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This New Company Has an Astonishing Twist on Luxury Goods. Here’s Why It Could Be Brilliant

If you like true luxury, this could be for you.

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BY Chris Matyszczyk - 17 Nov 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

 

Humans like to show off.

They believe it will make others love and respect them all the more.

They believe it will elevate them above those whose love and respect they desperately crave.

They believe that buying fancy bags, shoes, scarves and purses with huge, famous labels is one way of achieving that.

I confess that the bigger label, the more it can make a $1,000 bag look like an awful waste of money.

The other day, I wandered around Moschino's H&M collection and found myself marveling as to why anyone would want to wear the designer's name writ large with a picture of Donald Duck attached.

Which is why I'm engrossed by the concept behind a new company called Italic.

Its idea is to sell luxury goods without the labels attached.

Its website claims it offers "Handbags made by the same factory as Prada."

Then there's "Shoes made by the same factory as Cerruti."

And "Sheets Made by the Same Supplier as the Ritz Carlton."

It's all quite tantalizing.

Naturally, there's a tiny twist.

These products aren't identical to Cerruti shoes or Prada handbags. They are, however, made by the same people. Or, perhaps, by the same machines.

Italic insists that "by removing brands and labels from the equation, manufacturers earn significantly higher profits while passing 'brand markup' savings onto customers."

In essence, then, you're getting a Prada-level handbag for a substantially sub-Coach price.

At least, that's the idea.

Italic's founder explained it in highly businesslike terms to Vox:

Both luxury and direct to consumer brands mark their products up, with the former spending money on fancy marketing and the latter giving money to Facebook and Google so shoppers find them, but the factories never see that money. Gucci's markup is 10x. Casper, Allbirds, or whoever, say their prices are lower because they are cutting out the middleman, but they are also a middleman. Italic, on the other hand, gives consumers the ability to buy straight from the world's best factories, at a factory price.

It's a mesmerizing notion that these items might become more revered than their counterparts with distinctive logos.

I know that discretion isn't the mode-du-jour for everyone just now. It would, though, be an interesting counterpoint to overtness, garishness and faux glamour.

It's a beautifully fine line upon which Italic is walking, so fine that even the most experienced model might fall off.

Can it create a sense of style that's peculiarly distinctive and just a little anonymous?

Yes, there are other supposedly discreet brands. Somehow, though, their products seem ill-designed, hovering over the dull side of of tasteless spectrum.

Italics, though, sounds like a truly beautiful experiment.

It could, of course, get up the noses of the great and garish fashion houses. Italic's website is, after all, very clear about who makes its wares.

The brand is overtly using the names of the most famous fashion brands to create credibility for his own products.

I fear they might be one drawback, though, to his idea.

People will buy Italic goods and then stick Prada and Cerruti logos on them.

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