Italic makes luxury bags that are all under $250 using the same factories as brands like Prada and Givenchy - here's how they stack up
- Italic is a new online brand that prides itself on selling luxury goods (bags, accessories, apparel, home goods) without the labels.
- It's able to do this by partnering directly with manufacturers who have decades of experience producing for luxury designers such as Prada, Givenchy, Burberry, Celine, and Miumiu.
- The leather crossbody ($135), backpack ($200), and tote ($250) we reviewed from the company were beautifully constructed and also functional for everyday wear.
Direct-to-consumer brands have seen huge success in the last decade. Whether it's because Millennials have become disillusioned by the excesses of designer luxury or they're just itching for a way to shop that's different from how they've always done it, this generation is particularly drawn to online-first, direct-to-consumer companies like moths to a flame.
"We cut out the middleman," the snappy phrase that once vividly captured the value of a D2C brand, however, is quickly becoming stale. Shoppers now see that, shrug, then say, "...and?" It's not enough to eliminate traditional suppliers and retail distribution methods. They want to know that there's something inherently revolutionary to the way the product is produced, whether it's a beauty product created entirely from customer demand or a comforter that's fully compostable.Italic is an online brand that wants to flip the idea of luxury on its head by producing goods with partners that manufacture for designers like Prada, Givenchy, and Burberry. In doing this, it's able to create original designs, ensure designer-caliber quality, and offer very competitive prices all at once.
Italic first launched in late 2018 and created buzz as a $10-a-month, members-only marketplace. If you joined, you got access to label-less, high-quality bags and accessories at more affordable prices. Founder Jeremy Cai says that eventually the volume of sales Italic was doing, along with learnings from managing the customer experience, warranted opening up the marketplace to everyone.
At Italic, you can now freely shop men's and women's bags, accessories, and apparel, as well as home goods like bedding. The selection isn't large, but it seems careful and curated, confidently assured that shoppers don't actually need pages and pages of options. There are $400 leather moto jackets, $100 sheet sets, and a variety of handbags, the most expensive of which costs $250 and was produced by the same manufacturers making bags for Prada.
Cai says, "Italic is the culmination of decades of growing up with a manufacturing family and working in technology. I had always thought it backwards that manufacturers take home the smallest margin in the supply chain despite making the actual products being sold for many times the cost. Italic bridges the gap between consumers and luxury goods by partnering directly with the manufacturers instead of purchasing inventory like a brand."Many of these manufacturers have operated for decades making bags and accessories for labels that some can only dream of buying one day. It's a risk for them to join forces with a young unknown like Italic, but Cai says that other factors are also threatening these legacy names, and in the end, it's really a win-win relationship.
He points out, "While it wasn't easy by any means to convince manufacturers to incur inventory risk for the first time in their histories, most of these companies are facing rising labor costs, uncertain global trade, and a near total reliance on wholesale. Many were already looking for a way to sell directly to consumers but without the enormous overhead of building a brand."
If you like nicely made things but could care less about the status that comes with flexing a designer label, then you're the perfect Italic customer. Because making anything akin to a designer dupe would tread into tricky legal waters, especially considering the products are made in the exact same factories, all of Italic's designs are original and unique to the brand. Still, with options like zip card wallets and oversized acetate sunglasses, they remain classic and familiar.
We tried a few of Italic's bags to see whether they really lived up to the high expectations. When we first received them, we immediately ooh-ed and aah-ed that they looked and felt good. Over the past month, as we actually carried and used them in our day-to-day lives, it became clear that the bags would become favorites - functional, beautifully made, and well-priced.
Keep reading for our reviews of Italic's handbags and backpacks.
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