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The 11 Oldest Designer Brands Still Trading

They may be old, but these brands remain as desirable and exclusive as ever. Even a secondhand Prada handbag or pre-loved Louis Vuitton wallet holds a high price tag.

So, here are the 11 oldest designer brands still stealing the show, from Victorian era entities to 1940s newcomers…

1. Hermès: Established in 1837

We start things off back in the 1800s — 1837 to be precise. Queen Victoria has just ascended the throne, the first photograph had been taken only 10 years prior, and one of the World’s most expensive handbag brands was established.

A night shot of a Hermès store taken from the other side of a road. Hermès is one of the oldest luxury brands in the world.
Hermès Storefront | Photo by Henry Chen on Unsplash

Hermès was created in Paris by Thierry Hermés — a purveyor of leather equestrian products. However, in 1922 Hermès applied its hand to the fashion scene with a handbag collection released in 1922. The brand has a richly layered heritage built upon a century worth of knowledge from skilled artisans and savvy directors. It is considered the most exclusive and also the oldest designer brand in the World. Some of their handbags, like the Birkin and Kelly, remain so exclusive that whenever they enter a pre-loved Hermès collection they’re snapped up within hours.

2. Loewe: Established in 1846

Created in 1846, the brand didn’t actually gain its current name until 1876, when Enrique Loewe joined a team of Spanish craftsmen. Over the last century and a half, the brand has attracted celebrities and royalty alike — from Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain to Victoria Beckham.

Loewe perfume bottle | Photo by Miska Sage on Unsplash

3. Louis Vuitton: Established in 1854

Another fashion powerhouse that emerged from France… Louis Vuitton is not only prominent in the world of fashion but also in our cultural zeitgeist. It’s a household name across the globe and secondhand Louis Vuitton wallets and pre-owned Louis Vuitton handbags are notoriously targeted by counterfeiters.

Louis Vuitton Shopfront | Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

4. Burberry: Established in 1856

Established in Basingstoke, England, Burberry is a British brand with an impressive heritage. The Burberry name is synonymous with trench coats, sunglasses, bags and their iconic plaid pattern — the ‘Nova Check’.

Burberry signage | Photo by rashid khreiss on Unsplash

5. Chanel: Established in 1910

Originally founded in 1909, Coco Chanel opened her own official Chanel boutique in 1910 on rue Cambon in Paris. Since its small scale beginning, the Chanel brand has become a global fashion powerhouse.

It has partnered with celebrities like Keira Knightley, Margot Robbie and Marilyn Monroe and it remains highly sought after, with even secondhand Chanel bags climbing in price year after year.

Chanel shopping totes | Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

6. Prada: Established in 1913

Another Italian brand that once specialised in luxury leather goods. Prada was established in 1913 by Mario Prada and over the next few decades, it would carve its own unique place in the world of fashion. Prada handbags and garments are still incredibly popular, and the brand is one of the few major luxury designer brands still owned by the family.

Prada Shopfront | Photo by Stock Birken on Unsplash

7. Balenciaga: Established in 1919

Created by Cristóbal Balenciaga in 1919, Balenciaga is one of the oldest designer brands to have emerged from Spain. Although temporarily closed for 14 years in 1972, the brand has remerged as a fashion powerhouse favourite. The brand is now based in one of the most well-known fashion capitals in the world, Paris.

Balenciaga bag | Photo by Jess @ Harper Sunday on Unsplash

8. Gucci: Established in 1921

In 1921 luxury fashion is no longer just for royalty and the upper classes… As technology advanced and wealth spread through the classes, many men and women found luxury items more within reach, including luxury luggage from Gucci.

Established by Guccio Gucci in 1921, the Gucci brand offered premium, leather luggage and handbags to a growing world of fashionistas and those seeking Italian quality. Even pre-owned Gucci handbags have a wide interest in the resale market.

Gucci Shopfront | Photo by Dima Pechurin on Unsplash

9. Fendi: Established in 1925

The brand was initially created by a young 21-year-old Adele Casagrande before she soon partnered with her husband Edoardo Fendi and subsequently changed the name. Fendi has always been associated with leather, fur and… fun. Karl Lagerfeld was hired as a creative director by one of Adele’s daughters and he helped to create iconic brand elements like the FF ‘fun fur’ logo. Fendi remains as popular as ever, with pre-loved Fendi bags still catching the eye of celebrities and fashionistas.

Fendi signage | Photo by Arno Senoner on Unsplash

10. Nina Ricci: Established in 1932

Always associated with femininity and romantic styling, Nina Ricci created her brand in 1932. Whilst she focused on silhouettes and fabrics, her son Robert Ricci helped with the business creation. Today the brand is well-known for its popular collection of perfumes.

Models wearing Nina Ricci | Photo by Bert Verhoeff / Anefo on Wikimedia Commons

11. Christian Dior: Established in 1946

Paris has been the location of so many fashion beginnings, and our final entry to the oldest designer brands of the world began here too… The brand was created by Christian Dior who moved to Paris from Normandy with his family at 5 years old. His artistic abilities led him to the world of fashion, and his successful brand was famed for creating the ‘new look’ which revolutionised woman’s fashion.

Dior Shopfront | Photo by Bangyu Wang on Unsplash

Featured Image: Photo by Jannis Lucas on Unsplash

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