Hello dear readers! I hope you are having a lovely day and are excited to learn about a way to shop high-end brands and still be sustainable and on a budget. Before we start, this might upset some because it is not about ethical brands nor is it for everyone. I discovered a little while ago the online retailer Vestiaire Collective. It is a website/app that allows people or companies to resell their high-end brand clothing through their website but they will verify the authenticity of the item for you. I like high-end brands even though they are not ethical or sustainable but I cannot tell the difference between a real and fake product or some brands. The prices are negotiable with the seller and you pay a fixed fee to the website to purchase a second-hand item and verify the brand for you. Beware that you might need to pay some customs fees upon receipt of your parcel. Here is a review of my experience with them. Please note the below opinion is my own and this is not sponsored or in collaboration with them (but I would love too, 😁).
I believe it is important to know a little about me and my background to understand why as an ethical and sustainable lifestyle blogger I still want those brands. As one of my friends told me so nicely “you like and enjoy fancy things”. I do. Since I was a little girl I always loved makeup and fashion. At some point, I wanted to become a stylist, designer and even retail manager. I love the style of the BCBG and Zara dresses as well as higher-end clothing brands like Karen Millen dresses, Bauman jackets and Joseph trousers. I do not own most of those yet but I love their design, cut and craftsmanship.
I have been saving for years on and off to treat myself with a very expensive high-end purse after paying my debts (not all my student loans but a milestone amount). There are a few bags I do want in my collection in the future but for now, I have been dreaming about the Louis Vuitton Speedy bandelière in the dark damier design. To me, it is the ultimate classic bag that goes with everything and never out of style.
Since March 2018, I decided to change my lifestyle to a more conscious one and try really hard to purchase ethically and sustainably whenever possible. I am not perfect nor completely ethical and will sometimes go for the convenient option that is not ethical nor sustainable. A recent example of that is an out of town wedding we were attending and I forgot to bring my clutch bag as well as some other minor items. In a city I did not know I had to purchase from wherever available and in my budget. I have accepted my imperfection and that trying my best is better than nothing at all. This is why second-hand purchases make sense to me. It allows me to enjoy brands I love, even though they are not ethical or sustainable ones, and to do so while still following my values and on a budget.
In short, I love fashion, glamour and IG pictures, pretty much everything that surrounds that world but I want to invest my money in timeless pieces with my values and budget. Anyone else out there like me? As an example, I will talk to you about my purchase of Birkenstock sandals, Karen Millen and Zara dresses.
Why Vestiaire Collective
As mentioned above, they provide an online platform for selling brand items and when you purchase they will authenticate the item for you for a fee. Another great thing is to negotiate the price with the seller which saves you money. You can prepay the customs fees as well when you are about to pay. Sellers are from all around the world which allows for various sizes, style and brands. A downside for me is the price for certain brands but it comes with the brand name, e.g. a Cartier watch is still very expensive.
I have been both very happy with some of my purchases and disappointed. The last one is because I did not calculate appropriately the size of the shoe nor the dress. The good thing about this site is you can resell the items that did not fit properly back on the site. There are no returns or exchange with that site.
My good experience was with the Birkenstock sandals, which were like new, and another dress from Zara, which fits like a glove. So it can be a hit or miss on certain things because you cannot try before the purchase.
Overall, I really enjoyed that site for the purchase of high-end clothing, shoes and accessories for way cheaper than retail/full price. Availability of exchange or return would be great but I understand the complication that it brings. I used their watchlist to keep an eye on certain items I would like to purchase soon but I am looking for something specific. I think it is a great tool to keep a look on quality items and the prices. In conclusion, I recommend this option if you are like me and enjoy name brands and higher-end clothing items but would prefer to support sustainability and save some money.
Do you know any other way to shop for high-end brands within a budget as well as sustainably? Leave comments below and don’t forget to like to see more content like this on the blog. I hope you enjoy this review of Vestiaire Collective and see you soon back on the blog.