In 1859, Charles Darwin wrote a book, called “The Origin Of Species”. In it, he describes the process of evolution- the gradual change over years, that brought about the various creatures we see today. In effect, what he had written was the general life story of every species, spelt out in such a way that the similarities are clear.
What has probably not occurred to you, though, is that other evolutions and histories can also be spelled out in such generalities. To take one example, chose totally at random, of course, consider the humble handbag. If you take a look at the history of the major fashion designers, you’ll se some surprising similarities. Some common threads, that run through them all. And this is how I come to write this article, and call it… the Origin of Handbags!
In the beginning, there is a dream. Every major label starts with just one person, who has a vision of a future. Usually unclear, even murky at first, but they always begin the same way- with one woman, who opens a shop. Well, almost always. Occasionally, such as in the case of Gucci, it’s one man who opens the shop. Nonetheless, they begin selling, and slowly discover a sense of fashion in themselves.
In short order, the soon-to-be-famous designer begins showing their work, opening a shop and displaying their designs to the world. Sometimes they get married, sometimes not, but in either case this opening is only the beginning. Strong persistence and a good head for business lead to a rapid rise.
while some may struggle initially, such as Guess did, when trying to get their jeans into shops, others are immediately successful- such as Ralph Lauren’s ties. In any case, as soon as the public gets hold of their work, they very swiftly rise in fame. Within the founders lifetime, they see international recognition, and decide to expand their company.
At this point, the handbag enters. The company, being now fairly well known, starts to expand into other areas of fashion, including fashion accessories. Among these, are of course, the handbags. Each individual designer creates their own unique look and style, to match the style of their clothing, and they begin to sell handbags.
Whether you favour a classic Diego Rocha, or an elegant Prada, you cannot deny that each brand has its own look, it’s own feel, it’s own rare style to it. While everyone needs to wear clothes, handbags are optional, an accessory, and as such they are a blank canvas on which the designers work their magic, the one place they can be truly innovative and original.
In time, the founder of the company will die, and their children inherit control. In some cases, such as the daughters of Adele Fendi, they cooperate and work together. In others, such as with Aldo and Rudolfo Gucci, they battle each other for the rights to the company. But no matter the internal conflicts, the public still loves them, and sales continue to rise.
Finally, the meteoric rise to the top slows to a halt, with numerous awards and international recognition. The label is now famous, and the creative genius of the founder has been recognizes and continued. Look, for example, at Roberto Cavalli – can any other designer claim near his success?
Thus I finish my review of the origin of the handbag, and the life of the label that creates it. As you’ve seen, it’s a pretty simple blueprint, and really serves to highlight the similarities between the different design companies. Although, I am left to wonder, does anything else share this same similarity?