Vestiaire Collective at Vogue Experience Paris

French online luxury resale store Vestiaire Collective hosted three masterclasses at the inaugural Vogue Experience day in Paris last Saturday. Each masterclass tackled a different subject: wardrobe detoxes, 90s and vintage fashion and how to authenticate a Birkin.

Wardrobe detox

Taking tips from Vestiaire Collective co-founder Fanny Moison, the site’s editor-in-chief Elvira Masson talked attendees through the best way to approach a wardrobe detox.

Women wear about 40% of their wardrobe, Masson said, which means that more than half of our clothes are not being worn. So instead of leaving them to languish, why not put them back into circulation and give them a second life? Try the coat hanger trick-at the beginning of each season, put all your clothes hangers facing the same way, and each time you wear something turn the hanger round. At the end of the season, let go of everything you don’t wear.

A great tip to keep the size of your wardrobe under control is the ‘one in one out’ policy: every time you buy something, you must sell (or donate) something you already own.

So what gems might you have in your wardrobe that you could resell on Vestiaire Collective? Some 75-80% of the site’s sales are done with handbags-the likes of Chanel, Hermès, Vuitton and Gucci.

The site, which is present in 50 countries (and has more than 6 million members), sees different demand depending on the market. Italy, for example, is more a nation of sellers than buyers, and the American market goes mad for Goyard totes. While you need to think seasonally when selling successfully on Vestiaire Collective, Masson said, remember that summer in Europe means winter in Australia, and that you can very well sell swimwear in France in winter as many jet off for a sun holiday around this time. In terms of trends, it’s all about the colour red and bucket bags this season, she said.

How to authenticate an Hermès Birkin

Authentication is a priority at Vestiaire Collective, and the luxury resale site has signed a charter in France against counterfeiting alongside luxury brands.

In the second masterclass of the day, Vestiaire Collective head of authentication Victoire Boyer Chammard talked about the process of authenticating luxury handbags.

With digital-savvy, designer label enthusiasts flocking to Instagram to show off their latest purchases, the platform has become a source of inspiration for counterfeiters, she highlighted.

Hence the importance of ensuring that its customers are getting the genuine article. Vestiaire Collective first tries to verify authenticity using the photos submitted by the seller, and then via quality control of the item once it’s sold.

Each brand has its own codes, Boyer Chammard said, pointing out the peculiarity of Chanel typography and the particular smell of Hermès leather. Vestiaire Collective’s rigorous authentication process includes looking at the model, the quality of the material, the construction, the finish and the hardware, as well as the the receipt, dustbag and the packaging.

A great touch at the end of the masterclass was the selection of bags passed around for the audience to authenticate.

90s/Vintage fashion

What is vintage? Either this question from masterclass leader Marie Blanchet, head of the vintage category at Vestiaire Collective, had the audience stumped, or people were too shy to answer.

The term vintage began to be used in the 80s, she explained, to designate pieces that are already part of history, that are unique, rare and quality items, which are the antithesis of fast fashion.

Vestiaire Collective is dusting off vintage and making it cool. The site has almost 50,000 pieces, from the 60s to the mid 90s-it even loaned some pieces to the Margiela exhibition currently in Paris. And speaking of Margiela, Blanchet said that the famously discreet Belgian designer pretty much did everything that has inspired fashion today. Think the legging shoes that never made it into production from Margiela’s catwalk in 2004-since Balenciaga launched a version last year, these can now be seen everywhere, including at Zara.

As we know, said Blanchet, the 90s are having a moment. Marc Jacobs’ last show was an hommage to the decade, and it’s all about logomania right now.

Blanchet also pointed out the return of the Fendi baguette and the Dior Saddle bag-18 months ago there was no demand for the latter, but now it’s a big success. And the Yves Saint Laurent tasseled clutch bag originally created as a gift with purchase for the Opium fragrance has had its own moment since the bag was reissued.

Ready, steady shop

Make sure you put April 17 in your diary-this is when Vestiaire Collective is launching a vintage digital pop-up in collaboration with Byronesque, the editorial-led e-commerce company dedicated to designer vintage fashion. Some 200 pieces will be on sale, including a Jean-Paul Gaultier belted trench and a Helmut Lang Bowie tank.

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Secondhand bargains

It’s been a while since I shared some of my bargains, so here’s a look at some of my recent finds: mohair and wool blanket (for the fabulous Parisian apartment I’ll probably never be able to afford), Guess Starlight Skinny jeans (the first time I’ve bought Guess jeans and I love them) and Moroccanoil hair oil (because this has rave reviews so must be worth the hype). All found at vide greniers, Paris’ version of carboot sales.

Ding Fring fashion show

Parisian secondhand shop Ding Fring played host to a stylish secondhand fashion show last Thursday. Models sporting bright colors and bold prints were sent down the ‘catwalk’, and the ‘see now, buy it now’ philosophy meant you could purchase the up-cycled outfits straight after the show.

The event was organized by Le Relais Val de Seine (which sorts, recycles and resells donated clothing, runs the Ding Fring shops and is part of solidarity movement Emmaus France) in partnership with designer Anaïs DW.

The fashion show was followed by champagne and snacks, and of course some shopping.

I bought an H&M dress for €9 and a top from L’Edito Paris (the private label line of department store Printemps), which is rather Gucci-inspired and was pricier at €18, but it’s all for a good cause, right? Also spotted was a suede fringed IKKS jacket, a pair of black patent Chie Mihara heels and a brand new with tags Paul & Joe shirt.

Ding Fring, 340 rue des Pyrenées, 75020

Marupe: Secondhand shopping 2.0

‘For everyone who likes fashion, good deals and personalized advice,’ is the ethos behind recently launched Marupe, an app-based consignment store.

Part of a new wave of secondhand clothing concepts targeting style savvy millennials, Marupe was founded by Marion Russo-Pelosi (Marupe is an abbreviation of her name).

Russo-Pelosi’s CV is impressive–she studied fashion design and then worked for Parisian couture houses, spent time as a stylist for television and then moved to ready-to-wear brand Maje.

Each piece for sale on Marupe is styled and shot on a model, such as a Léon & Harper jumper (€60), a Maje denim dress (€75) or a Sandro top (€40). Everything is like new, having been just worn once or twice, or even not at all. Glad to see I’m not the only one to have bought something on impulse only to never take it out of the bag…

With Marupe, however, you’re much less likely to make a duff purchase, as you simply select your body shape on the app (as well as your clothing size and shoe size) and then look for the corresponding symbol on the items that will suit you. There’s a 14-day return policy in case something doesn’t fit.

And if you like what’s on offer but really wish you could try before you buy, you’re in luck-Marupe will be at the Les Armoires de Paris vide dressing this Saturday 17 March at 16 rue des Minimes, 75003, 11am to 7pm.

Sustainable Style reception at the British Ambassador’s residence in Paris

Change is coming, but it is coming slowly, was how FashionNetwork.com’s global editor-in-chief Godfrey Deeny summed up the panel talk at last night’s Sustainable Style Reception at the British Ambassador’s residence in Paris.

Moderated by Deeny, the panel featured four speakers: Claire Bergkamp, head of sustainability and ethical trade at Stella McCartney; Frances Corner, head of the London College of Fashion; Marie-Claire Daveau, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs at luxury group Kering (of which Stella McCartney is part); and Tamsin Lejeune, founder of global industry body Ethical Fashion Forum.

The discussion covered such topics as sustainability in production and raw materials, the circular economy, gender parity, how to reconcile sustainability with creativity and whether fast fashion is the enemy of sustainability.

Key points to come out of the discussion included:

• Only 1% of textiles globally are recycled back into textiles

• Brands need to have responsibility for their supply chains and for the people making their clothes

• There are 57 million garment workers, 80% of which are women

• Sustainability and fashion equals empowerment, not just for the women wearing the clothes, but for the women in the supply chain

• There needs to be more investment in women-led businesses

• Taking a swipe at fast fashion (although it wasn’t all negative) – the way we consume results from the way the industry has provided us with products

• The London College of Fashion believes that with 5,500 students, it can change the fashion industry from the inside out.

• All indicators suggest millennials are the age group with the highest awareness of sustainability.

And also:

• Innovation is key to sustainability, and for this Kering looks to start-ups— its innovation accelerator collaboration with Plug and Play and Fashion for Good aims to fast-track innovation within the luxury and apparel industries.

• Part of the qualitative bonus of Kering CEOs is linked to sustainability targets, and all top management have incentives linked to sustainability.

• Stella McCartney is working with US start-up Bolt Threads, which has developed a way of making silk without silkworms—it grows synthetic spider silk from yeast.

• Stella McCartney also has a partnership with US consignment site TheRealReal to promote the idea of the product living longer, by encouraging people to sell through this platform.

• Deeny was wearing a pair of Stella McCartney socks made from recycled polyester.

Sustainability is complex, the participants agreed, and there is still much to be done. But to move forward, collaboration is key.

To this end, Kering and the London College of Fashion have launched the world’s first open-access digital course in sustainable luxury fashion, beginning April 9. To register, click here

Les Agaçantes braderie chic in Paris this weekend

This weekend is the hotly anticipated Les Agaçantes Braderie Chic secondhand clothing sale in Paris. It’s the first one of the year, and promises to be a great one.

With three floors of fashionistas clearing space in their wardrobes for new season purchases, you’re bound to find some brilliant cast offs.

It’s the first time the event has combined €5 and €10 stands with €20 ones, so there will likely be a good mix of labels.

Previously at this secondhand sale I’ve snapped up preloved (but barely worn) Uniqlo cashmere, a Bel Air blazer and a brand new with tags IKKS scarf. They’ve become firm favorites so I’m excited to see what bargains are to be had this time around.

Entry is €2 with a free coffee, from 11am until 7pm, Saturday and Sunday.

At La Cartonnerie, 10 rue Deguerry, 75011

Love & Dress – modern vintage

love&dress.JPGRecently opened secondhand shop Love & Dress in Paris’ 10th arrondissement is a great mix of modern secondhand pieces and unapologetic vintage.

It’s quite small, but packed with some real gems. My favourites were the Jil Sander top at €45 and the brand new Acne skinny jeans for €60. Apparently I was the second person that day to try and unsuccessfully shoehorn myself into a 25-inch waist….

Also of note is the shoe selection – from red patent Repetto flats to a leopard print creeper-style pair, everything is in excellent condition, on-trend and reasonably priced.

You’ll get a great welcome from the staff here, and the shop regularly plays host to events. In February, for example, it welcomed French association Astérya, for an evening around the topic of how to dress in an eco-responsible way.

Love & Dress, 45 rue d’hauteville, 75010