image: Louis Vuitton

image: Louis Vuitton

Is Louis Vuitton anticipating major demand thanks to its buzzy new menswear artistic director Virgil Abloh? On the heels of the Off-White director’s appointment to the top men’s spot at world’s most valuable luxury brand, Louis Vuitton has announced that it is set to open two new factories in France in the near future “in order to meet the growing demand for its leather goods,” per British Vogue. The new additions to its manufacturing infrastructure are expected to cut production time down on internal orders to just one week.

These two French factories – which will open in July 2018 and early 2019, respectively, will be followed up by yet another factory, which is expected to open its doors by 2020, bringing the Paris-based brand’s factory count to 16 French leather workshops, which employ approximately 4,000 leather goods specialists. Outside of France, Louis Vuitton maintains two factories in California, as well as workshops in Catalonia and production facilities in Portugal and Romania. The latter has been the subject of widespread scrutiny for being the home of Louis Vuitton’s “Made in France” footwear.

According to Vogue, “The expansion will enable store managers to react to sales trends and deliver handbags within a week of internal orders coming in. The current production time is two weeks.”

Louis Vuitton’s push for speed, paired with its introduction of more accessible products (read: its fragrance collection) and its recent attempts (and successes) at gaining the attention of hype-happy millennial consumers – including by way of its collaboration with Supreme (which given Marc Jacobs’ penchant for collaborations during his 16-year tenure at Vuitton is not completely out of left field) and now Abloh’s appointment – certainly raise at least a few questions about the brand’s trajectory in courting younger consumers and how that will play out in the delicate space that is the luxury sector.

More to come.