2 Mar 2022DisruptorsHermès opens new factories to meet skyrocketing demand

To keep up with skyrocketing demand, Hermès is opening up additional factories to produce their iconic bags. As younger generations are always on the lookout for the next cult item to signal their status, making designer products more widely accessible is a savvy move from luxury brands.

Christina Møller Christina Møller is a senior behavioural analyst at Canvas8. With an MSc in social and cultural psychology, she is interested in how different cultural contexts shape people’s ways of thinking. She speaks Danish and French. Outside of work, you can usually find her strolling around London taking pictures or drinking wine with friends.

French luxury design house Hermès has announced it will open three new factories in the French cities of Louviers, Sormonne, and Riom to meet the growing demand for its luxury Birkin and Kelly bags. "It takes 15 hours [to create] a Hermès bag. Even if there is a lot of demand, I will not start making them in 13 hours to increase production,” says executive chairman, Axel Dumas. Addressing the luxury handbag shortage, he adds; “Contrary to what people may think, we are always very sad when we have to say no to our customers because we don’t have that.” The expansion will allow people to buy the iconic bags in-store, making them more available to a wider audience, and more covetable in the process.

As luxury fashion has long been defined by exclusivity and inaccessibility, this announcement from Hermès is perhaps unexpected; the scarcity of the iconic bags is what has led to their widespread desirability. But as status signalling is shifting away from gatekeeping, people are becoming more open to outsiders and more exacting about who's ‘in’ – signalling a move towards the democratisation of the fashion industry. Younger generations are leading this change as they search for new designer items that have cult appeal and brand recognition. With Gen Yers and Zers expected to make up 70% of luxury spenders by 2025, luxury brands that make their products more accessible and in line with changing consumer preferences – whether that be through the next ‘it’ handbag or iPhone case – can increase the chances of reaching cult appeal and status.