Welcome to Style Theory Hong Kong’s very own Bags Talk series, a definitive guide to navigating the luxurious and intricate world of designer bags. Consider it your starting point to understanding how to kickstart or better your journey with everything designer bags-related!
Good news: It’s been proven time and again that designer bags aren’t just fashion statements or arm candies. If well-chosen, they’re investment pieces that can earn you excellent returns when you choose to consign or sell them in the future!
With certain styles consistently reselling for almost double their retail value through the years, you could argue that designer bags are a safer investment bet than stocks and property. Looking for an investment bag? Here’s what to look out for:
1. It’s all about the brand
While the value of luxury bags can fluctuate due to trends or buzz, certain iconic long-standing brands hold the most resale value — and it’s none other than the holy trinity of luxury houses: Hermès, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton.
Known as trademarks of luxury, these designer brands have been the style pioneers in the fashion industry for decades. Their classic styles have stood the test of time and are consistently in demand, and it’s proven to be true. Chanel and Louis Vuitton are two of the most rented designer brands on our Style Theory Bags platform, with their most iconic bags being rented almost 400 times and counting.
Apart from the steadfast classic brands, the newsworthy buzz around a designer brand can affect a brand’s value. Case in point: The departure of Celine’s creative director, Phoebe Philo in 2018 saw a huge spike in the increase in searches and demand for Philo-era Celine pieces.
2. Classic vs. It bags
Each season we’re overwhelmed with new prints, shapes, colours, and ‘must-have’ styles. But when it comes to investing in a designer bag, it’s crucial to find a bag that won’t depreciate in value once it goes out of trend a month later. The safest option is to simply keep it classic. With classic bags, you’ll know they will always be in demand and will give you a stable return on your investment.
One of the most iconic classics of all time: the Lady Dior. Nicknamed after Lady Diana back in 1995, it is still extremely popular today. Reported to be one of the most valuable handbags in the JustCollecting Rare Handbag Index, the Lady Dior bag has increased in value by 166.7% from 2004 to 2016, and over 14.3% from 2014 to 2016.
Don’t mind a little risk? You can take a chance on limited edition or seasonal releases from luxury brands as these collector’s items can fetch a high price on the resale market. Likewise, if you’re looking to turn a quick profit, seasonal It bags that are only out in limited quantities can earn you a handsome sum if you manage to sell it off before the trend fades.
3. Research its price history
As with all investments, research is key. Before making a purchase, visit resale sites to observe the pricing of bags and how they compare to retail. That way, you’ll be able to grasp which are the brands and models that have shown good historical results over the years. The increase in the value of some designer bags can be attributed to the fact that there is much less supply than demand for the bag, which fuels the price growth.
Thanks to a study conducted by vintage handbag authority Baghunter, their experts found that the value of a classic Chanel bag has steadily appreciated by 70% in just six years. At its debut in 1955, it was sold for US$220 (S$307). Today, it’s selling for S$7,990 — a whopping 26 times more.
4. Material matters
Consider the craftsmanship and longevity of the material when choosing your investment designer bag. Ranked second as the material with the highest resale value in a report by Stylight Insights, we typically recommend investing in leather bags over fabric or suede as they last longer and wear better over time.
Much like fine wine, genuine leather ages in a similarly graceful way through its patina. The patina is a rich and beautiful sheen that develops on naturally treated leather goods over years of use. It is unique to every bag and darkens to shades from anywhere between a honey brown to a deep caramel. A patina is much sought after, and is a sign that the item was crafted with leather of the highest quality.
Our recommendation? Louis Vuitton’s Vachetta cowhide leather, typically found in their Monogram series, which has been the brand’s most popular leather for over a century. Vachetta leather develops a unique amber patina and contributes to greater suppleness over time. The luxury powerhouse’s Classic Monogram Speedy bag was ranked fourth in JustCollecting’s Rare Handbag Index’s best-performing handbags from 2016 to 2018, with an increase in value by 9.1%.
6. Consider colours
Due to the versatility, neutral colours like black and beige tend to retain their value better. Designer bags in classic colours have shown to retain profitable resale value as they’re capable of staying relevant even after decades — and it shows, with neutral tones of white, grey, and brown topping the list of most popularly rented colours among our subscribers.
Of course, there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to this. If you prefer a pop of colour, seasonal colours like red are also highly sought after. In fact, statement colours like red, orange, and green are among the top 10 most popular colours with our subscribers.
So, keep these tips in mind as they guide you toward the best use of your hard-earned money. Even if you’re not planning to ever sell your investment piece, knowing its resale value can inform you on whether it’s a timeless piece or just a passing trend, indicating how long you’re likely to keep wearing it for. Buy smart, as quality luxury pieces can last you for decades.
Want to try out these investment pieces without committing huge sums of money? Try before you buy from our Infinite Wardrobe with over 2,000+ designer bags to explore styles like never before and make smarter decisions on the pieces you really want to own and invest in.
Renting is also perfect for those who want to enjoy the flexibility of wearing different designer styles every month without the commitment of space and time taken to maintain a bag.