Buy less, choose well, make it last. This concept first coined by Vivienne Westwood is about investing in quality over quantity. Craftsmanship and durability naturally comes as important factors when considering quality, but when it comes to investment value, an item’s rarity and ability of style to withstand the test of time also come into play. Which are some of the best brands to invest in?
In a recent study, researchers compared the price of Birkin to gold over 35 years, the Birkin beat out gold as a better investment. One bag has broken the record as most expensive bag sold at an auction — at a Christie’s auction in HK in 2017, a Hermès Birkin in matte white Niloticus crocodile skin sold for USD$380,000.
Its cousin the Kelly, other bags and items such as scarves and cuffs, although receiving less hype, are nonetheless valuable items to invest in. Quality and limited supply makes Hermès items invest pieces — artisans making Hermès bags do everything by hand; from the stitching and cutting to folding and trimming, nothing is done by machine. Since it takes up to a day to put a single bag together– this explains why there are not so many bags produced at a time. In fifty years from the 1950s, the price for a Hermès Kelly bag has increased by over 1000% of its original price.
Hermès is undoubtedly one brand that has maintained and managed its exclusiveness throughout the years, and are often likely be passed down as an heirloom.
When the 2.55 Chanel bag first hit shelves in 1955, it went for just USD$220, and by 1990 (under another name the Chanel Medium Classic Flap Bag revamped by Karl Lagerfeld), it sold for USD$1,150. Now, in 2018, it costs USD$5,300. Overall, it increased in value by 71.92 percent between 2010 and 2015, which outperforms even housing prices and the S&P 500.
Regardless of whether you are obtaining a bag, a piece of custom jewellery or a classic tweed jacket from Chanel, their timelessness is undeniable — and their resale prices often reflect that. As its founder Coco Chanel once said: “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” It it clear that she is demonstrating that with the ever relevance of her brand.
When Hedi Slimane was appointed creative director of the brand in 2012, the resale value of Saint Laurent accessories shot up. And for those who care about resale value of fashion items, this is an interesting lesson — the value of a brand’s products also depends highly on the going ins and outs of creative directors from a fashion house.
When Slimane arrived at YSL, he injected a sort of edgy yet elegant cool into the brand, beyond the most controversial act of dropping the Yves from Yves Saint Laurent. While sales of footwear and accessories shot up, it was ready-to-wear that became the fastest growing category. And that is perhaps because Slimane managed to offer a range of new but well-tailored casual-wear — jackets, blazers, shirts, tees etc. that are timeless yet trendy.
Since Anthony Vaccarello became Creative Director, he has carved out a path of his as well. Saint Laurent isn’t just a good brand to invest in for the accessories category, its ready-to-wear performs excellently as well. It is also good to learn that to have an accurate bearing on the resale value of items, it is a indeed a good idea to keep track of the latest in fashion news!
This year saw the heartbreaking passing of legendary designer Alaïa Azzedine, but his designs and items remain ever irreverent.
According to New York Times, “Unlike most designers… who carry the title of creative director and serve more as managers than couturiers, Alaïa cuts his own clothing patterns and sews the samples himself, each stitch exactly where and how it should be. Most important, through the wizardry of perfectly placed seams and stretch knits, Alaïa’s clothes nip, tuck and hoist to maximum effect.”
Since every piece of Alaïa is crafted in detail and with a good amount of time, they come rare and pricey, but worth the money for the lucky few who own them. They would also retain their style and value through time. As top model Naomi Campbell, who has known Alaïa since she was 16 and called him “papa,” describes his designs as “almost magical. No other dress can make a woman look and feel as good as an Alaïa dress because it cinches a woman’s body perfectly.”’
Louis Vuitton bags are an ever classic. Not only do some styles retain up to 80% of original retail prices (when in excellent condition), they are also very durable and hardy. The brand tested a Neverfull bag out by filling it with 3.5KG weight and dropping it from half a metre – it still remains intact. Want something that is practical, durable, and a good investment? The LV bag would check all those boxes.
Since Alessandro Michele became creative director at Gucci, there has been an insatiable appetite for the brand’s maximalist designs, retro aesthetics and It accessories. Michele repositioned the house, presenting eclectic and vibrant pieces modeled by gender blurring models that felt exciting and fresh for the heritage brand. Now is the time to invest in Gucci, especially classic styles and accessories.
Christian Dior revolutionised fashion with the New Look in 1950s, fast forward six decades, the brand is still making waves, especially in light of women’s artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri taking over in 2016. While classics like the Lady Dior bag are always good investment pieces, new cult items like the logo ribbon slingback shoes and metal bags are also hits. Christian Dior holds a legacy that is undeniable — pieces could definitely be passed down generations to come!
Givenchy is a label that recently made the list as a brand worth investing in, and in the resale markets, their bags and accessories, especially the Antigona bag, are becoming increasingly popular and sell just as fast as any regular Chanel. This is perhaps due to their minimal, sharp yet edgy style — although perhaps not as recognisable, it’s subtle branding on its products lends themselves to more occasions and different looks, transcending the passage of time.
Céline is another brand whose resale value shot up when Phoebe Philo arrived to become creative director in 2008.
“I am not a big fan of women being sexualised through clothes”, Philo stated in an interview with Vogue’s Alexandra Schulman in 2014. Philo’s Céline was not interested in providing clothes for the male gaze, but for the female wearing them. Instead of following trends, Philo developed a wardrobe for the women who had somewhere to go and something to achieve.
Under her direction, she revitalized the brand’s former prestige and created several it bags while she was at it. The brand’s ready to wear also became known for its simple lines, practicality and no-nonsense sensibility. For fashionistas and corporate ladder climbing women everywhere, Céline became a brand worth spending their well-earned paychecks on.
Next to the Louis Vuitton, there is another brand known for their successful carryall — Goyard bags. The brand’s bags might even go for 1.3 times the retail value, due to their mysterious identity and limited supply. While competing brands like Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton are focused on opening dozens of impressive flagship stores around the world and expanding their physical and digital footprint via collaborations, celebrity endorsements, and blockbuster fashion shows, Goyard is solely focused artisanal craftsmanship in one product category, bags, never bothering with press engagement. Their limited supply also assure that they would be sold out the fastest — often selling in less than a week on the resale market!
(Sources: Own and Baghunter)