Fall in love with luxury thrifting
Luxury thrifting is having a moment. Sure, more and more people are getting on board with the idea of giving pre-loved clothing a second chance, but when you enter the world of luxury thrifting, things become far more intricate. Here, a second-hand item can be a coveted red Chanel 2.55 handbag that will cost you a small fortune (it’s really an investment), so you need to know what you’re doing.
How do you define “luxury”?
“Luxury” can be used to describe high-end designer items that are defined by features such as beautiful fabrics, unique silhouettes and specific branding. Luxury pieces have the ability to market at very high prices (whether new or second-hand).
There are many South African luxury labels – Thebe Magugu, Lukhanyo Mdingi and Rich Mnisi come to mind; international luxury brands include Prada, Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Louis Vuitton. There is growing interest in reselling vintage luxury pieces – through local, small-scale curators or online marketplaces such as us.vestiairecollective.com (an incredible website that sells previously owned luxury items at retail prices).
Shop smart and ask the right questions
When purchasing a pre-owned luxury item, you need to know how to tell if it’s authentic or a counterfeit. Vestiaire Collective, for example, authenticates all items, and information is available on what collection an item is from and if it is indeed a piece by the designer in question. They also vet and check all these requirements for you, so you know exactly what you are buying.
Always examine the branding and monograms – and, if possible, ask the purveyor for an authentication certificate (a document that designer fashion houses often include when selling items). In some cases, the seller will also be able to supply the original store receipt.
Quality is also incredibly important when receiving a garment, bag or accessories from a curator or reseller. Investigate the images or ask to see the piece in real life. When investing in a luxury piece, you need to be sure that it’s in good condition – you want it to last for years to come. Two local vintage stores that can be trusted include Tuuh Studio (@tuuhstudio) and Me On You (@meonyouvintage). I have personally bought items from both and have been very impressed by their curating skills.
Through luxury thrifting, you can elevate your wardrobe with timeless, good-quality designer items. It is a great way to curb your impact on the environment, while also honouring the incredible vision and creativity of designers around the world. Less certainly is more – for example, it is far better to invest in two or three vintage designer jackets that will last for years rather than buy cheap, trendy jackets each season that were most likely made under dire conditions. Investing in second-hand luxury pieces is a more sustainable, eco-conscious way to shop that benefits both you and the planet.