The Hermès Birkin bag has long been thought of as a luxury status symbol. Ever since its public debut in 1984, the Birkin’s popularity keeps sky rocketing.
THE BIRKIN’S BRIEF HISTORY
The Birkin was named after Jane Birkin, an English Actress who was known to carry a wicker basket wherever she went. While boarding a flight to Paris, her basket spilled and she complained to her seatmate about this. The seatmate was none other than Jean-Louis Dumas, the chief executive of Hermès at the time.
Over the flight, both got together and thought of possible designs for the future handbag. A year later, Jean-Louis presented Jane with the Birkin Bag. A sleek and spacious bag, with a flap to prevent anything from spilling out. The Birkin has long been a symbol in pop-culture, with the bag making several debuts on TV shows like Sex and The City.
THE BIRKIN TODAY
The Birkin bag today still holds its high-class status and can be found in every celebrity’s collection from Kylie Jenner to Victoria Beckham. It is only natural to want a Birkin, but good luck trying to buy one. There was a 7 year waiting list to buy a Birkin Bag, however, nowadays the only way to buy one is to be invited by Hermès. Don’t think that being invited makes you special, though, because most people have no say in customisation.
There is also a limit on how many Birkin Bags can be sold to each person per year, so if you’re hoping on building a collection, you might have a problem. Thankfully, there are second hand outlets that have made a business out of the demand for the Birkin. In these sites, a potential buyer has more choice of color and style options. But buyer beware, these sought-after bags have made them a target for being counterfeited. That is why that £20 “Authentic Birkin Bag” on eBay, is most definitely not real.
HOW TO BUY A BIRKIN
Buying a brand-new Birkin is not as easy as walking into a Hermès store, and picking the one you want. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more intricate than that. Here are some of my top tips:
SPEND: To get your hands on a Birkin, you would have to be important enough or be able to spend enough to even be considered by Hermès for an offer.
GO TO PARIS: The Hermes appointment system is another way to up your chances of buying a brand new Birkin at Hermes’ flagship store in Paris. The system is of course exclusive but if you are lucky enough
to secure an appointment, go upstairs to meet your sales associate who will hand you a glass of champagne and ask you some detailed questions about your style, size and colour preferences. You’ll then be shown your Birkin options. This is not a guaranteed way to get your hands on a Birkin as stock usually quickly runs out but if you are in Paris, it is worth a shot.
GET LUCKY: If you play your cards right, you might be able to snag one if you walk in the store.
BE NICE (ON WEEKDAYS!): Hermès retail staff have been known to bend the rules for extra nice customers. Be careful when trying this and only do it on weekdays, as that is when most stores receive their re-stock.
GET SOMEONE ELSE TO DO YOUR DIRTY WORK: I have heard stories of people asking their American Express Platinum / Black Concierge to help acquire bags with some success.
BUY A SECOND HAND BAG: Luckily, there are luxury re-sellers like TheRealReal, that have hundreds of Birkins available at any given time.
Birkin bags are likely to retain and exceed their original retail price over time. This makes the Birkin a possibly better investment than property or gold. Some people would describe the Birkin as one of the “it-bags of the century”, but unlike other it-bags, the Birkin’s ageless design guarantees its value and longevity for years to come.
By Callum Tokody
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