Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior have literally become a household name from upper-middle to upper class in our society. Why I included the upper-middle class in it, is simple. They can’t afford it but they aspire to get it or carry its counterfeit very proudly. But today, we are not going to talk about these brands. We will shed light on how the founders of these century old brands made it from rags , orphanages, poverty to luxury, fame and power.
Let’s start with Coco Chanel!
Born in 1883, in France, Chanel’s life was anything but glamorous and newsworthy. Born to unwed parents, she was put in an orphanage after the death of his mother by her father who was a drug dealer. Having been raised by nuns, she soon learnt the art of sewing. Her nickname “Coco” came into being when she was working as a singer at a club. Chanel was a shrewd woman, who knew exactly how to use her youth and beauty to make it big. At the age of 20, she started dating a rich French socialite and heir to a huge business empire. Very soon, she left him and started dated her ex-boyfriends friend who was more rich and influential as compared to the former. It would not be wrong if we state that both men were instrumental in Chanel’s first fashion venture. Sleeping around with rich men and taking their help to grow her business became a normal practice for her. Her success is attributed to the countless men she had flings with who spent thousands of dollars on her to help her grow her business.
Louis Vuittion had the most tragic childhood filled with poverty. His mother died when he was only 10. His father, who was a farmer remarried. As legend has it, Vuitton’s stepmother was as wicked as the fictional stepmother of Cinderella. Unable to face the ill treatment, the famous designer left home at the tender age of 13. He took a number of odd jobs just to survive. Soon after this, at the of 16 he was hired as an internee in the workshop of a successful box-maker and packer named Monsieur Marechal. Box-making and packing was a highly respectable and profitable craft. It took Vuitton a couple of years to make an identity of his own. He soon got married and opened his own box-making workshop in Pairs. From there onwards there was no looking back! The designer debuted entirely new truck. The trunks he designed and produced were lighter, durable and impervious to water and odors. In the history of Fashion, Louis Vuitton is considered to have given birth to modern luggage. Even today, after almost two decades, Vuittion’s trunks remain unmatched in terms of popularity and sales!
Born in poverty-stricken household, Thomas Burberry was born in 1835. To provide bread and butter for his family he served his apprenticeship for various clothing merchants. He was a very ambitious individual and soon realized he can use his art and skill to do something of his own. He began to research and experiment with materials to produce fabrics which were weatherproof and suitable for clothing customers. In 1914, the British War Office asked Burberry to create a coat that was suitable for wartime conditions. Burberry used his own designs for officers’ coats that had been made prior and simply added shoulder straps and metal rings to the jacket to design the beginnings of the modern day trench. After returning home from war, the soldiers continued to wear their trench coats, which was reinvented to suit various styles such as punk in the 1970s. The coat still remains a fashion staple today and is constantly being designed with new colors, patterns and styles.