Will people still buy luxury goods without their brand names? Italic hopes so

Italic launched a brandless luxury platform, but the value of brands to luxury consumers could cause its business model to backfire.


November 16, 2018

Some people buy Gucci bags so they can tell people they buy Gucci bags. But Italic, a luxury goods startup, is betting that some consumers are more interested in the bag than the brand name.

Yesterday, Italic launched a factory-to-consumer high-fashion marketplace. But while “brandless” businesses have succeeded elsewhere, Italic is challenging an industry where brand is everything.

Losing the label

Usually, retailers buy products from factories and sell them at a markup. Instead, Italic simply gives the factories a platform to create and sell its products, and then takes a cut of sales. 

Italic partners with 15 factories that manufacture products for Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and other bougie brands

For a $10 monthly fee, Italic members can buy 2 luxury items per month, such as a designer handbag for $150 (Celine’s version sells for $3,300) or a leather jacket for $425 (or get one from J Brand for $990).

Italic is playing with fire by f*cking with the Gucci gang

In China, a company called Yanxuan pioneered the brandless biz and expects to bring in $3B this year, and in the US, Brandless has raised more than $292.5m in 2 years to sell unbranded food and home-good products (Italic has raised $13m of that). 

But consumers don’t buy Lay’s potato chips for their social capital in the way that many luxury consumers want to pay a premium for brand labels.

Plus, bashing the world’s biggest luxury brands on your website is a bold move for an 8-month-old company. 

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