Data Dive: The Most Popular Luxury Brand in Each U.S. State
Data Dive: The Most Popular Luxury Brand in Each U.S. State
- Words Grailed Team
- Date May 26, 2020
As one of the most active global fashion marketplaces, Grailed helps our community buy and sell with a diverse range of different brands. One of our most active sectors involves "luxury fashion." From the multitude of monograms to the (in some cases) centuries-old traditions, luxury brands are the names that one is most likely to think of when someone mentions “high fashion.”
For those looking to understand what we mean by “luxury brands” in this data dive, this includes notable fashion houses like (but not limited to): Balenciaga, Balmain, Cartier, Chanel, Dior, Dries Van Noten, Fendi, Givenchy, Gucci, Hermès, Lemaire, Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Maison Margiela, Prada, Raf Simons, Saint Laurent Paris, Thom Browne, Tom Ford and Versace.
This map shows the top luxury brand in each of the 50 United States, based on the total GMV (short for gross merchandise value—effectively, the "total dollar value of sales") from May 2019 to April 2020. Even with a diverse selection of luxury brands available on the Grailed global marketplace, it’s clear that there’s a small selection of top performers.
Gucci clearly takes the cake as the most popular luxury brand on Grailed. In 35 states, it stands as the most purchased luxury label. Sitting eighth on our most popular brands of 2019 rankings, Gucci has consistently been a top seller on Grailed. This is in no small part to its clear aesthetic direction under creative director Alessandro Michele—who has sat atop the brand since January 2015. Even beyond Michele’s infamous visual style, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Gucci's longstanding history as a premier Italian luxury house has always kept it at the forefront of fashion—whether it was Michele or Tom Ford in the designer director’s chair. Who can deny the enduring appeal of the Gucci loafer?
While Gucci may currently stand as the crown jewel of the Kering conglomerate’s fashion portfolio, another Kering-owned label—Saint Laurent Paris—sits in a clear second place. Popular in the states hosting the fashion capitals of New York and Los Angeles, it’s clear that the brand that Hedi Slimane (re)built has still maintained momentum under creative director Anthony Vaccarello. Slimane—known the world over for his unique rock n’ roll-infused aesthetic—completely overhauled what was once Yves Saint Laurent, turning the Parisian luxury house into a brand that shifted pop culture as a whole (who remembers, “It’s been like that for a minute Hedi Slimane!”?). From rappers to rock stars, influencers to preachers, Slimane’s Saint Laurent was the luxury fashion brand taking over the conversation—one pair of Wyatt Boots, D02 Jean, flannel shirt or Teddy Jacket at a time. Even though Slimane only reigned from 2012 to 2016, he was able to turn Saint Laurent into Kering’s most profitable label. When Slimane departed in 2016 (ultimately landing the creative director role at Céline in 2018 after a short hiatus from the industry) he was replaced by Vaccarello. While a change in creative director usually means a complete visual overhaul of the brand in question, Vaccarello—either by choice or by corporate mandate—has largely retained many of the hallmarks of Slimane’s style and Saint Laurent signatures. In this way, even if Slimane isn’t heading up the house he helped revitalize, the public’s favorite pieces are still in circulation; Saint Laurent sat at number seven on our most popular brands of 2019 rankings—well after Slimane was settled in his new role at Céline.
Louis Vuitton dominated in places like Georgia and as far away as Alaska. Perhaps the first label someone thinks of when discussing “luxury fashion” the legacy French luggage producer has been at the forefront of luxury since 1854, with its monogram known and recognized the world over. In the context of Grailed, Louis Vuitton’s men’s division flourished under the creative direction of Kim Jones, who injected elements of street and sportswear into all of his collections for the storied maison. The most notorious injection of streetwear into Louis Vuitton men’s collections occurred during the Fall/Winter 2017 collection, when Vuitton collaborated with Supreme. The breakdown of barriers between streetwear and luxury didn’t just make the Vuitton brand more desirable to a new set of shoppers, it also embodied an industry-wide shift—one where luxury houses adopted the logomania and even drop-based release cadence of the world’s biggest streetwear brands. Jones’ ability to integrate the more casual, contemporary aspects of the fashion world made the arrival of Virgil Abloh feel like a natural progression for Louis Vuitton. While Louis Vuitton’s luxury connotations made the brand a desirable status symbol for over a century, the injection of Abloh’s pop-culture presence made Vuitton a must-cop for those on the cutting edge of contemporary style. Starting with his first collection for the Spring/Summer 2019 season in June 2018, it was clear that Louis Vuitton didn’t simply represent the stuffy nature of fashion, but rather a new paradigm shift focused on breaking down barriers and democratizing design. That perennial desirability and new perspective help shed some light on why Louis Vuitton sat at number 11 on our most popular brands of 2019 list, becoming the fourth fastest growing brand on Grailed. With a legacy in producing logo-laden luggage (ranging from small bags the mix of different price points, coupled with sheer longevity of Louis Vuitton on the secondary market makes it an obvious contender as a favorite in our community.
Balenciaga served as the final top contender in our deep dive, surfacing as the top choice in states like Louisiana, Maryland and Montana. While the brand has historically been a haven for couture design thanks to its eponymous founder, the Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, in contemporary conversation, it’s associated with the “anti-fashion” vision of Demna Gvasalia. Making his name at Vetements—a brand best known for its comically oversized silhouettes and general memeification of fashion codes—Gvasalia’s buzzed about designs led Kering to take a chance on the young designer in 2015, leveraging both his unique perspective and history working in the design studio for labels like Maison Margiela and Marc Jacobs’ Louis Vuitton. Since then the camp-inspired style of Gvasalia has been ported over to the once-self-serious Balenciaga, manifesting itself in bulky sneakers like the Triple S or collections flipping the logo of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. Thanks to Gvasalia’s unique take on Balenciaga, bringing the designer label firmly into the worlds of streetwear, Balenciaga became a symbol of democratization of luxury fashion, turning the brand’s hoodies and sneakers into easy-to-comprehend (but still prohibitively expensive) status symbols. With Gvasalia leaving the Vetements collective at the end of 2019 to focus exclusively on Balenciaga, it’s clear that the brand is far from finished.
While this is far from stating what the “best” luxury brand is (you’ll have to determine that yourself) it’s interesting to see how creating a dominant visual style is crucial to becoming a major luxury player. From Michele’s playful vision at Gucci, to Slimane’s signature rocker style, to the timeless appeal or the Louis Vuitton monogram or the off-kilter “anti-fashion” approach of Gvasalia’s Balenciaga, it’s clear that having perspective is crucial to dominating the crowded luxury space. Other brands that didn’t take the top spot but did appear in our data set included Dior, Maison Margiela, Prada and Raf Simons.