Mitzy: the handbag that's recession-proof

With prices starting at £450, they should be a luxury too far for these hard economic times. Far from it...

Financial analysts and fashion experts alike have been predicting the death of the It-bag for months, but it seems that designer handbags have risen from the grave, despite the economic sickness threatening many high-end fashion brands.

The luxury handbag maker Mulberry has announced a 21 per cent increase in UK retail sales during 2009, and a 45 per cent increase at its discount stores.

"It's business as usual," said chief executive Godfrey Davis. "We're very pleased – we were cautious with our predictions, but I think this reflects the work we have put into our ranges." The British brand's pre-tax profits were down to £4.2m from £5.2m the previous year, but sales were buoyed by the introduction of a range of new bags.

The Mitzy bags, from Mulberry's spring/summer collection, are the latest in a line of successful, paparazzi-friendly styles that have caught public attention. The larger size costs £450, compared to £550 for the classic Bayswater style and other bags made from ostrich and calfskin that sell for up to £2,000. "The Mitzys struck a chord with customers," says Mr Davis. "They're a very clever piece of design, because they're a universal style which comes in classic colours as well as pink and orange, jollier and younger versions."

Mulberry has also expanded its popular clothing line in recent years. While these sales may be negligible in terms of the overall increase, they have gone some way towards firming up a brand identity in times that are increasingly competitive for high-end labels. "They have the whole package," says Calgary Avansino, executive fashion editor at Vogue. "They bridge the gap between classics and what's desirable at the moment. People can sense a confidence and want to be part of it."

The increase in sales from Mulberry's discount store at outlet park Bicester Village in Oxfordshire is worth noting – clearance stock from around the world is only sold at discounted prices there. Many tourists have come to London, and to Bicester especially, to take advantage of these discounts and of the favourable exchange rate.

"Value" and "investment pieces" are the buzzwords of the moment. Where disposable fast-fashion was once an option, consumers are looking to buy things that last, and will pay more for that. "It's less fashionable to be seen with lots of carrier bags these days," adds Godfrey Davis. "There has been much more of a move towards pieces that are classic, towards conservatism."

Gone are the days of buying every season's It-bag or paying £13,000 for Burberry's Warrior bag. But that's not to say consumers won't splash out on a little treat every now and then.

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
science
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

    £40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

    Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

    £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before