We sit down with Chanel expert Winnie McGee, Commerical Director at Luxury Promise to gain valuable insight into the Chanel vintage market.
Why has the Chanel Vintage Market Exploded in Recent Years?
In recent years the popularity of buying vintage has been increasing due to…..technology! The internet has been the accelerator in the vintage business giving us accessibility. The way we shop on our mobile phones, giving us access at our fingertips and on websites like Luxury Promise who are specialists in designer vintage bags. On the other hand – consumers are choosing vintage out of personal choice, choosing over fast fashion, opting for better quality, shopping sustainably by extending the life cycle of items and overall choosing one-of-a-kind pieces as a style statement.
What are Key Factors we Should Consider when Contemplating the Purchase of a Vintage Piece?
When purchasing a vintage piece – one has to be aware that these are used and any signs of wear are part of characteristics and charm of that bag. You are buying a second hand item that has had a life before and we are just custodians of its time! Which is why I personally love vintage.
But, not just anything used will do. You have to be prepared to consider the condition of the bag. Not surprisingly, the better the condition of the bag, the higher the price point. Choose a classic style that is timeless, buy a bag for its quality and durability. Is it something you would wear 15-20 years from now? Would you pass it down to your daughter or a loved one?
Are Chanel Vintage Pieces a Good Investment?
When the iconic Chanel 2.55 flap bag first launched in February 1955, the retail price was $220. Now that same bag is priced upwards of almost $6,000 to. With price increases every year on classic and iconic bags, these hikes ultimately trickle down effect to the vintage secondary market.
In the last 12 months, for example, Luxury Promise has seen a 30% increase in price of vintage Chanel. This was driven partly by demand, [limited supply?], and choice.
However it is still relatively ‘affordable’ to obtain one of these coveted bags on the secondary market. If you set aside the talk of investment, the design aesthetic of a Classic flap bag remains very appealing. It is a beautiful and functional handbag. Since its creation in 1955, this is still an in-demand bag. It is both a financial and style investment.
How Does Luxury Promise Authenticate Vintage Pieces?
We are in a privileged position where we are offered different bags every day, and we get to see and handle the objects. Indeed, the best way of learning is seeing all types of bags. Even the fake ones tell us something.
All bags tell a story. And once you start seeing a pattern, you start building a knowledge of what to look for, how a bag should feel. And you build a brand understanding of how that bag should be constructed which is how we can start weeding the fakes from the real bags. As we also research – bag designs and styles change seasonally, Luxury Promise has an amazing archive of books and online resources.
Our personal specialty is vintage, and sometimes you look to other vintage fanatics to share information such as the network of bag restorers we work with. These craftspeople get to see a bag inside out, look at the construction and bare bones of the bag. That really tells you something about quality craftsmanship.
At Luxury Promise we have a triple authentication, we never authenticate from pictures – you need to handle the bag, even smell it! The buyer checks the bag, and is cross-checked by another buyer and we use AI technology to verify our checks.
Serial Sticker vs Authenticity Card?
It’s one of top queries we get at Luxury Promise when buying vintage Chanel. Of course it’s always best to have a full set, but it’s not often possible (or expected) when you have a vintage bag nearly 40 years old. If it does they will be priced a bit higher due to the rarity of it being so complete.
If we had to choose, we would say a serial sticker as it is part of the bag for life – the cards can go missing. However stickers can go missing too and that shouldn’t be a deterrent. So other aspects to consider in terms of authenticity is the quality of leather, the hardware finish and overall is the style and design of the bag.
What Makes Luxury Promises Different from Other Resellers?
All the team members are crazy about handbags – we are just such a passionate team! Our photographer asked the other day ‘do we get sick of seeing bags’ Never! For us seeing vintage Chanel bag is like the same feeling we had when we discovered vintage for the first time 15 years ago. Because we are passionate about bags we naturally built a community of fellow bag enthusiasts – our social media following has grown exponentially in the past couple of years, from our storytelling in our IGTV @luxurypromise to our interactive Live Shopping.
It’s funny even our followers who join our Lives – now have created their own social groups and meet up and talk handbags! Our love of handbags have brought people together. Our brand is founded on the values of community building & community enrichment & to forward this cause, we are launching Preloved Fashion Week 17-19 Sept which runs alongside London Fashion Week.
The 3 day event celebrates our love of preloved luxury shopping. It includes a talk with Sabrina Sadiq, CEO of Luxury Promise, on the rise of Preloved bags and with Dr Lucia Savi of V&A giving us a talk on Handbag: inside & out bag exhibition. As well as an in store demonstration of our handbag craftsperson showing how we restore, repair and look after your bag and to end we have Youtuber Claire Chanelle talking about how she built up her vintage bag collection.