This year, Vestiaire Collective , the largest second-hand fashion platform, celebrates its 10 years. With a global community of more than 9 million members including Cara Delevingne, Emma Watson, Kim Kardashian and Olivia Palermo, the French giant of second-hand luxury has established itself on the market as the benchmark. The reasons for such success? According to a study conducted by Vestiaire Collective on the motivations of their members to invest in the second-hand market, several criteria stand out: the satisfaction of selling and making room in your wardrobe in the Marie Kondo way, but also investments in iconic pieces with the aim to resell them more expensive or even the variety of clothes available for purchase ... The second hand market continues to attract more followers responding the two aspects that have become central to fashionistas: first, finding unique or limited edition pieces that have disappeared from stores. Second, the fact of consuming fashion in a sustainable way. As Sophie Hersan, co-founder at Vestiaire Collective recalls: "The average lifespan of a part is estimated at only 3.3 years. Selling or buying second-hand makes it possible to reduce the quantity of natural resources used, but also preserve them and reduce the harmful effects of the fashion industry on the environment."
Ultimate luxury? The singularity
If these two criteria are distinguished, it is because they echo the concept of ultimate luxury: having a unique piece, impossible to find other than going through vintage, at a time when the silhouettes are always alike more on Instagram. All this while respecting the environment, when you know that fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world.
For François Bresmal, specializing in fashion photography, and major consumer of second-hand fashion, "vintage is a luxury on several levels. I consider that saving the planet is a luxury. It is also scarcity, finding a piece which is no longer produced, or a limited edition, or which belonged to someone we admire. And finally, buying real vintage, not necessarily designer pieces, is buying clothes that were made at a time when fast fashion was not the norm and the quality of textiles and confection was much higher! Most of the pieces I bought are decades old, the clothes are always impeccable, the materials and colors hold up. If you want clothes of this quality today, you have to turn to luxury and therefore to a big budget. I like the idea of having really qualitative clothes for a price affordable, see e derisory." A view joined by Clara Ruby, digital and creative designer, 70% fashion purchases come from second-hand market, and Loud Milla, fashion stylist and artistic director. "Vintage has a history, a past, I see it as a sort of setting, a heritage, that's what makes vintage pieces so emblematic, "says Clara. "It's the notion of rarity that makes vintage a luxury," adds Loudmilla. "It's the idea of saying that there is only a small quantity of the item that we have. And even if the piece exists in 50 or 100 copies, it remains unique because it has a history, that it has already been worn and therefore it has aged in a particular way depending on the previous owner (s)."
The most coveted vintage pieces?
"The iconic Kelly Vintage Box at Hermès and the Saddle Dior in jeans," says Sophie Hersan. Or, designer pieces that could be found on Vestiaire Collective ten years ago and which are still as much in demand today. But for Loud Milla and François Bresmal it is the Chanel creations that stand out. While the first would like to find "a unique Chanel handbag ", the second says: "I would love to find a beautiful vintage Chanel brooch. Or glasses, always Chanel." For Clara Ruby , these are the Céline creations by Phoebe Philo, which have not been on the market since the arrival of Hedi Slimane at the head of the house, which attracted his full attention. "My dream would be to have Madame de Céline boots in duck green in my closet. I saw that someone had sold them for 150 € on Vestiaire Collective, the one who bought them is a real lucky guy! "
Their addresses vintage fetishes in Brussels? Think Twice, Les Petits Riens, Melting Pot Kilo, Episode, Docks Caviar and Vintage500 for luxury items. The ultimate address? Rose Tendre, a boutique opened seven years ago at Sablon by Dany Stoclet passionate about fashion and creation. We find pieces from the greatest creators there, from Yves Saint Laurent to Chanel via Hermès, Givenchy, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton or Delvaux. There is also a large selection of jewelry from the same creators, but also from the greatest American designers of the 40s, 50s and 60s.
And online? Vestiaire Collective remains the first choice. As Sophie Hersan points out, "vintage represents 20% of overall sales, the share of vintage sales among Belgian customers is 10% and their purchases are mainly concentrated on bags." For Clara Ruby and Loud Milla, it is the platform's expertise which explains why they love to use it. "I find that the site is very well presented. This platform is very secure and serious. I have already happened to be in the situation where my package was lost. The VC team was very reactive, I had a direct exchange by email with an employee, who finally managed to find my package ", explains the first, while Loud Milla adds: "I go there for unique pieces. Because I know that expertise is made for each flagship or emblematic piece."
The tip of her co-founder to find the rare pearl? "Follow the We Love selections that highlight the most desirable products of the moment. You have to be constantly connected and properly target your alerts because the pieces are unique and sell quickly. Soon, we will offer members of the community to connect them and animate their profile! "
These elements put in place by Vestiaire Collective which provide the vintage market with an undisputed luxury status that allows it to always be better.