Designer handbags have long been hailed as ‘wardrobe investments’ thanks to their sartorial longevity.
Depending on what you’ve invested in, the right luxury clutch or crossbody bag can carry itself from season to season without feeling dated.
With vintage and re-sale marketplaces booming in recent years, that ‘investment’ label has taken on a far more literal meaning, with some designer bags selling for double or even triple their purchase price.
“The resale sector is forecasted to grow 11 times faster than retail clothing over the next five years,” Aria Wigneswaran, Director/General Manager APAC at Depop, tells marie claire Australia.
That comes down to everything from COVID cupboard cleanouts, to the Y2K fashion resurgence, and of course customers making more conscious and sustainable sources.
“There’s definitely an extra conversation that is had before purchasing a brand new designer bag these days, whether that be people considering its re-sale value or becoming more conscious about how a purchase affects the fashion economy,” Alex Dimou, Owner of The Turn, tells us.
A shift in attitude when it comes to shopping pre-loved items—designer or otherwise—has seen the market adopted not only by the masses but by luxury shoppers.
“In the last three years the market has exploded,” Hanushka Toni, co-founder of UK-based luxury re-sale site Sellier Knightsbridge, explains.
“We have clients buying from us who you would actually consider super high net worth, who would previously shop with Chanel and Hermès only in the primary market. The idea of second hand was just like, ‘What? Why would I buy someone else’s old stuff?’ Now, those clients shop around 25 to 30 percent pre-loved with brands like us,” she says.
Over at eBay, Head Of Luxury, Brooke Eichhorn, reveals that number is even higher, subsequently driving the price of second-hand designer bags in the same direction.
“Globally, we’re seeing 69 percent of luxury shoppers buy pre-loved handbags because of their more affordable price point as well as the ability to find rare and vintage items,” Eichhorn says.
“On eBay, the value of timeless designer handbags has increased significantly over the last few years, for example, Hermès birkin bags up 54 percent, Chanel quilted bags up 45 percent and Dior saddlebags up 84 percent.”
Like anything else, certain luxury bags go in and out of fashion, even if it’s a slower cycle than what style of jeans we’re all wearing now.
“We’re definitely seeing a huge influence from the late nineties, early noughties and Y2K trends. We’ve seen a huge uptick in searches for classic designs from those eras, including Dior saddle bags up 41 percent and Fendi baguettes up 40 percent off the back of the Sex And The City reboot,” Depop’s Aria Wigneswaran reveals.
If you’re looking to invest in a designer handbag, whether new or vintage, and you plan to re-sell the item eventually, there are a few key styles and elements to keep in mind for optimum re-sale value.
“We always recommend investing in classic styles or one-of-a-kind editions to garner the greatest return long-term,” Wigneswaran advises.
Sellier Knightsbridge’s Hanushka Toni reveals the exclusivity and quality of French fashion houses Hermès and Chanel garner the highest return on investment with some bags earning double or triple their retail value.
She also suggests shopping within two key categories: one-of-a-kind releases or timeless neutrals.
“A lot of the bags that attract the premiums are ones in really unusual colours that aren’t produced anymore,” Toni tells us.
“They tend to have amazing investment value long term, just because they’re so rare, but if you are buying in order to always be able to re-sell and you are not looking at a 20 year hold, I would say neutrals with gold hardware.”
Beyond aesthetics, one message is glaringly clear: the quality is of the utmost importance, so no matter which style you decide to buy keeping it in good nick is essential. Translation: don’t toss away those dust bags!
The Best Designer Bags To Invest In
Saddlebag in Black Grained Calfskin, $5,500 at DIOR
Baguette Chain Midi, $4,490 at FENDI
Classic Handbag, $13,850 at Chanel
Hermès 2000s Pre-Owned Kelly 35 Sellier 2way Bag, $24,027 at FARFETCH
Icare Maxi Shopping Bag, $5,900 at Saint Laurent
Valentino Garavani Rockstud Spike Calfskin Shoulder Bag, $4,240 at Valentino