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Playing the “Frock” Market

Posted on February 22 2022

Playing the “Frock” Market

Tips for spotting a future investment pre-loved fashion item.


I love the thrill of the chase when it comes to buying pre-loved designer fashion. Hunting down unique and collectable pieces and snapping them up before anyone else can even get a look-in. Buying and reselling pre-owned designer fashion is a fairly safe bet on returns, as long as you buy authentic, classic pieces from desirable brands, that are in mint condition. However, if you really want to capitalise on pre-loved fashion, it’s a little bit like playing the stock market. You need to know how to spot pieces that will become desirable in the future – before anyone else even thinks about them and you need to be prepared to take the occasional risk.


People often ask me how I knew a certain piece would become desirable, three years before it did, or how I managed to get hold of a bag or belt that is now impossible to find. Often, it's luck, but most of the time it’s more about having an ear to the ground and spotting patterns in fashion. Over time, you get a sense for it, but here are some of my top tips on what to look out for.


Watch fashion’s musical chairs – the last season or pieces by a sought-after designer before they leave a fashion house make great investments.


Commemorative collections such as Gucci’s Aria AW21 collection celebrating the design house’s 100th anniversary are likely to be very desirable in time.


Similarly, look out for guest designer collections, especially those that “break the mould” such as Dries van Noten’s colab with Christian Lacroix to co-design Lacroix’s SS20 collection.


Lookout for the climbers, for example, classic Chanel quilted bags saw several price increases last year and will soon be on par with the Kelly bag.


The first sustainable pieces by key designers are likely to make great future collectables.


Trends follow patterns. Watch the overall fashion trends. Noughties, nineties, seventies – what’s next? If you can predict what is coming up next, you can get ahead of the trends and invest now to resell later.


Remember trendy now, doesn’t mean, popular in future. Sometimes small runs, one-offs or less desirable pieces from the past become sought after in the future. This could be because they were ahead of their time or simply because, over time, they become rare.


There are so many more factors that can impact on the investment value of a piece, we can’t possibly list them all here and as with all investments, there are never any guarantees. The key thing is to keep your ear to the ground and use your best judgement. Above all, our top tip for investing in pre-loved fashion is always that you should love and enjoy the pieces you buy – whether they make great future investments or not.


Disclaimer: the above are tips and suggestions, not hard and fast rules. There are no guarantees that following these tips will secure you great investments and nor does Phoenix Style claim that they would. All investments carry a risk, so make sure that you are prepared to take the risk that your investment may not deliver as expected.