Let’s face it: When it comes to shopping for luxury fashion, we all love a good bargain. And with more reselling e-commerce platforms — such as Vestiaire Collective — mushrooming in the last couple of years, coupled with the rise in celebrities selling their preloved pieces online, such as model Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, the idea of shopping for secondhand handbags and preloved luxury clothing is fast becoming mainstream.
Plus, the beauty of shopping secondhand is not only about getting your dream designer bags at a fraction of the retail prices. In fact, when you purchase preloved handbags, you are also contributing to the global sustainability movement by lowering the collective carbon footprint by at least 30 percent. In other words, you will be saving money, look good all while doing good at the same time.
But the question remains: Who do we trust when it comes to buying and selling preloved pieces online?
One of the leaders of this market — and one you should definitely check out — is Vestiaire Collective. Founded in Paris in 2009, it is a global resale app for preloved luxury fashion that aims to transform the fashion industry to a more sustainable future by empowering its community of 23 million international buyers and sellers to drive the change. Thus far, the app has a curated inventory of three million pieces from about 10,000 brands, including Balenciaga, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
As a trusted app for selling and buying clothes, shoes, accessories, and bags, including investment bags such as vintage Chanel ones, Vestiaire Collective is a leader of this market — and with good reasons. To ensure authenticity of all pieces on the site, and to give you peace of mind while shopping preloved and vintage fashion pieces, Vestiaire Collective has put in place a rigorous process of authentication.
What are they and how do these work, you ask? We speak to Victoire Boyer (VB), Vestiaire Collective’s global head of authentication, to find out more on this process.
How does Vestiaire Collective ensure the authenticity of the pieces listed on the site?
VB: The trained authenticators use image analysis to vet and pre-authenticate every item before it goes live on the platform. Upon sale, and when they physically authenticate, the team has a strong methodology for authentication. If there’s any doubt, we contact the seller, and if we determine the item is not authentic we will cancel the sale.
This allows our community to feel safe buying and selling on Vestiaire Collective due to the rigorous process that we have built and optimised in these years of experience.
What does the rigorous process of physical authentication entail?
VB: There are a few steps to this authentication process that is unique to Vestiaire Collective, and it differentiates us from our competitors. However, in general, our process includes looking at the packaging and dustbag to ensure that the colour, finishes, typography and materials align with the brands. They also check if the model exists — an essential step especially for vintage pieces. For bags, we closely analyse the shape, material and stitching. At brands such as Hermès, their craftspeople use a technique called ‘piqûre sellier’, which is a French term that explains a type of diagonal stitching. For such pieces, we should see irregularities, which then confirms that this piece is handmade. Of course, there are so many other details that only our authenticators know.
How are the authenticators trained?
VB: Our authentication team is made up of 60 specialists with backgrounds in luxury brands or auction houses — 30 of which specialise in physical authentication. These authenticators undergo three months of initial training, followed by ongoing monthly training on additional categories, new trends and new collections to keep our experts up-to-date. Keeping the best talent is hugely important to us: this is why we create such a premium, collegiate environment for our authenticators, so they know they are — and are staying — at the top of their game in the best place for that.
Is it possible for us to ascertain the authenticity of products ourselves?
VB: To guarantee authenticity of products, we encourage our community to opt in for the additional authentication service. However, another way to easily identify sellers who are in-line with the precise criteria required on Vestiaire Collective is to look for those who have a ‘Trusted & Expert’ badge. This gives the buyer assurance that these verified sellers have successfully sold at least two authentic items. Plus, due to the business volume as well as global sharing, we have more data points than our competitors to help us determine the authenticity of the pieces on the app.
What happens if a piece is found to not be authentic?
VB: Counterfeiting has always existed and that is why we prioritise authentication expertise in building our business model. This is in addition to being a trusted platform, with extremely strong fashion DNA and a long-term committed community of buyers and sellers. However, if there is any doubt over the authenticity of the item, the buyer will get a notification that the order has been cancelled.
On the flip side, why should we sell with VC?
VB: Our community is always chasing the most beautiful timeless icons, vintage treasures and on trend pieces: bags, accessories, shoes, sneakers, watches, jewellery and clothes. We have over 23 million members on our platform, which means your items have that much more potential to sell.
The Selling Step is quick, easy & convenient, with a three-step process. Once sold, you will receive a pre-paid label to ship your item off to our authentication hub. Once approved authentic, it will then go to the buyer and you will be paid.
Brought to you by Vestiaire Collective
- Vestiaire Collective