The Row’s crazy expensive alligator backpack is selling like hotcakes

October 6th, 2011

The Row Alligator Backpack, $34,000 via Net-a-Porter

As is probably to be expected of anything that’s received as much press attention as this little bag has, naturally.

The Huffington Post is reporting that The Row’s $34,000 black alligator backpack has sold out, but that appears to be the result of a misinterpreted quote that one of the Olsen sisters gave to Women’s Wear Daily during a party for their newly launched handbag line in Paris. My suspicion is corroborated by the fact that Net-a-Porter still has the bag in stock well after its debut, but the point still stands – people are buying this bag. Who are they? As always, I have a few theories.

First, though, it’s important to understand that this bag was likely made in extremely limited quantities, which means that it wouldn’t take a whole lot of units for it to “sell out,” which the Olsens don’t even seem to be claiming that it has done. If you read the linked WWD article, Ashley Olsen merely says that the bag was “the first thing to sell off the shelf.” That’s a little different than claiming a complete sell-through of global inventory, at least to me. It does indicate brisk sales, though, at least relative to available (small) supply.

Second, there’s a sucker born every minute. If you’re a regular watcher of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, then you know that someone was on the show this week, bragging about buying a $25,000 pair of sunglasses. Because this bag has been all over the press for its high price tag, women who have more access to cash than self-esteem have likely taken to this design like ducks to water. All of their friends will already know how much it cost on sight, and then the bragging can begin.

Third, I’m willing to allow that this is actually a fairly attractive bag for those who dig The Row’s modern-minimal aesthetic. The brand’s pieces have been super pricey since its inception, so The Row’s devoted clients are those with money to burn. It wouldn’t shock me if one or two of them were up to the challenge of burning it on this bag in particular. Also, Mary Kate and Ashley likely have lots of rich friends, so maybe a few of them who aren’t close enough (or famous enough – think about all fashion issues from a PR perspective, always) to be gifted with a bag this expensive put their money where their mouths were.

This is speculation, of course, but I’m betting that some combination of those scenarios occurred to sell a few stupidly expensive alligator backpacks over the last month. If someone wants to, you know, give me one, I wouldn’t say no. Just in case someone with a billion dollars is out there, reading this, and wondering if I’d like one as a gift. My birthday’s coming up.

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Filled Under: Handbags Reviews