There are standard luxury wardrobes – silks, leathers, a classic handbag or two – and then there are wardrobes that house collections worth thousands, if not millions. Tatiana Wolter-Ferguson, co-founder of designer resale site Hardly Ever Worn It (HEWI), recently discovered a collection worth six figures: it belonged to one of the company’s VIPs, a group limited number of clients who use HEWI to detoxify, organize and monetize their wardrobes.
The luxury second-hand market is growing by 12% per year, compared to 3% for the primary luxury market, according to Luxe Digital, and with it a number of personal wardrobe clearing services are emerging. With an average sign-up price of £ 400, VIP Members are an integral part of HEWI’s business model. The service is on-demand only, with registered members having access to home visits, exclusive listings and on-demand advice. “If they’re shopping at Harrods, they can send a photo to the VIP team saying, ‘How much can I get for this in six months?’ Explains Wolter-Ferguson. The answer could be up to 80 percent – more if you’re talking about handbags. “It’s about seeing your wardrobe as a living asset,” adds Rachel Reavley, director of the board of directors of HEWI, who attributes the resale market to the rise of a more strategic buyer. “They realize the value of buying something that is beautifully designed rather than disposable,” she says.
At Re-See, based in Paris, 85% of transactions are carried out by loyal customers; the hope is that an annual cleaning could amount to a used Hermès Kelly. The company offers a “turnkey approach to resale”, with online and in-person closet cleaning services available internationally. “We assess, stock and list all the pieces, filming everything in-house and organizing our selection with a distinct fashion perspective,” co-founder Sofia Bernardin said previously. Vogueinternational fashion coordinator. Top sales include a $ 21,700 Balenciaga dress and a $ 19,800 Hermès Flag Birkin.
For customers of EKC Luxury accessory specialists, part of the pleasure of reselling comes from the storage room. Shoppers around the world can book a wardrobe detox afternoon (from £ 250) with luxury specialist Charlotte Rogers, accompanied by a delivery of champagne and flowers. Rogers puts forward the well-groomed styles of brands such as Chanel and Hermès as the “key to achieving the highest resale prices”. Likewise at Cudoni, collections are done in person with an optional telephone consultation beforehand to browse popular styles. A recent customer had discovered a collection of Chanel 80s costumes in her friend’s wardrobe. “She had no idea how valuable they all were,” says a member of the team.
Those who aren’t quite ready to part with their most valuable coins – or are just looking to rack up more value – might consider leasing them through By Rotation. The app’s free wardrobe management service can advise you on what pieces will be successful, support the SEO process, and send the client a monthly income report. Major lenders make over £ 2,500 per month, and many are reimbursing the retail cost of their items.
Essentially, resale helps give cabinets a second life. “If you missed out on buying something the first time around, these are great treasures to explore,” says Reavley. But don’t be fooled into thinking you can wait. “We say, ‘Buy now or cry later’. “