Date of Award


Document Type

MA Project - Open Access

Project Type

MA Project - Journal Article

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art Business

First Advisor

Elizabeth Pergam


Hermès is a French high-fashion luxury goods manufacturer established in 1837. They specialize in leather and lifestyle accessories. Hermès is perhaps best known for selling the Birkin bag, a handmade leather tote sold as a personal accessory. Launched in 1983, the Birkin emerged from an exchange between former Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas and famous British actress and style icon Jane Birkin.1 The pair were seated next to each other on a flight from Paris back to London. Birkin had placed her flimsy straw carryall in the overhead compartment of her seat, and the contents of her bag spilled out onto the floor. Dumas, appalled to see her toting all of her belongings in such a flimsy bag and motivated by Jane’s struggles, invited her to come to the Hermès atelier and work with him to design a handcrafted bag sturdy enough to hold all of her belongings. This bag was to exude superb quality, space, elegance and style that many women would clamor for. There was little question on the name of their new creation - “the Birkin” - and the rest is handbag history. The Birkin has become known as the world’s most expensive and exclusive handbag. The bag has evolved since its initial release and the market for it has grown even more so. This article looks to analyze the Birkin bag, its evolution since inception and the market which has adjusted and grown over the years which look to maintain its superiority to other bags.