Cash in your closet: sell up with spring on the horizon
With spring around the corner, now is the time to survey your rails and consider if you have got trapped equity just hanging there unworn
The jury is out on just how long you should keep things in your wardrobe. Given the cyclical nature of fashion, trends come around quite quickly but there are those shoppers who don't want to wait and crave constant newness, which is why they recycle and restock their wardrobes regularly.
The emergence of independent shops selling on pre-loved, designer pieces is a sign of the times - maybe we have learned something from the recession after all. If you buy well and buy strategically, fashion purchases can hold their value - and can even increase.
"When it comes to big designer labels, people love anything by Chanel, especially their bags, but it doesn't follow through for other brands," says Aisling Wallace of Platform in Dublin 6.
"For example, a Mulberry bag will command a very high price, but the same is not true of re-sale prices for clothes by that brand I've found."
Aisling's store, which is open Tuesday through to Saturday, is a stylish treasure trove where she sells a carefully edited selection of pre-loved designer clothes at high street prices.
"I love to see labels like Chanel, Dior, YSL, Prada, Gucci, Lanvin, Chloe, Marni, Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu and Prada arriving into the store and I have a real soft spot for the more avant garde brands such as Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto and Irish designer John Rocha," says the mother-of-three. "We accept seasonal, high-end designer clothes and accessories in pristine condition which are not more than two to three years old."
In our picture (left) Aisling wears a green Tibi silk dress (€140) and onyx drop sterling silver and gold plated earrings (€49) designed by herself and available from Platform and aislingwallace.com.
So what represents a good investment if you want to sell on again down the road?
"Designer dresses with sleeves, in colours other than black are our most requested item," says Aisling. "Our bestsellers are coats, dresses and jackets including workwear by labels like DVF, D&G, Sportmax and Prada. Mid-range designer labels such as Maje, Isabel Marant, Elie Tahiri, Theory, Zadig & Voltaire, Acne and are all in demand and tend to move quickly.
"Recent designer bags in good condition are very covetable as are scarves and accessories by labels such as Hermès. We have demand for statement pieces by John Rocha, Dries Van Noten and Yoji Yamamoto and bags by Prada, Mulberry and Louis Vuitton."
Sharing the sale price 50/50 with her clients, Aisling says: "We've waiting lists for certain bags like Mulberry, Chanel, Balenciaga and Hermès, so get in touch if you've a great bag languishing in your wardrobe. It's always best to consign pieces early in the season to give your items the best chance of selling. If you are buying with a view to re-sale, it goes without saying that taking good care of items is essential. Condition is everything when it comes to re-sale prices.
"Be sure to hold onto receipts. At Platform we only sell genuine designer pieces and it makes our job much easier if there is proof of authenticity, more recent the piece the better. Try to be objective with your clothes. People tend to hang onto items far too long because they looked great once or because they paid a lot for them. If it was a mistake, let it go," is her wise advice.
INFO: Platform, 55 Rathgar Avenue, Dublin 6. Phone (01) 406 7028 or email email@example.com
"Release trapped equity in your wardrobe." My ears prick up when I hear former corporate pilot Kelley Burke, from Loughrea, Co. Galway, discuss how women wear only 30pc of the clothes in their wardrobes and how 70pc represents not just a waste of space but potentially lucrative trapped equity.
"If you haven't worn it for 18-24 months, then you are never going to wear it," says Kelley who launched StyleJump.com, Ireland's first pre-owned online designer emporium three months ago. It trades on the basis of a sale price split of 52pc consignor /48pc for the business.
Kelley has a studio which is open to the public three days a week, Thursday-Saturday, located beside the coastal entrance to the People's Park in Dun Laoghaire. She doesn't accept high street items and, the day I visited the studio, there were lots of chic designer pieces including dresses by Sonya Rykiel, Matthew Williamson and Christian Dior, a studded wine leather Isabel Marant jacket and some serious designer handbags and Tiffany jewellery.
"I've found lots of great bargains in pre-loved stores over the years. My best was a Georges Rech jacket which I found for €250, down from €900, in a shop off the Champs-Élysées 12 years ago," says Kelley, who goes racing a lot with her sister Chanelle - the wife of champion jockey A.P. McCoy.
"My idea for StyleJump is all about providing a solution to women who want to sell on their garments, hassle-free and it makes shopping that little bit less guilty," says Kelley who firmly believes that a woman's wardrobe "is a secret goldmine" and "often costs more than her car."
Luxury goods are now objects of desire, regardless of social status," she says. Pre-owned trading has been common in the world of corporate jets, luxury yacht, cars and homes for years but only now is smart fashion trading of pre-owned luxury and designer clothes beginning to take hold.
"My sellers are Irish-based and the majority of them have never sold anything before, but once they start releasing their wardrobe equity, there is no stopping them," says Kelley.
"Consumption patterns have shifted and the sharing economy has a piece of our week - for example, rent a room on Airbnb, rent a taxi on Uber or sell your dress on StyleJump.com.
"I like to hear women who purchase a dress, saying: 'I can sell this on StyleJump.' This is smart fashion, spreading some joy amongst fashion connoisseurs globally, as well as creating room and capital to reinvest in a new luxury clothing portfolio and earning a monthly revenue stream.
"It's collaborative consumption, sharing resources. I buy to invest and it's only an investment piece if I sell it on. I probably shop for new garments twice a year, in the months of January and July. I'm now at the stage where I keep all receipts, boxes and dust bags and this makes selling on easier.
"Buying a new dress is a bit easier on the wallet knowing that I can now recoup some cash hassle-free down the road.
"You buy a dress, enjoy the experience that dress gives you, enjoy the compliments received, but you don't want to be seen in the same dress twice, so you move it on and redistribute the dress so that someone else can enjoy the experience on," says Kelley, who is running a pop-up shop next weekend at the g Hotel in Galway.
INFO: Ardeen House, 11 Marine Terrace, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. Phone (086) 241 1695 or visit stylejump.com
Ella de Guzman loves to see colour coming into her shop because she knows it will sell better than beige and black.
Since opening Siopaella on Crow Street in Dublin's Temple Bar, she's added a menswear/interiors store on Temple Lane south and a designer store at Cecilia Street. It has its own website, and traffic on designer pieces is brisk. If you go into the store, they pay cash upfront for designer handbags.
With the speed of a mathematician, Ella makes the case for buying a classic, jumbo Chanel 2.55 quilted bag in lambskin leather with classic flap. It involves an initial investment of €3,500, but these shoulder bags grow in value annually and if you buy a vintage one, you are really looking at increasing your investment over time.
Ella says the most valuable, long-term investments are in the three big French names: Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermès. Clothes wise, there is a constant demand for COS and it sells on well. The store does a mean business in Louboutin shoes, and its rare Vuitton trunk, with handpainted logo, is worth over €10,000!
Many of the bags currently on sale were Celtic Tiger buys and the previous owners just want to move on their wardrobes and buy new. Young girls in starter jobs come in to finger the Vuitton monogrammed pochette, a good entry point to designer bags at €150. It takes maturity to know that buying better/buying less is wise and clearly, from the age demographic I saw going into the store, the message has struck home with twentysomethings.
There is the most adorable sign outside the shop with a message from one wise customer. She told Ella's staff: "I don't smoke, I don't drink, I buy Chanel." Whoever you are 'C Sutton', I salute you. Personally I can't wait to see what Ella brings back from her forthcoming buying trip to Morocco.
INFO: Open 12-6 daily at 8 Cecilia Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. Phone (01) 555 0119 or visit siopaella.com
Designer trail in charity shops
Focus Ireland opened the Beloved shop in Malahide last December which has proved to be a popular destination store for label fiends.
Located at 8 Townyard Lane (which runs between the Main Street and the harbour), the store opened with big name labels like Louis Vuitton and McQueen but they sold out quickly.
Still, it's worth keeping an eye on. Focus Ireland says it intends opening a series of Beloved stores around the country as an additional fundraising tool because of the increased demand for their services due to the homelessness crisis. Pictured right are some of the latest designer buys in store this weekend.