I have an entire category of Safari bookmarks just for Resellers. Also known as consigners. Same function, just branded differently. Gently-used “pre-owned” handbags, accessories, shoes, and clothing are sold for between half and 100% of their original list price, depending on rarity and condition. In some cases, the items appreciate. That translates to second-hand Hermès Kellys selling for more than they did new from the boutique.
Since the atmospheric rise in popularity of luxury brands in the industrialized world, a secondary business model has nipped at its heels. In part, it serves those who cannot afford the brand-new price of a bag or dress. It also provides a second chance for that missed opportunity when a limited-run collection is offered new and then discontinued forever. Designers and brands develop new collections every year, with few items or ‘looks’ carrying over season-to-season.
Why do I keep a close eye on luxury resellers? For the same reason I enjoy browsing used cars on eBay. You never know what you might come across, luxury at a deep discount, or that one piece you lusted after and can’t buy new anymore.
I’m not in any position to drop a G on a used briefcase, but the mindless hunt for buried treasure, and never knowing what might surface, presents a simple pleasure. For me, it’s a relaxing Zen action I do each day.
Fashionphile is probably my favorite. Its website is easy to navigate, simple, and has very clear pictures. Malleries is also good, and of course, eBay is a classic. Once upon a time I combed Cameron Silver’s Decades blog, which looks to now be replaced by slick online shops – one for 20th century and one for 21st century wares. Silver is widely credited with popularizing the genre of designer consignment in the internet commerce age – and he’s a sought figure in Los Angeles for outfitting many in vintage dresses.
When I lived in Manhattan, I frequented INA, a mini chain of brick-and-mortar and online stores specializing in designer consignment. All manner of luxury royalty lived at those stores – Chanel bouclé and metallic leather Louis Vuitton jackets, Prada pumps, and Missoni wrap dresses. In the men’s only INA, Bottega Veneta polo shirts were served up, next to Ralph Lauren boots and Belstaff biker jackets.
INA was a different experience from the Prada boutique a few blocks over because it wasn’t uppity or pretentious – or museum sterile. The small shop was overflowing with veterans of Madison Avenue, ready for a new role in life. And, everyone shopping at INA was there for a deal, or to find a gem.
In San Francisco, I happened across sui GENERIS, a shop that one-ups INA by stocking the best of Italy and Japan in a slick, Dolce & Gabbana-esque retail space. The black walls and gold accents reminded me of all the things your mind conjures when wearing Dior Homme: an 80’s limo…a perfume bottle…a Milanese discotheque.
I’ve thought about opening a luxury consignment space in Tampa. Or just adding a commerce section to this site. It would be so much fun to see what all could be sourced locally. I myself have a number of items that could get the store or site started. Hmmm.
Recently I’ve also found Put This On, a blog that trolls eBay each week for deals on classy menswear. Not my style really, but fun nonetheless. If you’re more dapper than I am, it may be a new must-visit.
Stay tuned for any developments on a reseller named after yours truly: aLUXis. Or ALEX Tampa. Or A Reseller. Or just Store. I like that last one.