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Why all brands should offer lifetime warranties on their products

In short, to show that they mean business

Why all brands should offer lifetime warranties on their products In short, to show that they mean business

There was a time, when clothing and leather goods were more artisanal and less mass-produced businesses, when certain figures, especially shoemakers, did not just sell the products they created but were committed to repairing them, creating an ongoing and trusting relationship with customers, but above all taking responsibility for their own creations. Today, in a world of international retailers and boutiques extended as networks across entire continents, that dimension has been lost. A first sign of change, however, came last month when Bottega Veneta, wanting to reinforce its status as an artisanal brand, launched the Certificate of Craft program, which is a lifetime guarantee on a list of classic handbags that can be brought into the boutique for repair and restoration. But Bottega Veneta is not alone: Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Dior, Fendi, and Brunello Cucinelli all have their own after-sales services, while Chanel has registered a number of trademarks in recent months this year that institute five-year warranties on its bags while it has launched a first phase of the Chanel Restoring Care program that will be «first reserved for the Maison's iconic black leather handbags [and] will then be extended to a wider range of products, in all CHANEL boutiques worldwide. The program will enrich its offerings over time, integrating, for example, dedicated spaces in selected boutiques or near».

The issue of repairs is not a secondary one: it happens often that a handbag or other collectible gets damaged, and in cities around the world there is certainly no shortage of outside repair services, but when it comes to a Louis Vuitton bag, for example, a leatherworker may repair it but in doing so may compromise its original integrity and in doing so, in some ways, tamper with it and falsify it with materials or construction techniques that the brand would never have used. And in the context of the increasing efforts that many brands are making to extend their control over the life of products after purchase, a repair and warranty service simply represents a dimension of the luxury experience that should naturally be present among the services of a luxury brand. On the very issue of luxury, the promotion of warranties by luxury brands serves two "corporate" purposes, so to speak: the first is to entice customers to buy through primary channels, avoiding the now rampant secondhand; the second is to justify the price increases that somewhat all luxury brands have applied to their products in the years since the pandemic, and which have come under fierce criticism from more disenchanted customers who have begun to speak of a decline in overall product quality but also of unjustified prices for products that, without change in design and composition, were purchased for much less years ago and have now become unattainable for the same VICs or otherwise too excessive for the products being purchased.

The issue of value for price should be emphasized with importance: in a fashion industry teeming with new and young independent brands, whose local and limited productions are in themselves a guarantee of quality, bags or leather goods of extreme quality but lacking in iconic branding are often found on the market - in short, the quality of materials is no longer a prerogative of luxury brands, which instead can boast of the impeccability of their after-sales services and customer care. Everyone knows that producing even the most valuable handbags costs no more than 500 euros in terms of labor and materials, there are content creators on Instagram or TikTok who take them apart to examine all the details and disclose them to the public-it's really all out there. The rest of the price can be justified in creative direction, buying experience and, of course, customer care. The lifetime warranty therefore represents a signal of extreme goodwill that, given the importance these brands possess or attribute to themselves, should be taken for granted and natural. Whether sustainability or the desire to control one's own products is the motivation for the resurgence of repair services, the institution of these services can only be a good thing, moving luxury brands away from the world of industrialized commerce and back into a truer artisanal dimension that, amidst the whirlwinds of marketing and the rains of new, cheap branded products that have invaded stores, should be their one and only dimension.