Buying Resale Designer: Where to shop online, on the street and at auction

posted on: Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Two years ago, I wrote a piece about the best designer consignment stores in London. To date, it is one of my most popular local posts. Seems I'm not the only one that loves a designer bargain. But, over the past 24 months, I have really started to cast a wider net when it comes to shopping second hand. I'm not necessarily talking vintage shopping here, as I'm not going that far back, but rather shopping with a designer focus in mind for pieces from collections I might have missed in the past decade. I do, however, have true tunnel vision when it comes to the hunt for Ralph Lauren (see images above- an outfit entirely made up of pieces sourced from designer resale establishments). It's not healthy, but it has resulted in a closet full of pieces from the designer that make me just about the happiest collector in existence. Now, as this has become a bit of a full time obsession, I wanted to share a comprehensive list for where to shop designer resale. I know it can feel overwhelming. Hopefully this will make things a little less scary. Get out there and get going! Oh, the things you'll find...


Online:
Now here's the tough thing about shopping online. You can't try things on and often times you can't return your purchases. You really do need to be a daredevil in this arena and learn to commit. That being said, I have met so many people who have actually resold items they purchased, which sadly did not fit, and made more money on their sale! There's your silver lining. And here are your golden tickets to online success...

I wish there was some master plan I could give you for using eBay. Unfortunately, it's like visiting a massive jumble sale. You do have to sift through a lot of miserable stuff before you find something worth anything. But, oh that moment when you do and it's all worth it. My advice is to know what you're looking for and set alerts. It's the only way forward. Then, maybe, if you're having a lazy Sunday you can be someone who peruses. Otherwise, set alerts and keep yourself focused in the hunt.

This is one of my favourite sites online for seeking out designer resale items. They have a pretty good reputation. You aren't going to get fakes - as they have a team that evaluate every item being sold. They want you to be 100% happy with your purchase and welcome feedback as well- always a plus. And, I find, this is the closest you are going to get to the Net-a-Porter experience when buying in the designer resale arena. It's easy to search here and they have some wicked sales from time to time. 

This seems to be the bloggers' preferred method of selling off designer goods. You will most likely find all your favourite online entities on here, and then some, selling their items that are no longer highlights of their closet. Again, there are some fabulous deals to be had here. However, beware when shopping. The seller is in charge of authenticating their own items and things aren't always what they seem. Take it from someone who has been burned! Also, note that this is an app for your phone, so slightly annoying if you aren't into shopping from the mobile just yet. 

Another one that's very similar to VC, where you can be sure that the designer items you're purchasing are in fact designer. They have some great flash sales and also offer easy search options if you're looking for a specific item. 


Local shopping on the high street:
For the full guide of where to shop in London, I've already published a London designer resale shop guide, as mentioned above. However, I know not all of you live in the big smoke, so here's what to look out for in your hometown. 

Charity Shops
My motto - never just walk past a charity shop. You never ever know what you'll find inside. My first year in London (15 years ago), I stepped into a charity shop on the King's Road and walked out with a brand new (and 100% authentic) Hermes belt for £10. I couldn't believe it. Almost felt like I was robbing the place. Don't think I've ever fully recovered. So yeah, take five minutes and do a quick walk through of any charity shop you come across. 

Designer Consignment stores
These are the physical stores designed to help your local superstars sell their beautiful designer goods for profit. They consign completely anonymously, so sadly you'll never know if that Gucci jacket was previously worn by Celine Dion, but they really do select the best of the best to put on display. This is a curated edit depending on the owner, so the more you visit, the more you'll start to see which store really reflects your aesthetic. I've said it before and I'll say it 100 times more - I found my soulmate in Designs of Hampstead in London. It's my go to and it took me a decade to discover this match made in heaven. 

At Auction:
Auction is a bit tougher. I'm just going to say that out loud. You have to keep abreast of catalogue situations, be there on the day or place a proxy bid to participate (or call in if you want to be super baller). However, after working at an auction house for just over 10 years, I can tell you that the real collectors of this world know that the auction houses are where it's at for true gems. 

Christie's is one of the goodies when it comes to jewellery, fashion and accessories in general. Sure, you will find some insane bargains here, but we're talking bargains on Birkins. Catch my drift? Although, that being said, they do have an amazing diamond resale with engagement rings. If you don't mind your ring coming with someone else's love story already attached (sort of sweet), this might be worth looking into. Also, Christie's now have a website where you can buy designer accessories outright. There is more Hermes here than you can ever hope to obtain in any one lifetime. Just saying. 

On the flip side of things, and in a space where you really can get some amazing bargains, we have Kerry Taylor. Working in association with Sotheby's (yes, Christie's rival in the auction world), Kerry Taylor is all fashion and all fabulous. If you do nothing else right now, just head over and check out an old catalogue. The next sale is in September. Consignments are closed, but the catalogue should be released soon. This should definitely be on your radar. 

Well, there you have it folks. All I can say now is happy shopping, walking and bidding. Let's hope we don't all come up against each other in the race to the finish! I will take you down if it comes between you, me and the Birkin. Just saying.