An advertisement flashed across the screen as I searched for a Gucci Soho Disco bag, my latest targeted purchase. It was for vintage designer bags and it got me thinking about the market.
We all pour over the fashion pages and hunt the celebrity sites for the arm candy of our favourite TV, music, and film stars and A-list socialites looking to see what is en vogue, what is hot, and can go green with envy knowing they were most likely gifted that bag to make it more widely seen. They are walking ad space now and why not make the most of it. But taking a step back, rather than having our virtual nose pressed against the glass of Hermes to drool over the current window display, maybe we could look to the past to find a classic, or vintage item by the designer.
I am a little hesitant to use the term vintage as it is synonymous with faded t-shirts purchased so you are confident no-one else has the same on in the venue, coats cut for the shape of women 50 years ago (up and down) and unforgiving shoes, and can you really call a 10 year old Chanel tote vintage?
That British Fashionista Victoria Beckham is even used to advertise the idea. So how can we ignore it?
Shopping for a pre-owned designer handbag then becomes a decision:
Auction site or online boutique?
This is pretty simple, there are options out there that have guaranteed authentic items unlike eBay, where you truly are in the lap of the Gods.
Heritage Auctions is an auction site out of Texas that specialises in collectibles. Fortunately for us they class high fashion in the same way they do high art, and offer an insured service to get the best price. They have a huge selection of bags and other accessories available, probably the largest I have seen online, and offer a 4 month payment program. The site acquires items too, so you may well be buying from HA inventory rather than the owner and both sides of the transaction are vetted and if they do not have what you want, you can send them a request, and your desired item is published on their Wanted List.
Since 1999, Fashionphile has worked hard to become the leading and most trusted source in the secondary market for luxury handbags. You can sell through them, as well as buy from them and all items are guaranteed authentic. There are always new items from the top brands although nowhere near as many as in Heritage Auctions. They also offer a Buy Back program, where for 70% of the selling price through them they will buy back the item. Good to know.
Rewind is an online boutique selling luxury accessories and clothing from all the top designers as well as select items of note, such as immaculate condition (and I am using the term correctly here) vintage jewellery from the 1940s and 50s.
Easy to navigate and with a Pre-Loved as well as Rare vintage section you can find exactly what you are looking for.
I really like Yoogi’s Closet as you have the option, after getting a quote from the site, to either sell your items directly to them, where from then on they become a boutique selling from their own stock, or consign it to them, and they sell on your behalf for a commission.
With easy to filter stock, you soon discover what you want and I do love their descriptions of quality as well as adding the year of the bag’s release on it’s description.
We are all aware of Far Fetch, but did you know they also sell pre-owned vintage gear? Me neither until now. I do like they note that vintage items are not new but often between 20 and 50 years old, and therefore will always have minor imperfections, even when the items have been used and worn with love and care. So anything older than 20 is vintage in their eyes. 😉 They had just over 4000 items at the time of writing, across all their product range of clothing, accessories and shoes because it looks like they aim to only sell items that are as Like New as possible. Definitely worth a look, and Far Fetch is a name I trust in the marketplace.
And just to show how shopping around can make a difference, that Chanel tote from earlier can be found on several of the sites, £1800 in the UK at Far Fetch or £1470 in the US. Now, that is a marked difference, but with import taxes, shipping and customer service being in another country, you need to weigh up the true cost. And that is a whole different post.