Many women dream about owning a luxury fashion item.
Whether it’s the popular Speedy Louis Vuitton bag with its famous LV monogram or an iconic Chanel Boy Bag, having an authentic piece in your wardrobe is more than just an accessory, it’s a statement.
A Hermès Birkin is not just a bag, it’s a status symbol.
Before major brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Versace opened walk-in stores in South Africa, these brands were out of reach to those who were not frequent travellers.
Now all you have to do is take a walk down Sandton City’s Diamond Walk or the V&A Waterfront’s golden lane to pop into these stores and pick out what your heart desires.
While most women desire them not everyone can afford to buy them brand new hence the growth in pre-loved luxury fashion items.
However, this does put customers at risk of buying fakes. We all know that the market is flooded with items, that to the untrained eye, can appear to be the real deal but in fact, is nothing but an extremely well-made fake.
Luxity co-founder Michael Zahariev says that they saw the gap in the market and opened up a walk-in and online store where customers could shop authentic pre-owned luxury items.
“After having a conversation with a friend who had been scammed when trying to sell her pre-owned luxury handbags online, we spotted a gap in the market for safely reselling pre-owned luxury items,” said Zahariev.
“Our mission to encourage women to achieve utter style happiness is founded in our powerful belief in authenticity. After all, there is no substitute for being and feeling authentic. When a woman wears a fake item and no matter how good the counterfeit is, she will never get the same feeling as when wearing an original,” remarked Luxity’s co-founder and director Luke Calitz.
According to the store owner, the luxury goods market is on the up, growing internationally by 13% in 2021 after shrinking by 20% in 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
“The pre-owned market is also growing steadily, year on year we're expecting to do over a 100% growth this year, after growing 190% during the pandemic.”
“Internationally, Gen Z and Millennials have adopted pre-owned shopping 2.5 times faster than other generations. They are also set to make up the majority of the luxury market by 2025.”
“What we’re seeing locally, however, is that South African Gen Zs and Millennials comparatively lack the purchasing power to afford pre-owned luxury. It is actually the country’s aspiring middle class that is driving the growth of the sector. We believe that this is due to them now having access to these items, whereas before they were out of reach from a cost perspective,” shared Zahariev.
With all these designer brands now available in South Africa, Zahariev offers insight into which brands are in fact the most sought-after.
“In the handbag category, Chanel rocketed to the first position, now holding the spot as the highest investment return luxury bag to buy pre-owned in South Africa, outperforming Louis Vuitton which now sits in a close second position, followed by Celine.”
“This was influenced by strong demand for the timeless brand as well as the fact that the company does not have a store in the country. Therefore, with travel restrictions, Chanel accessories could not be bought in any other way.”
The top five brands, in general, would be Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, Gucci and Christian Louboutin.
The company sources 100% of their items from local individuals.
“This means that when you purchase from Luxity that money is going straight back into the pockets of a 100% local company and locals creating a circular economy in South Africa.
Luxity accepts all items as long as they fall into the luxury brands category. The items need to be authentic and not damaged in any way. As the craftsmanship of these heritage brands is so good we have sold items which have even been passed down from generation to generation.
“We have a lifetime authenticity return policy that guarantees 100% of your money back!” said Zahariev.
“Before being stocked, each item goes through our rigorous and scrutinizing evaluation and authentication procedure, conducted by our heavily experienced authenticators to guarantee 100% authenticity.”
“The Luxity stamp of approval is our bond. This is why we have a lifetime return policy that guarantees 100% of your money back (including delivery fees) if you ever prove that the item you purchased from us is not authentic.”
They recently sold a Hermès Birkin for R280 000 within eight minutes after going on sale.
Zahariev explained why the bag was snapped up so fast.
“The Hermès Birkin is a highly sought-after bag all over the world and only available to a select number of individuals, whether you are rich or not. This coupled with the fact that there is no Hermès store in South Africa makes the demand for this item extremely high in the local market.”
While the Birkin will forever be a highly sought-after possession, there are other bags that are considered investment pieces.
The Chanel Classic Flap bag which retails second-hand around R120 000 and the Louis Vuitton Favorite is a great entry-level investment bag retailing pre-owned for R20 000.
Read the latest issue of IOL Fashion digital magazine here.