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.
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.
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.