So today’s post is a little different – I wanted to dedicate some time and space to a topic near and dear to my heart: buying second-hand!
Not sure if anyone’s ever noticed, but in the footers of each post, I almost always include a link to a pre-loved version of the handbag in question. There are multiple reasons for this and I’ll walk you through each with my Aquarelle Speedy.
For some background, the Aquarelle collection was designed in collaboration with Richard Prince back in 2007 and released during the Spring 2008 campaign. Like many of Louis Vuitton’s previous collaborations (think Takashi Murakami & Stephen Sprouse), the prints were bright, colorful, and fun. I personally fell in love with the watercolor aesthetic and the dreamy pastel colors. Side note – I have been painting since I was young so this collection really hit home.
This year, I finally nabbed the Aquarelle Speedy after YEARS of hemming and hawing over whether or not I should drop a boatload of cash on this bag. I’m glad I did – even if my wallet is significantly lighter.
Without further ado, here’s why you should buy pre-loved:
Like my Aquarelle Speedy, many limited handbags are extremely hard to find and even harder to get your hands on. Because most fashion houses phase out handbags (even if the style is a staple) after each season, certain material and color combinations can only be found through second-hand distributors and resale sites. Even then, rare bags may not even show up for months or years until the individual reseller has decided to give the bag a new home!
For me specifically, I’ve had my eye on this watercolor print since its release. Back in 2008, I was poor and young so the Speedy was light-years out of my reach. Nonetheless, I would check frequently for second-hand listings. In March, after nine years of hunting, I was lucky enough to pull the trigger when I saw a reasonably priced posting for this bag. And this is a great segue into my next reason for buying pre-loved…
Most luxury handbags cost an arm and a leg. While I agree that it is worthwhile to invest in a classic bag like the Chanel double flap, I am not in the business of selling kidneys every time I fall in love with trendier bags (like the Gucci Dionysus).
A good rule of thumb to remember is that with the exception of 2 major houses, Hermès and Chanel, most designer bags will depreciate significantly on the resale market. Yes, even if the bags were brand new with tags. It will depreciate! It’s kind of like driving a new car off the lot. Do your research to see what price a bag in good condition commands.
When I purchased the Aquarelle Speedy, I had been watching the prices for years. This bag retailed for approximately $1280 in 2008, so there was no way in hell I was going to pay any more than that (even adjusting for inflation). On the flip side, because it was a limited edition piece, I was accounting for the uptick in price because there was only a finite number of bags ever produced. I also accounted for the market reaction to this collection – it sold out immediately and many women found themselves on a long waitlist.
Stay realistic! Prices do fluctuate and are typically set by one individual, but you should still be able to find a reasonable range. Research will help prevent you from paying more than you should.
This is the point I wanted to touch upon most. While recycling bins for plastic and paper are pervasive – fashion is not an industry that typically comes to mind when thinking about recycling. However, there is a true environmental risk with fashion. Companies like H&M, Zara, Forever 21 has truly given many closets breaths of fresh air when there was nothing to wear. But on an annual basis, this purchasing behavior has churned out over 14 million tons of retail waste. When averaged across the United States, each person has contributed approximately 80 pounds to landfills. So what can we do? Personally, I have invested in several ways of rewearing, reselling, and recycling my old clothes.
Although designer bags are not necessarily ‘fast fashion’, I think there are many things that I, and you, can do in order to help eliminate retail waste. I recommend a pre-loved version of each bag because, hey, optionality! One woman’s ‘trash’ could truly be your treasure. And I think handbags are also the least unhygienic of recycled consumer goods. Bags do not need to be put through the wash to use! So it is a damn shame to think that only a brand new bag could do.
Without sounding too preachy, I encourage all of you to buy pre-loved bags whenever possible. For me, the Aquarelle Speedy was a bag that I was inevitably going to buy pre-loved. It’s now 9 years old and still in great shape. Yes, there is always going to be some wear, but that’s okay! The handles have a bit of patina, there are some leather fuzzies on the edge of the handle, and there is scuffing on the lock. But I probably would have done the same thing to it if I bought it new anyways!
Further readings: Fast Fashion is Creating an Environmental Crisis. We Buy A Staggering Amount Of Clothing, And Most Of It Ends Up In Landfills. What Happens When Fashion Becomes Fast, Disposable And Cheap?
Popular resale sites: Depop, Poshmark, Tradesy, eBay, Mercari, TheRealReal, 1stDibs, Fashionphile, Vestiaire Collective.
Please comment below if you have any other great resources for selling your old clothes & bags! I would love to hear what you do.
The Aquarelle Speedy by Richard Prince x Louis Vuitton can only be found on resale sites. You can find pre-loved versions here (Speedy 35, $3,615), here (Speedy 30, $2,950), and here (Speedy 35, $1,695).