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Fashion Designer Profile

Fashion Designer Profile 

Louis Vuitton was the founder of a French fashion house that he named after himself. Born August 4 1821, he founded a company in 1854 that would help him in fulfilling his passion of luggage manufacture. The fashion house he created is well known for its monogram, LV, which are the initials of his name and appears on almost all of its products, which include shoes, sunglasses, accessories, handbags and jewellery. The company markets and sells its products through boutiques, department stores and even via the internet (Beckford, 2009).

Louis was born in 1821 in Jura France, 400 kilometers away from Paris. The start of Louis’s career was faced with hardships since he had to walk from Jura to Paris in search of a job. For upkeep costs for his journey, he did odd jobs, which included becoming an apprentice layetier to prominent people. A layetier is a person who packs luggage and starting as an apprentice to Merachal who was Napoleon III’s luggage maker, Vuitton became so good at it that Napoleon III heard of him and appointed him as his wife’s layetier. The skills Vuitton acquired under Merachal enabled him to become one of the best luggage makers. Due to this experience around bags and luggage cases, he began to design his own luggage carriers and bags. This served as Vuitton’s passion and the foundation of the Louis Vuitton Company. His first designs included trunks, which had round tops that were designed to promote the running off of water. Flat bottom trunks, which were made of trianon canvas, were then made. They had good quality in their design in that they were light in weight and airtight. To solve the problem of stacking luggage during voyages, which had arose due to the lack of a proper design; Vuitton designed a flat top trunk. This allowed the luggage to be stacked with ease during voyages.

His designs soon started to be imitated and a few years later, Vuitton, fearing the taking of his designs participated in the world exhibition in Paris. To avoid complete duplication of his designs, he also changed his famous trianon design to a brown striped beige design. He later opened his first store in London in 1885 and three years later and developed Damier Canvas. This was a design that he developed to continue the fight against the many imitations that were being produced. The design bore a logo that signified the Louis Vuitton official trademark. On 27 February 1892, Louis Vuitton died and his son took over the running of the family business and the design work. Georges Vuitton sought to make his father’s designs and the firm an internationally recognized fashion company. He marketed his father’s products in international fairs and introduced the Monogrammed Canvas that still holds up to today (Gale Group, 2008).

Georges acquired the patent rights for this graphic in 1914, which later proved successful in curbing the imitations. He also marketed his father’s designs in various parts of the world including the United States where he sold Vuitton’s products. His son Gaston Louis Vuitton later took over the company in 1936 and took the business to higher heights internationally. Although his father had already opened the headquarter in the Louis Vuitton building on the Champs-Elysses, Gaston did the work of introducing new products like wallets and purses like the Speedy, the Steamer and the Pochette. He also opened stores in New York, Washington, Buenos Aires, Bombay, London and Alexandria.

The designers today attempt to maintain Louis Vuitton’s original designs that involved the making of trunks by lining the leather and canvas applying nails that reinforce the pick-proof brass locks that have a single handmade key. The keys, as Vuitton made them, are designed to allow the owner of the luggage to have a single key for their entire luggage. The material used to weave the frames of each trunk is known as poplar, and is grown for thirty years and dried for four more before it can be used. Each trunk can then take up to sixty hours to make and a suitcase fifteen. Vuitton’s products still maintain his initial design and are marketed through the company’s stores, which are located throughout the world. This helps in controlling the quality, price and counterfeits of the product from entering the market.

After the Second World War, the designs of the company incorporated leather in most of its products that ranged from wallets, purses to larger pieces of luggage (Thompson & Wilson, 2002). The problem of counterfeiting came back in the sixties and in 1966 a type of cylindrical bag called the Papillon was introduced, a bag that is still popular today. This age also saw the brand expanding to Asia where it opened new stores in South Korea, Japan and China and the introduction of the Epi leather line. In the social side of its activities, it joined the American Cup to form the Louis Vuitton cup, which is a Yacht race that the company sponsors in honor of its father.

The company, in 1987, merged with Moët et Chandon and Hennessy and created LVMH, the luxury powerhouse anagram that we know today. The merger not only brought about increase in profits but also many more exquisite designs and products. In 1992, Yves Carcella who became president of the luxury goods powerhouse was responsible for the creation of the Taiga leather line and Voyager Avec. The year 1997 saw the hiring of Marc Jacobs as the lead designer and as an art director. Prêt-à-porter was the first product that came after the hiring of Marc Jacobs and it was with the help of Jae, another art director. The Monogram Vernis line, the LV scrapbooks, and the Louis Vuitton City Guide were the other products that followed and strengthened Vuitton’s fashion statement (Rauf & Vescia, 2009).

Jacobs, in his quest to bring fashion in Louis Vuitton up to date has collaborated with the likes of Stephen Sprouse who has incorporated graffiti in the designs and Takashi Murakami. Today the company produces watches, jewellery and the best luggage money can buy. The company mainly targets celebrity customers and uses them in marketing of their products. For instance, they have worked with Jennifer Lopez and Madonna in their campaigns. They have also tried to break the monotony of employing models and celebrities and have incorporated heads of states, musicians and sportsmen. The company mostly uses print advertisements in magazines and billboards in cities. The company still makes luggage and the brown Damier and Monogram Canvas are still being used. The initials LV are also still being used and they appear in all their products. As Vuitton himself would have wanted, his work continues to satisfy people world over in not only their luggage needs but also several others.

The first article talks about the ban on the Louis Vuitton adverts due to giving misleading information. The advert contains two pictures. One shows a woman who is a tailor with a needle, linen thread and beeswax. The advertisement is meant to show how the concentration and infinite patience by the people who make the bags protects each over-stitch from humidity and the passage of time. The second photo shows a woman making a wallet and a text written ‘The young woman and the tiny folds. In everything from Louis Vuitton, there are elements that cannot be fully explained. What secret little gestures do our craftsmen discretely pass on? How do we blend innate skill and inherent prowess? Alternatively, how can five tiny folds lengthen the life of a wallet? Let us allow these mysteries to hang in the air. Time will provide the answers. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) banned both adverts saying that they give wrong information by trying to make the customer believe that bags are actually handmade (Daily Mail, 2010).

I believe that the adverts were meant to give a historical feel to the craft of making bags while still giving the concept of care the makers of the bag take while creating them. The meaning that the advertisements were meant to portray was not the literal but rather the symbolic. The Advertising Standards Agency did not do the right thing in banning the advertisements since they misinterpreted the intention of the adverts. The photographs in the advertisement were artistic impressions that were meant to portray the aspect of care, durability and quality customer service that the company offers to its customers. It is meant to give the customers a satisfactory feeling and restore their faith in the company and its products. It was also meant to show that the company is committed to production of quality products and is loyal to its customers.

The second article talks about a trademark infringement case that involves Louis Vuitton and another company Dooney & Burke Inc. It talks about a case where the Louis Vuitton, a French design firm, has sued the Dooney & Burke Inc. for having a bag that has a design that is almost similar to one of its own. The company, Louis Vuitton is known for its toile monogram designs that have an entwined LV initials with three motifs a curved diamond with a four-point star inset, its negative, and a circle with a four-leafed flower inset. The toile designs are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The company later introduced another design that features a multicolor pattern. These multicolor handbags contain a modified version of the toile marks and are printed in 33 bright colors, which are on either a white or a black background. However, this multicolor mark is not registered. Louis Vuitton claims that Dooney & Bourke is infringing on its multicolor trademark through selling a similar looking line of handbags known as the ‘It-Bag’. The It-Bag features a DB monogram of interlocking initials placed in an array of bright colors set against a white background. The Dooney & Bourke’s purses cost between $125 and $400 while the Louis Vuitton bags cost between $360 and $3,950. In light of this, Louis Vuitton filed a lawsuit in which it claimed that Dooney & Bourke infringed on its trademark in violation of the Lanham Act (Nguyen, 2010).

I believe that Louis Vuitton had reasonable cause to take the Dooney & Burke Inc. to court over those claims. Clearly, Louis Vuitton was the first one to come up with the design and even though they had not registered it under their name yet, they have every right over the design by virtue of being its founders. The Dooney & Burke Inc. has not only copied the interlocking initials design but also the multicolor design. Louis Vuitton should have won the case and the Dooney & Burke Inc. should have been found guilty of trademark infringement.

The third article talks about three types of bags. The LV Neo Cabby GM Bag, the LV Speedy 35 Handbag and the LV Brooklyn MM Handbag. It gives their features and some of their purposes. The LV Neo Cabby GM bag is one of the largest bags, embellished with a gentle ruffle, made of monogram canvas, supple, light in weight, strong, scrape resistant, and waterproof and has a large capacity. The bag also has a round design, golden brass components, leather handles, removable shoulder straps, great textile lining along with a cell phone pouch and it is readily available in two distinct sizes. The LV Speedy 35 handbag is a stylish version of the Keepal bag has an extra long shape and can be opened and closed using a zipper. It is effortless to carry when traveling. The LV Brooklyn MM handbag is made of Damier canvas. Its style has been influenced by the Brooklyn Bridge within New York hence its name. It is easy to carry, has magnetic accessories, offers sleek leather trim, golden brass hardware, a cross body strap that is adjustable, flap top using magnetic closures, fine lining, and also cell phone and PDA pouch and may be used to carry a laptop computer. The article serves as an advertisement as well as a marketing tool (Hardaway, 2010).

The article just intends to market the three Louis Vuitton bags while giving their advantages and good qualities. The article tends to target the women customers while fitting each bag in its own category whether to be used on official, casual or travelling purposes. Louis Vuitton has done a good explanatory job since they give the necessities which one might use the bag so that a shopper can be able to choose according to their personal need or requirement. By describing the colors, materials that make the bags and the purposes they are use of in a summary, the customer depending on her need, is able to choose at a glance what bag she wants. The article creates ease in shopping for the customers.

 

References:

Beckford, R. (2009). Katherine Dunham, a biography. Los Angeles, CA: M. Dekker.

Daily Mail. (2010). Louis Vuitton ads banned after design house misled customers by suggesting its bags were hand-stitched. Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 November 2010, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1281443/Louis-Vuitton-ads-banned-suggesting-bags-hand-stitched.html

Gale Group (2008). Contemporary Black Biography: Profiles from the International Black Community. New York, NY: Gale.

Hardaway, S. (2010). Enjoy the Style and Sophistication of Louis Vuitton Handbags.

Retrieved 10 November 2010 from,

http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/Enjoy-The-Style-And-Sophistication-Of-Louis-Vuitton-Handbags/1611974

Nguyen, H. (2010). Bibliography for: “Louis Vuitton handbags focus of federal infringement action”. Retrieved 10 November 2010 from,

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4185/is_20060716/ai_n16539332/pg_4/?tag=content;col1

Rauf, D. & Vescia, M. (2009). Fashion Designer. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing

Thompson, C. & Wilson, H.W. (2002). Current Biography Yearbook 2002. New York, NY: Hw Wilson Co.

 

 

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