Friday, November 16, 2012

A Few Words About Quality

Once upon a time there was a proud American company called Coach.  They made beautiful, sumptuous leather goods that were crafted to last a lifetime and then some.  To go along with their lovely business model, they hired a brilliant advertising agency who convinced the descendants of some extremely high profile Americans (George Washington's niece, Paul Revere's many great granddaughter, Sitting Bull, and FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt's granddaughter as shown here), to pose with their favorite Coach bag in a black and white ad.
I loved these ads as much as I loved my Coach bags, and sadly, a thorough internet scouring turned up only this one example.  The women in these ads were as cool as the product they endorsed--an American classic, descended from a great family that stood the test of time.  Probably the preppiest thing on earth.  These bags not only stood the test of time, but somehow got better as they aged.  All of the hardware was solid brass and could be brought back up to a violent luster via a simple can of Brasso and a soft cloth.  The leather could be polished within an inch of its life and only got softer and felt better with use.  I saved every nickel and dime in college to buy my first one, carried it for years and then when I grew tired of it, sold it on ebay where it went on to have a happy second life with a new owner.  Other bags came in and out of the closet, but then somewhere along the way, Coach seemed to forget who they were.  Product was no longer made in the USA, which isn't terrbily surprising, but the designs became cheaper and tackier.  Fabric bags crassly displayed enourmous logos and had cheap linings and hardware.  Gone was the "baseball glove tanned leather"--this was no longer the company I loved.  I started buying vintage bags on ebay and refurbishing them.  My leather backpack and Legacy bag are still closet staples.  They are timeless.  They will never wear out.

Then suddenly, they seemed to remember who they were and where they came from.  Yes, product is still made in China, but the newest offerings have a whiff of days gone by.
Some bags, like the Canteen Bag are very similar to the old version, although the leather is not exactly the same and most seem to be fabric lined since I'm guessing that the reverse side of the leather is not the gorgeous suede that we saw in the old bags.
Others, like the Colorblock Candace are blatant copies of a certain Celine "it" bag that costs more than four times the price.  While I absolutely lust of the Celine bag, I would carry this one.

In addition, there seems to be one other thing that they are doing

I was shopping in Bloomingdales last weekend and this pair caught my eye on a sale rack.  I didn't even realize they were Coach until I looked inside:

They are beautifully made and were a perfect fit although the tassles are a bit oversized--I suspect this is to go with the accent on their new Legacy bags (most of them have this tassle).  They were a bargain, so I snatched them up.

Hopefully, they will serve as well as my first Coach bag did all those years ago.  At any rate, I am really glad to see the company getting back to their roots.

Stay classic everyone!

New product photos courtesy of Nordstrom.

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