Looking for vintage designer handbags from Chanel, Dior, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton? Visit Vestiaire Collective, The RealReal, etc
Among all the recent talk about sustainability is a growing truth that fashion — particularly luxury designer handbags — shouldn't be disposable. It should, by virtue of its quality of design and craftsmanship, stand the test of time and be near timeless. This growing sentiment should explain the massively growing resale market, which is currently sized at around USD$24bn. The tricky bit is of course scouring your options and finding the best buys. We've rounded up some of the best stores around the world to shop at when searching for the elusive, discontinued Chanel and Hermès models from the '90s that deserve their time in the light again.
It's fairly obvious, but no round-up of vintage shopping can reasonably exclude Vestiaire Collective — arguably the pioneer of bringing consignment and vintage to the Internet. Its marketplace is one of the largest in the world, and you will find a massive host of rare, vintage bags that surprise you. The site also offers a round-up of 'Best in Asia' listings, so you can be sure those ship to you quicker and cheaper than, say, buying a vintage Alaïa from Germany. Pro tip: browse the site by its highest-ranked sellers instead of through tedious searches. Majority of these accounts are run by vintage dealers with decades of experience sourcing rare fashion finds, and have expert curatorial eyes and tastes.
Another stalwart of the online consignment scene is The RealReal, founded by Julie Wainwright in 2011 out of her home. The goal was to make luxury resale easy and hassle-free, and today this site is one of the most painless to shop from. Their selection of vintage is tightly edited, so you need only browse through styles that — although you won't find in a boutique today — make complete sense for right now. Best of all, the sharply trimmed selections mean you can browse and shop without being inundated.
Tokyo is easily one of the world's best spots for vintage shopping. We're not sure why exactly, but the country went through a shopping spree of the best and rarest European designers in the '80s and '90s and are now offloading their treasures. Vintage Qoo is one such store that's widely loved, and its Omotesando outpost is a must visit if you are in Tokyo. Otherwise, you can shop from the comfort from home too, and browse their website. The listings use far more personable photos than most e-tailers, and you can also follow their Instagram for a cheery, editorialised update of what's in stock.
Byronesque is the upstart of the vintage world, and it's perfect for the super fashion-conscious shopper. They essentially operate less as a consignment marketplace, and more as a highly-selective network of vintage collectors and dealers who work with rich knowledge of fashion history. You can thus rest assured that the pieces Byronesque sources are significant fashion-with-a-capital-F pieces, and that you are not simply buying a bag that just happens to be old. They're also in the habit of releasing very limited collections of single designers painstakingly sourced from collectors and archival reissues of vintage styles, so keep your eyes peeled.