Lacoste is known for its preppy and sporty fashions. Most people recognise its crocodile logo.
This clothing company carries everything from bags to watches, but the brand is most popular for its large collection of polo shirts.
One could compare this popularity to Ralph Lauren polos. These fall above the typical retail polo price you’d find in a department store.
Lacoste polos are considered “name-brand clothing”. But is Lacoste a luxury brand?
Let’s take a deep dive into what makes fashion brands luxury, and see if Lacoste fits the description.
What is luxury?
Luxury is “something adding to pleasure and comfort but not absolutely necessary.” (Collins English Dictionary). Based on this definition, is Lacoste a luxury brand?
We could classify a lot of everyday items as luxury.
For example, luxury vehicles like Bentleys and Rolls Royces. These have a lot of the same capabilities as ordinary cars.
All cars have the ability to get you from point A to point B, as is the purpose of a vehicle.
However, luxury vehicles are all about style. They have extra features that enhance the driving experience.
For example, privacy screens, night vision and refrigerator boxes.
The same concept applies to clothing. The original purpose of clothing was to keep people warm and modest.
Later, it would be to show social status and personality.
So why are some clothing brands considered luxury if they do the same thing?
Well, some brands use the highest quality materials and superior craftsmanship techniques.
These make the clothing last longer than those created with cheap materials.
Luxury clothing will have a higher cost and will be more exclusive to those who can afford it.
Mass-produced clothing often lacks originality. On the other hand, you’ll notice fashion designers come out with original and unique collections.
These appeal to their customers, who want to look different. Their customer service is also top-notch.
Generally, their products are associated with celebrities and wealthy individuals.
These products hold value for a long time, even when their season has passed.
People go out of their way to seek luxury items like vintage Chanel bags and Patek Philippe watches.
Cheap, mass-produced clothing is here for the trend and discarded after a limited number of wears.
Designer vs premium vs luxury brands
Designer brands are not the same as luxury brands. Luxury brands have exorbitant price tags, but this isn’t always the case for designer brands.
Designer brands will cost more than mass-produced brands. However, they are often within reach of more individuals than luxury brands.
Designer brands can also be premium brands.
One thing for sure is that Lacoste is a designer brand. Most of the designs were under the creative control of the brand’s creator.
The company is even named after him. This is also what a lot of independent designers do with their clothing lines.
Heritage: About Lacoste
Consumers love a good backstory. This often adds to the popularity of the product.
For Lacoste, it all started in 1993. Tennis pro René Lacoste thought it would be a good idea to create high-quality polos for the sport.
Already recognized as one of the top players in the sport, it wasn’t difficult for the brand to take off.
The iconic crocodile logo actually came from a bet Lacoste made with his captain.
If he won a game, he was to be rewarded with a crocodile suitcase. He lost, but he still got it because of his perseverance.
This earned him the nickname ‘the crocodile’. He ran with this, and would soon request crocodiles to be sewn onto his gear.
People loved it!
Originally, Lacoste polos were meant for tennis players. They were flexible and lightweight enough to boost performance.
By 1950, Lacoste shirts were sold worldwide, even before Ralph Lauren’s!
The brand later created male and female scents. By 1978, they introduced eyewear, followed by leather goods in 1981.
Lacoste products include watches, bags, luggage, belts, and more. They even sign contracts with professional tennis players to wear Lacoste on the court.
Lacoste has maintained its relevance for nearly a century! They do this by staying true to the brand.
At the same time, they follow sporting trends to keep up with the times.
Exclusivity: Are Lacoste products exclusive or scarce?
Lacoste is what some would call an accessible luxury brand. Their products are relatively expensive compared to what the average Joe would pay, but they are not so expensive that most people cannot afford them.
One could call it a low-end designer brand.
Lacoste gets some popularity from being associated with tennis. Tennis is in the same realm as polo and golf, which are mostly enjoyed by the upper class.
And, Lacoste polo shirts are worn casually by the elite. Their products aren’t scarce, but they are somewhat exclusive.
Many of the designs have not changed much over the years either.
Price: How much does it cost?
Lacoste is a designer brand that sells its products at an above-average rate.
Though not as expensive as brands like Hermès or Givenchy, it is still relatively pricey.
You can get a decent-quality polo shirt for under $20 at a department store.
At Lacoste, you’ll spend as much as $185 for their collaboration with Thrasher.
Lacoste bags go for as much as $298, with this Unisex Supple Leather Weekend Bag being the most expensive.
It’s a modern travel bag with a sleek, clean look minimalists can enjoy. The cheapest Lacoste bag is this Unisex Zip Crossover Bag. It was designed to complement the look of the weekend bag.
Lacoste watches range from $95 to $195. This is relatively affordable, because luxury watches can cost thousands.
At the higher end of this spectrum is a sporty, multifunctional watch. At the lower end is something simple that anyone can wear.
It isn’t too flashy and has a simple watch face. Lacoste isn’t really the #1 brand people turn to for watches.
Brand associations: Celebrity collabs
Lacoste has been collaborating with celebrities since its inception. The first happened to be its creator, who was already a world-famous tennis player.
Other sports collaborations include tennis players like:
- Andy Roddick
- Josh Isner
- Stanislas Wawrinka
- Novak Djokovic
- Richard Gasquet
Lacoste also collaborates with streetwear companies like Supreme, Thrasher and KidRobot.
Celebrities like Joe Jonas and Bruno Mars have also become associated with Lacoste.
Fun fact: U. S President Eisenhower was photographed in a Lacoste polo shirt playing golf with pro tennis player Arnold Palmer.
Luxury brands as investments: Resale value
Some would argue the original design, the white short-sleeve polo, is a fashion staple.
It was an instant hit in the tennis world, and people wore them casually.
Lacoste made a devastating error in the 1980s in an attempt to compete with Ralph Lauren.
It increased accessibility by selling the polos in more places and cutting costs.
While this drove profits upwards, the result was oversaturation. This meant Lacoste polo shirts were seen as cheap alternatives to Ralph Lauren’s.
It booted itself from the realm of luxury and soon ended up on clearance racks in department stores.
Is Lacoste a luxury brand if stores were trying desperately to get rid of them?
The company has put a lot of effort into repairing its brand. They even went as far as hiring celebrities to wear their products.
By increasing its distribution channels, the company made a huge mistake. They began a never-ending battle to drive up prices.
As for resale value, it isn’t advised to buy Lacoste as an investment piece.
Craftsmanship: Quality of make/quality of materials
There’s no denying Lacoste is still on a recovery mission. Luckily, the quality of their products has remained constant.
This is true to the creator’s vision, and tennis players still prefer Lacoste to this day.
Lacoste polos are made primarily of cotton and wool. They are also mixed with polyester, rayon and polyamide for durability.
This allows it to hold up to multiple washes and be durable enough for sport.
The best Lacoste products are made in France and have superior craftsmanship.
Other items like T-shirts are made in Sri Lanka with materials from South America.
Lacoste watches are made in Switzerland. Their perfumes are made in France and Germany.
Lacoste bags are made primarily from PVC, or imitation leather, but, these are strong and durable synthetics.
Some are made from split cow leather. To our knowledge, nothing from Lacoste is made in China.
All-in-all, Lacoste products are built to last.
Design: Aesthetic, creativity, sophistication
Lacoste is associated with elitist sports like golf and tennis. So, it’s automatically a sophisticated brand.
Its aesthetic is preppy and sporty, and people buy it to portray that image.
Lacoste has mainly simple designs, aiming for sleek and minimal. The only time you’ll find Lacoste going outside of this brand is when there’s a collaboration.
With Lacoste, less is more.
Responsibility: Ethics and Sustainability
Truthfully, Lacoste does not have the best sustainability rating. Many would agree that the company could do more in this regard.
It uses materials like cotton, which can be a slippery slope. However, they have launched campaigns centered around protecting crocodiles and have had successes there.
Lacoste’s goals for 2025 include reducing the environmental impact of its operations.
This includes extending the durability of its products. They even announced they will recycle unwanted clothing.
This is all part of its “durable elegance” strategy.
An example of this is the “LOOP Polo“, where 30% of their classic fit polo shirt is made of excess polos.
They also intend to use discarded polo shirts to make their shopping bags.
Service: Customer experience
On the internet, you’ll see mixed reviews about customers’ experiences with Lacoste.
Some customers have had a positive experience with no complaints. Those who do have complaints find issues with sizing and getting a response from the company.
Lacoste has responded by opening a series of open-concept stores using immersive technology.
They try their best to create a tennis court environment to remain true to their brand.
They have even outsourced customer service and marketing strategies to Global Response.
Final words: Is Lacoste a luxury brand?
Lacoste is a bridge-to-luxury brand. This means it’s not quite there yet, but it does have some sort of sophistication to it.
Lacoste is known for its quality and for staying true to the brand. Recently, they’ve taken a more modern approach to appeal to the younger demographic.
Lacoste has even broadened their collaborations to non-tennis celebrities and companies.
One thing that is evident is the decline in exclusivity, as well as the price.
So, to answer the question, “Is Lacoste a luxury brand?” : Yes, but at the lower end of the spectrum.
Is Lacoste a status symbol?
Definitely. From the beginning, it has symbolized someone dedicated to tennis (and golf).
This remains true today, but a lot more people are wearing Lacoste for the preppy aesthetic.
Is Lacoste high-end fashion?
Is Lacoste a luxury brand, or even a high-end one? No. Lacoste is far from being haute couture and isn’t fully a luxury brand.
It’s more of a casual, everyday wear preppy brand, but some athletes still wear it for functional purposes.
Do people still wear Lacoste?
People still wear Lacoste, but Ralph Lauren is much more desired when it comes to polo shirts.
Many people today don’t know the meaning of Lacoste and wear it to wear it.
It ranks #62 in Fashion and Beauty Brands.