Michael Kors is among America’s favorite designer brands, best known for stylish handbags and watches, but is Michael Kors a luxury brand? Find out here!
Michael Kors is a beloved fashion house, with its products available in Michael Kors retail stores and department stores all over the world. Their wide range of stylish handbags, gorgeous fashion collections, which are often shown at New York Fashion Week, and elegant watches has made the brand the household name it is today.
Some believe that Michael Kors should be considered a luxury brand thanks to the trendy, high-quality products they offer and the fact that Michael Kors catwalk shows are a key part of New York Fashion Week. However, others argue that the fabrics used by this brand and the price range of some of the pieces they offer are not up to the same standard as well-established luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton or Saint Laurent.
To settle this debate, this article will look at the history of the brand, the quality of Michael Kors products, and take a closer look at some best-selling pieces before coming to a conclusion on the question, is Michael Kors a luxury brand?
Is Michael Kors a Luxury brand?
The history of Michael Kors
Michael Kors founded his eponymous brand in 1981 after working in the fashion industry since his teenage years. Kors loved fashion from a young age and began designing and selling clothes out of his parent’s basement in his childhood home on Long Island as a teenager before enrolling at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
Michael Kors was only at FIT for nine months before he dropped out and worked at a boutique in Manhattan, named Lothar’s, just opposite Bergdorf Goodman – Kors ended up as the designer and visual display head for this boutique before he founded his own brand.
The first womenswear collection for the Michael Kors brand was launched in 1981 in Bergdorf Goodman after the fashion director for the famous department spotted his designs at Lothar’s. The first Michael Kors catwalk show was held in 1984 and featured supermodel Iman, dressed in a turtleneck and grey flannels.
Michael Kors clothing proved popular quickly after American women loved the glamourous yet effortless and comfortable sportswear he offered, with a chic and sophisticated look. This classic American look and the mix and match separates helped Michael Kors become a household name all over the world.
After many successful collections for the Michael Kors brand, Kors was appointed the first women’s ready-to-wear fashion designer for Celine in 1997. From 1997 to 2003, Kors was praised for creating popular ready-to-wear collections and stunning accessories and handbags for the French fashion house, increasing the brand’s popularity all over the world.
In 2003, Kors decided to leave this position to focus on his own brand. Ever since, Michael Kors has created incredible ready-to-wear collections, handbags, leather goods, and now even a menswear collection that has proved popular with customers all over the world as well as celebrities. Taylor Swift, Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Lupita Nyong’o have all worn Michael Kors designs.
Kors has also used his wealth and fame to give back. After working with God’s Love We Deliver, a non-profit organization cooking meals for the seriously ill for many years, he launched the ‘Watch Hunger Stop’ scheme to help deliver 17 million meals to hungry children across the world.
The brand has grown and now has several diffusion lines, including Michael Kors Collection, MICHAEL Michael Kors, which was launched in 2004, and Michael Kors Mens, launched in 2002, all of which offer a range of different products for different target markets.
Michael Kors Collection is the most high-end range and is the collection that is shown at New York Fashion Week, whilst MICHAEL Michael Kors has a more youthful energy with a sport, vibrant aesthetic, with a slightly lower price range, that attracts younger customers.
Now, Michael Kors’ luxury goods are stocked in department stores all over the United States, including Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue, and there are around 340 Michael Kors stores all across the globe, so you can always easily get your hands on a stunning Michael Kors bag or a gorgeous dress you have spotted.
The quality of Michael Kors
To determine whether Michael Kors is a luxury fashion brand, we need to consider the quality of the clothing, bags and accessories available from the brand. In order to analyze the quality, we are going to take a closer look at the price range of certain Michael Kors products, the materials they are made from, and where these luxury goods are made.
1. Price range
There are many different items available from Michael Kors, so we are just going to take a look at the price range of a few pieces that the brand is known for. Firstly, Michael Kors handbags range between $150 and $1,610, but the majority of bags sit around the $200 to $400 mark.
For small leather goods, such as wallets, coin purses, and AirPods cases, you can expect to pay between $98 and $398. Watches, which are a favorite piece made by Michael Kors, can range anywhere from $250 to $595, depending on the size of the watch and the embellishments it is decorated with.
If you are looking at clothing from this brand, dresses are available for between $125 and $695, tops are sold for between $40 and $225, jeans and pants sell for between $68 and $495, while swimwear can be as affordable as $50 or as expensive $178. For a pair of shoes, you can expect to pay between $45 and $250 – things like sandals and flip-flops are at the more affordable end, while leather boots are much more expensive.
As you can see, most pieces are available for under $500, which is relatively affordable if you consider the price of luxury goods from other luxury fashion houses, such as Chanel, Gucci, and Prada.
It is also worth noting that there are Michael Kors outlet stores across the United Kingdom and the United States, where you can get your hands on some gorgeous Michael Kors pieces for discounted prices. So, if you love a sale or are on a tighter budget, then this is a great way to get your hands on some Michael Kors items but without the high price tag.
Taking a close look at the materials of anything you are thinking of buying will give you a good idea of the quality of the piece. Michael Kors bags, for example, are made from a wide range of high-quality fabrics and materials, including coated canvas, cotton, pebbled leather, lamb leather, and calf leather.
As you would expect, the leather pieces are often a little more expensive, while the coated canvas bags are a little more affordable and really durable – meaning they make the perfect everyday handbags because you don’t have to worry about them getting scuffed or scratched.
The Michael Kors wallets and coin purses are made from coated canvas, polyester, leather, cotton, and polyurethane; these are less luxurious materials but very durable, so your wallet doesn’t get damaged in your handbag.
If you are looking at the beautiful Michael Kors watches, it’s worth noting that most are made from stainless steel, with a quartz/chronograph movement, although there are some that have straps made from acetate or canvas. All Michael Kors pieces are made from high-quality materials, it just depends on your budget and whether you want your bag or wallet to have a luxurious feel.
Luxury brands are well known for their high-quality craftsmanship, so it’s important to consider where Michael Kors items are made in order to establish whether it is a luxury brand. Michael Kors pieces are made in a range of places; most luxury goods are made in China, with some items made in the Dominican Republic, India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and the Philippines.
Some of the most expensive leather goods, such as boots or luxurious handbags, are made in Italy for a high-quality finish. Although Michael Kors products are of good quality and made to a high standard, they are not going to be the same extremely high quality as items from Gucci, Louis Vuitton or Bottega Veneta, which are made by highly trained craftsmen in Italy or France.
4. Oversaturation & Design Questions
Finally, we’ve come to the question of exclusivity. Luxury brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and especially Hermès are known to want to retain an exclusive image and to keep the supply of their bags limited.
Michael Kors has taken the opposite approach, especially at the height of the brand’s popularity around 2012-15, when new shops were opened in as many locations as possible, and there were no shortages of different bag designs.
The brand is also no stranger to producing very similar designs to popular bags from other brands, and has been occasionally accused of straight-up copying. Some examples include the LV Capucines look alike and MK’s take on the Speedy and Neverfull. If you are informed about luxury fashion, you may also recognize a few familiar-looking designs on Michael Kors’ website.
Of course, this is nothing new in the world of fashion – many luxury brands have rather similar handbag designs with their unique twists added on. Still, it has led to some customers getting turned off by the brand.
Best Selling Items from Michael Kors
There are so many incredible pieces on offer from Michael Kors that it is difficult to narrow down the choice to a few items. We have chosen a few best-selling pieces so you can get an idea of the quality of Michael Kors and perhaps you will spot a few items you want to add to your shopping cart!
1. Tote Bags
Michael Kors is best known for their stunning handbags, so we have a few different styles here that would suit any personal style or lifestyle. The Westley Large Chain Leather Tote Bag is a fantastic versatile bag that would be ideal as a work bag, weekend bag, or super handy bag for college!
Crafted from supple pebbled leather, this bag features a sparkling silver MK on the front and leather threaded chain detailing that runs up the front and back of the bag, looping to form the top handles – so stunning!
The zip top opens to a spacious interior that is perfect for all your essential items – plus there is a practical zipper pocket and slip pockets inside so you don’t lose any smaller items!
2. Crossbody Bags
This gorgeous Michael Kors Greenwich Small Convertible Monogram Crossbody Bag is a flawless, versatile bag that is perfect for both day and night.
This compact bag may be small but it really packs a punch with the striking jacquard pattern, featuring the MK monogram decorating the exterior. The black and tan fabric is paired with supple black leather and gleaming gold hardware, which makes a gorgeous combination.
In terms of practicality, the webbing crossbody strap, decorated with the Michael Kors brand name, is adjustable and detachable, while the interior has a slip pocket and two card slots.
Everyone needs a chic backpack in their life, and this Michael Kors Slater Medium Logo Stripe Backpack is just perfect.
Again, this bag is available in a range of different colorways so you can pick the option that best suits you. Each one is crafted from a durable coated canvas, decorated with the MK logo and a wide stripe down the center of the bag.
On the exterior, you will find two zip pockets, one on the back and one on the front, while the lined interior is fitted with a padded tech compartment and a zipper pocket.
Michael Kors also makes beautiful small leather goods too, such as this Monogram Zip Leather Continental Wallet! This wallet is made from a dark brown coated canvas so you know it will stand the test of time, and then has leather trim and gold hardware for a touch of luxe.
The exterior is embellished with a gold Michael Kors logo, there is a handy wristlet strap, and the top zipper allows quick and easy access to the organized interior.
Inside, you will find multiple pockets and several card slots to help you keep all of your cards and cash organized.
There is also a wide range of beautiful watches available from Michael Kors, in lots of different styles so you are bound to find one you love.
We love the bold nature of this Everest Pavé Chronograph Bracelet Watch. Crafted from gunmetal-plated stainless steel, this watch is embellished with rose gold pavé center links and pink and clear baguette stones to draw attention to the face of the watch.
As well as looking stunning, this watch is super practical too with a date window and chronograph details on the sleek face. This glittering, luxurious watch is available for just $395.
Trying to answer the question, is Michael Kors a luxury brand, can be a little bit tricky as there are many facets to this brand; however, overall, Michael Kors can be considered an affordable luxury brand, but not a true luxury brand.
If you look at the price range of different products and the craftsmanship, you can see that Michael Kors is not at the same level as well-established luxury brands, but closer to other affordable luxury brands such as Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Marc Jacob, and some Ralph Lauren collections.
If you are just getting started in the world of luxury fashion world, or if you are on a budget and are looking for a high-quality, stylish handbag, then Michael Kors is a great brand for you, as they have a wide range of really gorgeous pieces at an affordable price.
We hope you found this article answering the question, is Michael Kors a luxury brand, helpful! For more luxury fashion content, check out the links below.