How to make money from your wardrobe: what to sell now and later

EVEN CASUAL fashion watchers know that rare Hermès Birkin bags and sneakers such as the special-edition Air Force 1 fetch big bucks on the resale market and at auction. But can investing in clothes also be lucrative? Matthew Eberhart, vice president of marketing at resale platform Grailed, says yes, as long as “you don’t get ketchup stains or tears on your clothes.” While you’ll occasionally see Birkin-level returns on items like a vintage Raf Simons bomber jacket, Eberhart said most of his customers view resale as “a conduit to an endless closet” and sell past purchases that they have literally or stylistically. exceeded in order to finance a refreshed wardrobe.

Being a smart marketer means knowing when to sell and when not to. Sasha Skoda, responsible for women on the consignment platform RealReal,

noted that evening dresses are selling well. “People want to come back out there and make big statements and have a lot of fun,” she said. Similarly, Sofia Bernardin, founder of vintage and second-hand luxury platform Re-See, observed a demand for figure-hugging Tom Ford and John Galliano dresses from the 2000s. Also worth selling now? Vivienne Westwood corsets, vintage Jean Paul Gaultier and just about anything that embodies the Y2K or “Euphoria” style.

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In terms of predicting what might sell, the experts we interviewed pointed to the considerable influence of celebrities (Kim Kardashian is a fan of JPG, for example), but Mr. Eberhart generally adheres to “the approach of the time capsule”. He believes that fashion runs on cycles of about 20 years (hence the flirtatious style revival), “so if you really think about it from an investment perspective, [consider] what was cool 15 years ago and try to get ahead.

Then there are those coins that you should hold onto until they reach their peak resale price. Among them: clothes from Khaite and the Row, pieces that Ms. Skoda and Mr. Eberhart say could become new classics; everything that Phoebe Philo, who should launch her own brand in the near future, has designed during her tenure at Céline; and clothes and accessories that the late Virgil Abloh designed for Louis Vuitton or his own Off-White brand.

When shopping for resale, avoid anything too trendy, Bernardin said. For her part, Gill Linton, co-founder of the contemporary-vintage platform Byronesque, advises those who wish to invest to think about the meaning of what they buy. “It’s not about the hype,” she said. “The cultural context is really important. Did [the collection] make sense? Is it related to what was happening in the culture at the time? Has it changed the way people dress? Has it influenced other creators? With all of that in mind, she urges you to keep any pieces Demna, Balenciaga’s unnamed creative director, has designed for Vetements or his current label. “We’re all living in the world of Demna right now,” she said, suggesting that her visceral streetwear-couture mashups have influenced the global aesthetic. Here are four coins you should sell now, and four that could be worth (much) more down the line.

hold them

Khaite

This New York brand boasts understated luxury and insider appeal, leading RealReal’s Ms. Skoda to believe it will have high resale potential in the future. Collect special items like this dress and the brand’s cashmere bra that went viral in 2019.

Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton Men

“Virgil was a magician… and he won’t produce anything more,” Grailed’s Mr. Eberhart said of the designer who died earlier this year. He predicts that anything signed Abloh, like this fall 2020 Vuitton jacket, will only go up in value. “He will be an icon for a very long time, so if you have him, keep him…but if you need the money, you could definitely make some money now.”

Phoebe Philo for Celine

Fanny Moizant, co-founder of the resale platform Vestiaire Collective, advocates clinging to “everything that is old Céline… the prices are getting crazier and crazier the [longer] we’re waiting.” His site has a pair of Spring 2018 boots similar to those listed for around $1,700. Mr. Eberhart added that “you can definitely get a pretty penny out of them now, but I think in 30 years” could be worth even more.

Predict

Mayank Hajela, Head of Menswear at Real Real, and Ms. Skoda predict that New York-based brand Bode will be highly coveted in the years to come thanks to its strong, idiosyncratic aesthetic (embodied by this jacket) and growing popularity. Grailed’s Mr. Eberhart agrees, noting that he foresees Bode being “magical” over time.

Sell, Sell, Sell!

Raf Simons

Raf Simon’s 2001 Riot Riot Bomber (pictured) is highly collectible, said Ms Linton of Byronesque. Now co-creator of Prada, Mr. Simons launched his eponymous line in 1995, and his late-era pieces have proven particularly popular over the past 7 or 8 years, Mr. Eberhart said, people paying “thousands, maybe tens of thousands” of dollars for them. He’s impressed with the number of years this Raf Simons vintage has sold well, but he said it’s hard to say how many time yet this push would last.

Chrome Hearts

“Chrome Hearts always goes fast,” Ms Moizant said, adding that her teenage daughter is a fan. A favorite of celebrities ranging from Cher and Karl Lagerfeld to Rihanna since its launch in 1988, this Los Angeles brand was particularly hot in the 2000s and is therefore (unsurprisingly) in high demand. These jeans feature the brand’s highly recognizable cross logo. Similar pairs are listed on Vestiaire for over $5,500.

Vintage Jean-Paul Gaultier

Recently worn by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Bella Hadid, Gaultier from the 90s and early 2000s is in demand. “You see it on the hit TV shows [like ‘Euphoria’] right now, Gen Z, TikTok, it’s everywhere,” Ms. Skoda said. “If you have Gaultier pieces that you don’t wear, their resale value peaks,” so sell them now.

Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga

When Nicolas Ghesquière was named head of Balenciaga in the late 1990s, he ushered in a “seismic shift in the way women dressed,” said Sofia Bernardin of ReSee. Her lasting influence, she says, continues to drive the popularity of her early cargo pants and bomber jackets, which can sell for twice their original price.

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