Luxury Brand Hierarchy Explained by Chinese Classroom Culture

    This nifty chart explains the hierarchy of luxury brands through a comparison that almost everyone in China understands deeply: classroom culture.
    A short visual guide to explain luxury brands hierarchy in a classroom setting. Photo: Jiaobanbang/Weibo
    Angelina XuAuthor
      Published   in Retail

    Classroom culture has deep roots in almost everyone’s childhood and teenage life in China, where students in elementary, middle, and high school are typically in class for more than eight hours a day. Luxury items, on the other hand, have only been gaining popularity in China in the last decade. With the back-to-school season upon us, a Chinese fashion blogger called Jiaobanbang has compiled a chart that equates different luxury brands with students’ social hierarchy in the classroom to better equip Chinese consumers with the knowledge about brand hierarchy in the luxury realm in a way they can relate to. Here, in brief, is that chart:


    Straight-A Students#

    Brands: Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hermes, Celine, Dior, YSL
    Like the model straight-A students who have both excellent grades and plentiful extra-curricular activities, these brands are like the “royalty” of luxury brands. They reside at the top of the brand hierarchy pyramid because of their origins as prestigious European fashion houses. For example, Louis Vuitton’s recent Jeff Koons and Supreme collaborations are viewed as an extra-curricular well done.

    The Flawless Girls#

    Brands: Bulgari, Valentino
    The flawless girls are the fanciest and prettiest girls in the classroom who don’t seem to want to talk to anyone outside of their little clique. Bulgari is the Greek-Italian girl who loves exotic accessories and throws big parties. Valentino is the “sugar-baby” of Qatar who is ex-best friends with the model student Dior.

    The Teacher’s Pet#

    Brand: Chanel
    Every teacher has a favorite student who can get away with turning assignments in late or missing a lecture or two. Chanel seems to get this privilege by being loved for whatever the brand’s creative team does. From revolutionizing womenswear to amping up its menswear line. While leading the feminist movement in the fashion world, Chanel seems to never fall out of the industry’s favor.

    The Depressed Poets#

    Brand: Prada
    The depressed poets were once passionate and did really well in English, but then they stumbled into some writer’s block and got distracted and dogged by ennui. Since Prada’s IPO in Hong Kong in 2011, the company’s net earnings have not been that great. The brand’s recent releases and new designs did not seem to impress either, and it also might need to up its online game in order to keep up with the evolving industry.

    The Nerds#

    Brands: Vetements, Balenciaga
    The universal rule is that the nerds always get the best grades. Although sharing the same “tutor” means their “writing style” can be somewhat similar, what’s more important is that these two brands are both doing well.

    The Indie Kids#

    Brands: Miu Miu, Dolce&Gabbana
    The indie kids are the cool kids, but they're also different from the regular cool kids. They do their own thing and don’t care about what other people think. Prada’s “little sister,” Miu Miu, seems to be doing things on her own, and “Sicilian princess” Dolce & Gabbana seems to prefer her own unconventional old-school vibe.

    The Nerds with Mediocre Grades#

    Brands: Fendi, Burberry
    These students share the same qualities as the real nerds, except that they don’t perform as well. Fendi’s close creative ties with Chanel do not seem to bring the brand the same level of fame, and Burberry’s attempts in e-commerce have not been a complete success.

    The Underperforming Students#

    Brands: Bottega Veneta, Versace
    These students’ defining characteristic is their inability to keep up with school work and their lackluster grades. Bottega Veneta’s performance has seen a decline in comparison to previous years and Versace’s path down the digital and e-commerce road still seems filled with obstacles.

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