The market for vintage designer bags and pre-loved bags has quickly become highly sought after. From Louis Vuitton to Chanel, we take a look at why second-hand is the way to go.
Fashion is a funny old business. So much tendencies come and go, and so do our spending habits. When it comes to hand bagsas consumers, we’ve been pretty generous with our money over the years, willingly investing in the latest “It” bag of the moment at a moment’s notice.
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The feeling of buying a brand new designer bag is one that, if bottled, would be elusive. The adrenaline rush of buying a designer tote is nothing short of epic. The store assistant who goes to the back room to pick up a new design for you, wrap it in a nice wrapper and box it with a ribbon, then place it in a paper bag, which you happily swing behind you as you leave, is a big delight. And just knowing that your new bag will be your forever special piece and that you’ll take care of it…it’s almost like it’s your firstborn. Dramatic, but true!
Louis Vuitton jeans from 2005
As idyllic as it sounds, as customers, times have changed a bit. After the pandemic, spending a huge amount of money on a designer bag, quite frankly, isn’t so cool anymore. First, Covid-19 has taught us that life is precious and you never know what lies ahead. That’s why frivolous spending just isn’t the same as it was before 2020.
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And two, we’re all much more savvy about the environment and what we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. The sustainable fashion movement has become a priority in our minds, and buying vintage is a great way to play our part.
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Pre-loved and vintage handbags are now really, really big business and more often than not, some vintage bags are actually more sought after than a newcomer that you can pick right off the shelf.
Vintage bags tell a story
A good example is the arrival of 2021 And just like thatthe much discussed sex and the city to restart. Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Carrie Bradshaw has resurrected her vintage ’90s sequin Fendi bag and fans have gone crazy trying to get the discontinued style; so much so that it has since been redesigned by the Italian fashion house for the modern era. But don’t you prefer the original? I know I would.
Carrie Bradshaw’s Baguette by Fendi on display at the ‘Bags: Inside Out’ exhibition at the V&A
For my part, I have always been a “new” bag lover. Once a year I would save my pennies and buy a cool new bag to treat myself to, and it was an annual event that I loved. But on second thought, absolutely anyone can do it. Where is the authenticity? Yeah, buying a new bag is great and all, but as someone who cares about fashion and its history, there’s something so exciting about browsing Ebay and vintage sites, trying to find a bag original from years ago that you don’t know. -another aura. It’s so exciting and makes you feel triumphant, plus it gives your look that special edge.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s vintage 1960s Dayne Taylor bag
In addition, the past life of the bag is simply exciting. Why was it bought? Has it been forwarded? Where was it? Bags tell a story, and the fact is that bag collectors often treat their bags like treasure, so you’ll often find vintage styles to be in great condition.
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Second-hand arm candies are often much kinder to your bank balance. Last year, a friend and colleague of mine shared a snap of her Dior “Gaucho” bag that she bought used. I was delighted. I loved that it looked a lot like the iconic “Saddle”, but had a slightly different shape, which made it much more unique. In addition, it costs enormously less; you won’t get much change from £4,000 for this particular brand new model, so it’s good to know there are similar styles out there that won’t break the bank. I hunted high and low for the same style, and felt so triumphant when I found one. It is over 20 years old and the saleswoman explained that it was bought in Paris by her mother, who passed it down over the years. With its buttery soft leather, I get so many comments every time I wear it, and that’s my pride and joy.
Vintage versions of the Dior saddle bag are extremely popular
Another great option is to buy a designer style that has been worn out and have it restored to look like new. The handbag clinic is an amazing place to go for this exclusive service, and the attention to detail is limited. The brand, frequented by many celebrities and influencers, also sells a huge range of pre-loved styles and even has an authentication service where bags are professionally checked to ensure there is no no counterfeits.
Second-hand Chanel bags are highly sought after
Charlotte Staerck, CEO and co-founder of The handbag clinic told HELLO! : “There has never been a better time to invest in luxury handbags. As high streets struggle and sales of non-essential items have plummeted during the pandemic, resale sites and auction houses selling luxury and vintage handbags, particularly Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, thrive because they are considered a safer investment than stocks and shares.Due to their often appreciated value, Luxury handbags are one of the most sought after items to buy and sell on the second hand market.
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“Since we opened the doors of our King’s Road store in 2015, we have seen a sea change in the market with cult and vintage second-hand handbags fetching higher prices than ever before. They are seen as collectables and, in the face of economic uncertainty, a good investment that is passed down from generation to generation. You will never see brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel depreciate their products and Hermès limit their sales to a very exclusive clientele so buying second-hand, especially for vintage and cult bags, is the smart and sustainable escape.”
Already convinced? Charlotte has some amazing tips for buying pre-loveds, so listen up.
“If the photos are not clear enough to give you an accurate idea of the authenticity of the bag, do not hesitate to ask the seller questions. Ask the year of purchase of his handbag and check that the numbers of the serial number correspond to the year of manufacture If it’s outside of that, it’s definitely a fake.
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“The color of the hardware should match the color of the logo inside the handbag. Quilted Chanel handbags, for example, have ten stitches per inch. Sometimes it can be very slightly outside of that, but never by a lot. So if you count seven stitches, you know it’s not genuine. If in doubt, ask where they bought their handbag. If they say “Harrods”, check to see if “Harrods has already stored this brand or style.
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I’m not saying that I will never buy a new bag again. But my head was turned, almost completely. Many people still consider vintage to be less than luxury, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Buying a bag that you can’t buy in the store is magic. A little piece of history in your wardrobe, while helping to preserve the environment? I will pack it.
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