Since the 19th century, Louis Vuitton trunks have been made by hand. Contemporary Fashion gives a preview of the creation of the LV trunks: “The craftsmen line up the leather and canvas, tapping in the tiny nails one by one and securing the five-letter solid pick-proof brass locks with an individual handmade key, designed to allow the traveler to have only one key for all of his or her luggage. The wooden frames of each trunk are made of 30-year-old poplar that has been allowed to dry for at least four years. Each trunk has a serial number and can take up to 60 hours to make, and a suitcase as many as 15 hours.”
Iconic bags of Louis Vuitton include the Speedy bag and Neverfull bags. Each season Louis Vuitton produces rare, limited edition bags that are generally only available by reservation through larger Louis Vuitton stores.
Many of the company’s products utilize the brown Damier and Monogram Canvas materials, both of which were first used in the late 19th century. All of the company’s products exhibit the eponymous LV initials. The company markets its product through its own stores located throughout the world, which allows it to control product quality and pricing. It also allows LV to prevent counterfeit products entering its distribution channels. In addition, the company distributes its products through the company’s own website, LouisVuitton.com.
The Louis Vuitton brand and the LV monogram are among the world’s most valuable brands. According to a Millward Brown 2010 study, Louis Vuitton is the world’s 29th most valuable brand, right after Gillette and before Wells Fargo. The brand itself is estimated to be worth over US$19 billion. For six consecutive years, Louis Vuitton was number one of the ten most powerful brands list published by the Millward Brown Optimor’s 2011 BrandZ study with value of $24.3 billion. It was more than double the value of the second ranking brand.
Louis Vuitton is one of the most counterfeited brands in the fashion world due to its image as a status symbol. Ironically, the signature Monogram Canvas was created to prevent counterfeiting. In 2004, Louis Vuitton fakes accounted for 18% of counterfeit accessories seized in the European Union.
The company actively seeks to tackle counterfeiting, and employs a team of lawyers and special investigation agencies to pursue offenders through the courts worldwide. The company allocates approximately half of its communications budget to counteract counterfeiting of its goods. LVMH (Vuitton’s parent company) further confirmed this by stating: “Some 60 people at various levels of responsibility working full-time on anti-counterfeiting in collaboration with a wide network of outside investigators and a team of lawyers.” The company closely controls the distribution of its products. Until the 1980s, Vuitton products were widely sold in department stores (e.g., Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue). Today, Vuitton products are primarily available at authentic Louis Vuitton boutiques, with a small number of exceptions. These boutiques are commonly found in upscale shopping districts or inside luxury department stores. The boutiques within department stores operate independently from the department and have their own LV managers and employees. LV has an online store, through its main website, as an authorized channel to market its products.
In 2006 the company attempted to have the LV.com domain name compulsorily transferred to it from its American proprietor; the action failed and the domain was subsequently acquired by LV=, an English friendly society/insurance company.
Louis Vuitton Malletier, commonly referred to as Louis Vuitton or shortened to LV, is a French fashion house founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton. The label’s LV monogram appears on most of its products, ranging from luxury trunks and leather goods to ready-to-wear, shoes, watches, jewelry, accessories, sunglasses and books. Louis Vuitton is one of the world’s leading international fashion houses; it sells its products through standalone boutiques, lease departments in high-end department stores, and through the e-commerce section of its website. For six consecutive years (2006–2012), Louis Vuitton was named the world’s most valuable luxury brand. 2012 valuation was US$25.9 billion. Year 2013 valuation of the brand was US$28.4 billion with a sales of US$9.4 billion. The company operates in 50 countries with more than 460 stores worldwide