When shopping with the intention to eventually resell and revamp, there are several factors to consider, such as availability, condition, and brand. Many ready-to-wear fashion items are quickly becoming the primary passion investment for savvy consumers, both long and short term. “Personal closets transform into a revenue stream and shopping decisions are made by looking at investment potential,” explains Ana Roncha, Course Leader of the master’s degree in Strategic Fashion Marketing at the London College of Fashion. She continues, “clothes are seen as tradable assets. [Professional resale platforms] allow us to know how much those pieces can be worth and therefore can be traded upon season after season.”
Different from the traditional idea of an investment, clothes and accessories can be used in everyday life. In addition to introducing a contemporary and economic fashion philosophy, the resale market has also highlighted the importance of sustainability. As the secondary market expands, these consumers can limit their negative environmental impacts, which are most commonly fueled by the fashion industry. With the quick turnover of seasonal trends, consignment is the perfect way to reinvent and reinvest your wardrobe, while reducing your footprint, and contributing to the circular economy.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER
Supply and demand, though crucial for the economy across the board, is especially important when buying or selling on the secondary market. Be it limited edition pieces, collaboration items, discontinued styles, or coveted exclusivities, there is usually a premium to pay for desired scarcities. Once no longer available in retail shops, such items often retain their value and can even appreciate in value over time, becoming certified collectibles.
Current trends can heavily influence demand on the secondary market, and drive the prices right up. As we’ve seen with the recent take-off of small, monogrammed pochette bags spotted on the arms of famous models and social media influencers alike, quick sharp spikes in demand in particular will affect the going rate for a preloved piece.
Another consideration to factor in when determining value on the secondary market is condition. Designer items are always investments that require proper storage and dutiful maintenance. A general rule of thumb is the more pristine or well-kept an item is, the higher its resale value will be.
It is also highly recommended to keep any inclusions accompanying your purchase, such as a dust cover, authenticity card, care booklet, tag, and even the receipt. Having these items when looking to resell can make your item not only more profitable, but also more desirable amongst shoppers.
Lastly, and probably one of the most obvious considerations when determining price, is brand. With the inherent fashion designer hierarchy, certain logos have the ability to communicate status simply by being displayed and visible. Regardless the type of item, there are some logos that retain value better than others. Chanel and Hermes are notorious for holding their worth better than most, but Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Dior can come close with some of their top coveted styles.
Similarly, for pieces within the same category, brand, and condition, there can still be serious discrepancies in price based on the amount of visible logos or signature details— i.e. a Chanel jacket with CC buttons versus a modest Chanel jacket with unmarked buttons. Similarly, classic styles and silhouettes have been proven time and time again to hold their value extremely well when compared to trendier styles, and can even appreciate in value dramatically over time.
The reintroduction of certain silhouettes or patterns from previous collections can also increase the resale value for older or “vintage” pieces that were released at the time of the original collection. This has become a common occurrence on the luxury resale market, as seen most recently with the Dior Saddle bag, Prada’s nylon styles, and Gucci’s Jackie hobo.
The rise of social media and its easy worldwide exposure, has given more brand pricing power to contemporary fashion brands. Now having the platform to establish themselves amongst luxury brands and amass cult-like followings, these brands become bigger players in the arena, challenging the notion of big brand + big logo = bigger value held on a preloved price tag. Two noteworthy examples of this are the coveted Staud, with their minimalistic handbag options, and Self-Portrait, a favorite because of their playfully layered dress designs.
Easily the category with the quickest turnover rate, designer fashions rarely stay in a closet too long due to the inherent nature of trends, and the effects of fast fashion. While there are exceptions for rare, runway collection pieces or archival vintage, which can retain their value, designer clothing, for the most part, does not hold its value as well on the secondary market. Likewise, demand for clothing items is noticeably less than the demand for accessories or handbags, given the size-specificity and personal style. Although there is only a finite amount of people who can purchase and comfortably wear a size 34 Chanel bouclé jacket, anyone can purchase and get significant use out of an Hermes silk scarf.
While this might mean you stand to earn a little less reselling your designer clothing, it also makes shopping preloved designer clothing all the more appealing with lower prices for incredible gently-worn pieces. Many will shop this category and resell anyhow, utilizing their profit to invest into new pieces and refreshing their next buy/sell cycle.
As with all other items available on the secondary market, if well-maintained and kept in exceptional condition, preloved designer shoes are more likely to fetch a higher resale value. Given the inevitable function of shoes; however, the tendency to show signs of wear or even the most minimal imperfections is quite high.
Another extremely important note when it comes to buying or selling shoes is the question of size and fit, which can limit the shopper-base and affect the pricing. For the most part, there is a universal size guide when it comes to shoes, in which sizes can be listed and then converted from American to European, or vice versa. Then, there are still the crucial factors of designer and silhouette to account for. Notorious for running smaller in size, Christian Louboutin will often require women to size up in order to find a pair to comfortably fit their feet. Similarly, most Chanel shoes can run quite narrow, resulting in some size fluctuations for women based on the style in question.
This shouldn’t intimidate or stop anyone from shopping for shoes on the secondary market! With many secondhand stores, there is a return policy in place that you can benefit from if they’re not locally available for you to try on. You can also reach out to the selling team with any fit and style questions you have prior to purchase.
Although fine jewelry pieces made with real gold or featuring diamonds are more likely to be sold at a premium, there are fashion jewelry items than can hold their value just as well on the secondary market. Extremely dependent upon the brand, the designer logo can raise resale prices high enough to compete with fine jewelry, regardless of the discrepancy in the quality of materials used. This is often the case with Chanel jewelry with the iconic CC present.
For jewelry, as expected with all items on the secondary market, supply and demand are extremely important, as well as any visible signs of wear in general. Susceptible to potential scratches, tarnishing, discoloration, and/or missing stones/studs, in order to yield the highest possible return, maintenance, care, and storage are all crucial areas of jewelry TLC.
As with clothing and shoes, there are some categories of jewelry that are size-specific, such as rings and most bracelets. While earrings and necklaces are freely sized, fingers and wrists require a more tailored fit, which can at times make such items take a bit longer to sell than their universal counterparts.
Always in-demand, classic silhouettes tend to retain their value over time, whereas novelty or trendy bags are less predictable and considered to be more vulnerable to market fluctuations and fads. Heavily dependent upon celebrity sightings and social media crazes, unconventional styles can blow up overnight and sell for insanely high prices at the peak of their popularity. Just as easily, they can lose their appeal, and thus their high price points, as new trends roll in.
What then makes a classic style retain its value so well overtime? Designer handbags such as Chanel’s Classic Flap or Hermes’ Kelly Bag constantly see their retail values increase annually due to inflation, production and material costs, and market changes. While adjustments are made, and possibly new colors released, the design of these bags themselves are kept as is with little to no changes. This allows the secondary market to charge a premium on the older models while still staying competitive against retail pricing, often earning the seller more than they initially paid for their bag.
As exhibited by Hermes with their notorious Birkin Bag, exclusivity and scarcity are two very important factors in preloved shopping. Avid handbag collectors are usually willing to pay as much as double or triple a bag’s retail value on the secondary market, to grab the exact color/fabric combination they desire when no longer available in the retail space.
While there may be a lot to consider when it comes to selling your luxury fashions, we're here to simplify the process for you. We'll research the pricing, identify the demand, and get your items photographed and described for our massive international shopper community!