Investing in fashion: could your handbags make money?

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Waiting lists of up to six years have created an insatiable demand for the elusive Hermès Birkin handbag – inflating their prices on the second hand market at a faster rate than gold.  While the majority of us can only dream of being able to afford Hermès, there is a strong case for investing in designer fashion.

Camille Oldham, owner of pre-owned designer boutique Miss Persnickety, has noticed a growing demand for designer goods in the North East: “In the three years since I’ve opened the demand for luxury handbags has grown each year. More people than ever are investing in luxury fashion and with the economic downturn, are buying items they know they can sell on if need be.”

It’s important to keep in mind that not all designer handbags are capable of making a profit or retaining their value, so what should you keep in mind when buying to invest?

Well, the most important factor of an investment worthy bag is its ability to stand the test of time – in order for it to command a high price in years to come it must still be recognisable, desirable and invariably attractive.

Camille agrees adding that recognisable branding is key when buying to invest. When two Paul Smith handbags were brought to her boutique, the one featuring the brand’s signature swirl achieved a higher price than the plain, thanks to its distinguishable aesthetic.

She said: “I would recommend buying handbags that really scream out their brand. If you’re going with Louis Vuitton for example, choose the house Monogram or Damier check as they’re the most recognisable and therefore desirable.”

Thankfully Hermès isn’t the only brand commanding high resale prices at second hand. Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Celine have all seen some of their most popular bags sell on the second hand market at a higher price than they originally retailed for.

As well as the Miss Persnickety boutique in Whitley Bay, the North East has recently welcomed both the Handbag Clinic and Lux Trader – companies who buy and sell designer accessories to meet the area’s growing demand for luxury handbags.

However, can we ever really justify spending over a thousand pounds on a handbag?

The answer of course depends on who you ask. The possibility of your dream handbag retaining its substantial price tag may just make parting with your cash that little bit easier:

If you are considering an investment piece here are the bags we think will make the jump to cult status in years to come:

  • Chanel – Boy: Smart and structured the modern take on the classic 2.55 is already an icon in its own right. For a more enduring style go for the beautiful caviar leather and ruthenium hardware versions.
  • Louis Vuitton – Neverfull: Despite only making its debut in 2007 the Neverfull is already one of the brand’s best sellers. Thanks to its brilliant design which merges functionality and style its sure to follow in the steps of Speedy to reach icon status.
  • Saint Lauren – Sac de Jour: Comparable in structure to the Birkin and equally as elegant, Saint Laurent’s latest offering is loved by celebrities and fashionable women alike.


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