeless designs.
Coach’s resale value is quite strong for a luxury brand in the mid-level range.
The products are a wise investment for anyone looking for a designer bag that will hold its value over time.
Quality of Products and Materials
Is Coach a luxury brand regarding its quality of make and materials? Luxury brands should have an inventory of top-notch products with long lifespans.
In addition, the material of the products should be original to make them worth the price they are sold for.
Coach collects its materials, such as natural leather, pebbled leather and Nappa leather, from natural sources.
The quality of these materials is inferior, however, if you compare them with high-end brands like Gucci.
Some top-level luxury brands like Gucci use stingray, calf skin and alligator skin, as well as hand-spun silk, cashmere wool and other soft textiles.
Want to learn more about the materials Coach uses? Check here.
Design Aesthetic, Creativity and Sophistication
You can tell if a designer is genuinely creative by their unique style. It shows how original their work is, and in many cases, their product reflects the designer’s personality or life experiences in some way.
Does Coach have some iconic designs like other luxury brands? For example, Louis Vuitton’s “Neverfull” bag has been widely famous since its debut and has never gone out of style.
Coach also has its iconic leather bags in the Bonnie Cashin Turnlock Tote, the Dinky Bag and the Logo Bag.
Brands like Gucci believe sustainability is the foundation of a continual improvement process that boosts economic performance and controls company hazards.
Gucci’s value system has always included a responsible approach toward people, the environment and the community.
Coach also supports ethical and environmentally friendly business policies.
For this reason, it uses eco-friendly “top-grade skins” in its leather products.
Further demonstrating a move toward ethical shopping, 60% of the packaging for this company is made from recycled materials.
Coach also supports the Black community and diverse workplaces, and they pledged to NGOs fighting racial inequity in June 2020.
Learn more about the brand’s responsibility and commitments here.
Coach’s reputation for being customer-friendly is well known, which allows the company to charge a premium for its products.
The company prioritizes its relationships with its customers. It provides value by offering great shopping experiences, discounts, sales and special customer events.
The brand also offers an exchange or refund within 30 days of purchase. However, a high-end luxury brand like Louis Vuitton only provides complimentary exchanges and returns when you send the item back in its original packaging.
Final Words: Is Coach a Luxury Brand?
Our take? After considering all the factors mentioned above, we believe that Coach is not an authentic luxury brand but a mid-range, accessible luxury brand.
While the quality of Coach’s products is good, they do not compare to the likes of Louis Vuitton or Hermes in terms of luxury.
Considering the price point, Coach falls squarely in the middle range. It’s not as affordable as Michael Kors or Kate Spade New York, but also less expensive than true luxury brands.
Designer-wise, the brand is also relatively contemporary and trendy, which may appeal to some luxury consumers.
So, if you’re starting your luxury handbag collection and are looking for a somewhat affordable yet stylish option, Coach is a great brand to consider.
FAQs about the Coach Brand
Is Coach a low-end designer?
No. It’s a mid-range luxury brand that produces high-quality products. The quality of some items is even better than their price points.
Is Coach higher than Michael Kors?
Although Coach is valued in the same range as Michael Kors, it produces higher-quality products.
Also, Coach products are pricier, and they last for many years.
Is Coach owned by Louis Vuitton?
No, Louis Vuitton isn’t the owner of the Coach fashion company. Coach is owned by an American luxury brand Tapestry, a direct competitor of Kering and Louis Vuitton.