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Hermès vs. Louis Vuitton — Which One Is Better?

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Are you curious to know more about Hermès vs. Louis Vuitton brand battle? Read on

Hermès and Louis Vuitton are two of the most famous French brands. Besides sharing a home country, both are known for their handbags, watches, and apparel. Given these similarities, it’s normal to wonder whether Hermès or Louis Vuitton is better. Here’s what you need to know. 

Brand History 

Hermès History

Hermès was founded by harness maker Thierry Hermès in Paris in 1837. From the beginning, Hermès understood the importance of providing customers with attractive, yet durable products. 

In 1880, Hermès’ son Charles-Émile moved the workshop to its current location at 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. It wasn’t long before the boutique gained a reputation throughout Europe. 

Charles-Émile’s son-in-law took over the family business in 1951. Under his leadership, the brand released some of its most famous pieces, including the first silk scarf, the Kelly bag, and the Chaîne d’ancre bracelet. Hermès introduced the first Birkin bag in 1984. 

Hermès continued to expand its stores and product offerings throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, with new locations opening up in the United States, Europe, and Asia. 

In recent years, the brand has invested heavily in e-commerce and continues to open brick-and-mortar stores around the world. 

Louis Vuitton History

Louis Vuitton traces its roots back to 1837 when its 16-year-old namesake arrived in Paris to serve as a trunk-making apprentice. 

Vuitton spent 17 years learning the ins and outs of the trunk-making trade before establishing his own workshop at 4 Rue Neuve-des-Capucines. 

The young trunk maker had no trouble getting customers, thanks to his innovative flat-topped stackable trucks that were both waterproof and lightweight. 

His son Georges took over the family business when Vuitton died in 1892. Four years later, the ‘LV’ monogram and the quatrefoil and flower design started appearing on trunks. 

After Coco Chanel commissioned a bespoke handbag in 1925, the brand started making small leather goods. A number of famous models like the Keepall, the Speedy, and the Noé bucket bag were released in the decades that followed. 

In 1987 Louis Vuitton merged with Champagne and cognac brands Moët et Chandon and Hennessy. Together, the brands formed LVMH, a luxury conglomerate. 

Since then, the company has expanded into ready-to-wear, jewelry, sunglasses, and perfumes. 

Differences in the Brands’ History 

In many ways, Hermès and Louis Vuitton have a lot in common. For starters, both brands have an origin story starting in Paris in the mid-1800s.  What’s more, both the brands’ original products sought to solve a travel-related problem. 

Over time, both brands diversified their products. Now, Hermès and Louis Vuitton both sell handbags, accessories, jewelry, and ready-to-wear fashion. 

Perhaps the main difference between the two companies is that while Hermès has largely remained a family business, Louis Vuitton is part of a multi-brand conglomerate owned by French investor Bernard Arnault

hermes vs louis vuitton

Differences Between Hermès and Louis Vuitton 

Price 

Hermès Prices 

The prices of Hermès bags vary widely depending on the style, material, and exclusivity of the item. All of that makes it difficult to pin down prices, but here are some figures for reference:

  • Togo Birkin 25: $10,100
  • Togo Birkin 30: $11,200
  • Togo Birkin 35: $12,400
  • Kelly Bag in Epsom Leather: $8,250
  • Kelly 25 in Togo Leather: $9,990
Check out our article about Hermes Prices to see the prices for all H. handbags

Louis Vuitton Prices

Louis Vuitton bags range from $745 for the mini pochette style to $5,440 for the Coussin MM handbag. Here are some of the current prices for the brand’s most popular styles:

  • Canvas Speedy Bag 
  • 25 Model: $1,490 
  • 30 Model: $1,550 
  • 35 Model: $1,620
  • 40 Model: $1,690
  • Neverfull Tote Bag 
  • PM Model: $1,960
  • MM Model: $2,030
  • GM Model: $2,100
  • Coussin Bag
  • BB Model: $4,050
  • PM Model: $4,700
  • MM Model: $5,400
  • Alma BB Bag: $1,760
  • Canvas Pouchette Metis: $2,570
  • Bumbag: $2,030

Exclusivity 

Without a doubt, Hermès is the more exclusive of the two brands. That’s especially true when it comes to the iconic Birkin bag. In fact, there used to be a six-year-long waiting list to buy the bag. 

Louis Vuitton, on the other hand, is the biggest luxury brand in the world and has rarely had issues satisfying consumer demand. Indeed, the LV model is designed for wallets and popular bags to be sold at a high volume.

Resale Value 

Both Hermès and Louis Vuitton have solid resale values. That said, this is another category where Hermès takes the upper hand. 

Believe it or not, it’s entirely possible to make money reselling a Birkin bag. In fact, the value of Birkin bags has increased by 14.2% since they debuted in 1984. 

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When it comes to Louis Vuitton, bags usually resell for 80% to 90% of their original price. The Bumbag and limited edition Neverfull bags have the best resale value and often go for more than the original list price. 

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Quality 

Once again, Hermès beats Louis Vuitton when it comes to quality. 

Hermès is known for using some of the world’s finest leathers and exotic animal skins. Examples include Epsom leather, crocodile, and ostrich. On top of that, some bags are adorned with 18-karat gold and diamonds. 

What’s more, it’s a well-known fact that Hermès bags take a long time to make. It sounds crazy, but one bag can take 18 to 24 hours to complete! 

Louis Vuitton also uses quality materials like cowhide leather and Damier canvas, but these materials are much more readily available than those used by Hermès. 

In terms of production time, a Dauphine bag takes three to four hours to construct. While that’s a long time, it’s still much faster than a Hermès bag. 

louis vuitton or hermes

Brand Style / Aesthetic - Hermès vs Louis Vuitton

Perhaps the biggest difference between these two companies is their branding. 

Whereas Hermès is known for its understated designs only recognizable to true fashion lovers, Louis Vuitton’s branding is loud and in your face (for most bags, there are exceptions).

Most Popular Hermès Items 

  • Birkin Bag 
  • Kelly Bag 
  • Constance Bag 
  • Constance Belt 
  • Clic Clac H Bracelet 
  • Collier de Chien Bracelet 
  • Silk Scarves 
  • Oran Sandals 

Most Popular Louis Vuitton Items 

  • Speedy Bag 
  • Alma Bag 
  • Keepall Bag
  • Neverfull Tote Bag 
  • Noé Bag
  • Capucines Bag 
  • LV Twist Bag
  • Boite Chapeau Bag

Hermès vs Louis Vuitton—Which Brand Is Better? 

Based solely on exclusivity, resale value, and quality, Hermès is the clear winner in this battle of the brands. After all, there’s a reason the Birkin bag is the most coveted handbag in the world. 

Still, trying to buy a Birkin (or even a Kelly) can be difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating—not to mention expensive. That’s why newer or budget-sensitive luxury consumers might opt for a Vuitton instead. 

When it comes down to it, both brands make magnificent, enviable bags. The one you choose will depend mostly on your budget and style. 

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