DUDES BE SPENDING

One in five luxury handbags are man bags

Obsession
Fashion
Obsession
Fashion

Of the many, many man bags that marched the runways at recent menswear fashion weeks in London, Milan, and Paris, the whale sighting at Thom Browne may have been the best. What appeared to be a luxe, black leather bowling bag from the front, tapered down to a tail with two padded flukes. A gold zipper across the front made its mouth.

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A whale of a business. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

To wit, these bags are more than mere accessories. At present, man bags—whether duffels, totes, clutches, backpacks, or whales—represent nearly a fifth of the luxury handbag business, according to estimates from Euromonitor.

That’s because they don’t come cheap. According to Euromonitor’s estimates, the market value for man bags has more than doubled over the past decade, with men now spending in the neighborhood of $6 billion per year on luxury bags. But the quantity being purchased over the same period has grown rather modestly: just under four percent, on average, per year over the same period—less than half as fast as the growth in revenue. Simply put: guys are shelling out more money per bag.

man bags, fashion, leather, luxury
Quality over quantity, gents.

Some of this may be down to post-metrosexual men who are accustomed to more fashionably ambitious carryalls than the briefcases of yesteryear, and willing to spend big on one. But it’s also likely to do with the climbing costs of raw materials. Thanks to a shrinking herd of US cattle, the price of leather is surging, and high-quality hides are essential to constructing many of these bags. Both LVMH and Kering (which owns Gucci, Balenciaga, and Bottega Veneta) have invested in crocodile management, alligator farms, and tanneries to help control the quality—and presumably, the price—of more exotic skins.

And with accessories making up nearly 30% of the luxury market overall, it pays for those companies to guard their bag margins. While the estimated 5.9 million luxury man bags purchased in 2014 may pale in comparison with women’s 25.6 million, the men’s market looks less volatile, performing better during the recent recession but not quite as well during the upturn:

man bags, luxury, leather, fashion, menswear
Sales of man bags are less volatile than those of women’s handbags.

Between snorkel-embossed Hermés satchels, technicolor Burberry totes, and pixellated plaids at Dior Homme, here is a selection of the man bags designers sent down the autumn 2015 runways. Louis Vuitton suggests you double up.

Armani

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Armani. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
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Armani. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Bottega Veneta

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Bottega Veneta. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
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Bottega Veneta. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Burberry Prorsum

Burberry Prorsum Menswear Autumn_Winter 2015 Collection - Look 41
Burberry Prorsum. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (Burberry Prorsum)
Burberry Prorsum Menswear Autumn_Winter 2015 Collection - Look 31
Burberry Prorsum. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (Burberry Prorsum)
Burberry Prorsum Menswear Autumn_Winter 2015 Collection - Look 19
Burberry Prorsum. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (Burberry Prorsum)

Canali

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Canali. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
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Canali. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Dior Homme

A model presents a creation for Dior's men's fall-winter 2015/2016 collection presented in Paris, France, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
Dior. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
A model holds a bag for Dior's men's fall-winter 2015/2016 collection presented in Paris, France, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
Dior. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

Dolce and Gabbana

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Dolce and Gabbana. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Fendi

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Fendi. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Gucci

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Gucci. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
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Gucci. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Hermés

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Hermés. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

Kenzo

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Kenzo. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Louis Vuitton

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Louis Vuitton. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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Louis Vuitton. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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Louis Vuitton. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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Louis Vuitton. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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Louis Vuitton. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
A model wears a creation for Louis Vuitton by fashion designer Kim Jones during his men's fall-winter 2015/2016 fashion collection presented in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Louis Vuitton. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Moschino

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Moschino. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett)

Paul Smith

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Paul Smith. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

Prada

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Prada. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (Prada)

Salvatore Ferragamo

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Salvatore Ferragamo. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Thom Browne

A model wears a creation by American designer Thom Browne, as part of his fall-winter 2015/2016 men's collection, in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Thom Browne. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Valentino

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Valentino. Fall/Winter 2015 collection. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
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