How Vintage Became More Popular Than Present-Day Fashion

When ThredUp Founder and CEO James Reinhart introduced Luxe, a new portal for luxury consignment, on his eight-year-old online resale site last week, it was a the result of a number factors. Reinhart had always envisioned ThredUp as a place for customers to sell their used clothing, whether it be The Gap or Chanel, but recognised that users were searching for high-end brands at record rates over the past few months.
“We saw an increased search volume for Chanel, we saw an increased search volume for Louis Vuitton, we saw an increased search volume for Hermes,” he tells Refinery29. “But if you searched on ThredUp before, you didn’t get many results. What’s surprising, though, is that we did actually end up selling a bunch of that stuff, it just goes so fast that the average customer doesn’t see the results because it flies off the shelf.” Now, ThredUp customers will have a specific destination to meet their luxury desires — and with 100% commission rates through Labor Day, the tech company is attempting to be a leader in the resale market.
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Though ThredUp is hardly introducing a new model — eBay has been around since 1995 — the draw for luxury consignment sites like The RealReal, Vestiaire Collective and Re-See is greater than ever. “It’s the uniqueness of the one-of-a-kind pieces that make you want them even more, everyone has access to ready-to-wear, but vintage feels more special,” says Fanny Moizant, co-founder of Vestiaire Collective. Re-See’s Sofia Bernardin agrees: “We always go back to this theme of individuality. In this world where everything has become so accessible, there is something really covetable about having something that not everybody can have.” Reinhart, for his part, likens vintage becoming hotter than present day fashion to the Airbnb effect. “Five to seven years ago it wasn’t cool to stay in an Airbnb, it was just something you did,” he says. “Now everybody does it because it’s just a more interesting way to travel. I think you can make the same case around vintage and designer: it’s just a more interesting way to consume.”
But what are people really after? Here's four designers and trends to keep your eye on now.
Photo: Vanni Bassetti/Getty Images.
Gucci, Gucci, Gucci
While the usual suspects — Chanel, Hermes, Cartier, and Rolex — are obvious, according to TheRealReal’s mid-year report that tracks spending habits amongst its customers in the first half of 2017, Gucci (no surprise) has become its fourth best-selling brand on the site. “We’re seeing the same thing happen with Gucci as we did with Céline a few years ago,” says Chief Merchant Rati Sahi. “I remember looking at Céline and the resale market wasn’t good at all, we priced it pretty low. Then, when Phoebe Philo took over, the whole collection had this new energy behind it, and we were pricing things 30, 40, 50% higher than before. Now, the market will go up 30% for Gucci Dionysus bags, for example, and so we’ll start pricing it at 30% higher because searches have increased.” Gucci loafers, too, have seen an increased fervour as millennials are investing more in comfortable style — athleisure, you see is still trending. This has trickled down to more of an interest in flats in general, from Chanel to Manolo Blahnik, says Sahi. Moizant shares Sahi’s Gucci sentiment saying, “Compared to last year we have seen a 35% increase in searches for the Gucci logo belt, the re-sale value of Gucci has increased by 120% since 2014, confirming its popularity.”
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Photo: Vanni Bassetti/Getty Images.
The Minimalism Of The '90s
‘90s minimalism is also having a moment. “We’ve been getting a lot of interest in original Calvin Klein because of Raf’s [Simons] move to Calvin,” says Re-See Co-Founder Sabrina Marshall (think easy knit skirts and open back dresses). Maison Martin Margiela has also seen an uptick, thanks to wunderkind Demna Gvasalia’s work at Balenciaga and Vetements explains Marie Blanchet, Vestiaire Collective’s Head of Vintage. “He’s taking huge inspiration from Margiela in such an obvious way and that suddenly has made the clothes from Margiela to be so sought after,” she says. Pieces to buy asap are any Marigela boots, including his iconic Tabi styles and catwalk leggings.
Photo: Melodie Jeng/Getty Images.
Demna Gvasalia's New Reign
On that note, Gvasalia’s Balenciaga and Vetements current designs have become instant classics for Vestaire, and will surely increase in resale value in the coming years. “If you have anything from the first collections of Demna, I would keep hold of these for another couple of seasons before selling as they will become iconic pieces,” Moizant advises. Expect his bomber jackets and large shopper bags to fly off the shelves, adds Marshall.
Photo: Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images.
Audacious '80s Style
Anthony Vacarello’s first collections at Yves Saint Laurent is spurring a similar enthusiasm, and also sparked an interest ‘80s Azzedine Alaïa. “The leather pieces, the wide shoulders, the tiny mini, mini, mini skirts that are almost invisible length, is what Alaia used to do in the middle of the ‘80s and people want it now all over again,” says Blanchet.
As for being ahead of your fellow fashion-hunting friends, Bernardin has her money on Ventian designer Roberta di Camerino, known for exquisite bags that Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor once sported. And Blanchet is betting on iconic Helmut Lang to ride that ‘90s wave and outrageous designer Claude Montana to capture a bit of the ‘80s zeal. As for the latter, Blanchet says, “You have Mr. Vacarello to thank that Claude is coming back in a big way. You just don’t know it yet.”
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