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Second-hand or fake for designer brands: which is best?

cheap designer shoesJust back from a weekend in London where I was thrilled to pick up a pair of Tory Burch Minnie Ballet Flats for £70. That’s just less than a third of their normal price of £215.

I have coveted a pair of these shoes for several years now but, strangely enough, could never seem to find the money to pay full price. So when I saw these little beauties, as pictured, in the Music & Goods Exchange shop on Notting Hill Gate, I snapped them up.

They were so cheap because they were second-hand. Barely worn: you can still see the imprint of the logo on the soles. And a little bit dusty, although a wet wipe will soon put paid to that. Tick, tick all around.

As we progressed to Portobello Road, I was amazed at just how much vintage or second-hand designer labels are up for grabs these days on market stalls. As a student, I was always scouring charity shops and places such as Camden for cheap clothes. I don’t remember there being many designer items on sale then. I suppose they might have been the prerequisite of the nearly-new shops which were too expensive for my budget then. Fast forward to today and there are zillions of pre-loved jackets, dresses, trousers and so on with the desired brand available at a fraction of the latest season’s price. Only a launder is required before you too can be suited like the stars.

Compared to buying a fake, this starts to look like a brilliant deal. Living in Hong Kong as I did for a few years, you become accustomed to the counterfeits for sale and their prices. (Of course, I never bought any myself as that would be illegal!) There’s a variety of quality, ranging from your cheap ‘Cucci’ bag (actually pointless) to the AAA level which starts to get pricey. In the case of my Tory Burch shoes, I saw a similar pair in Ladies Market in Hong Kong last year for which the stallholder wanted the equivalent of £50 even after I’d haggled. I wasn’t convinced by the ‘genuine copy’ and passed. Now I’ve paid a bit more and secured the real thing.

The other plus of buying second-hand is that it’s a great way of recycling unwanted clothes and shoes. We absolutely do not need any more fashion accessories going to landfill, which is where most of the fakes will end up. Another win is that my purchase will go a small way to keeping that independent store going rather than turning into yet another faceless coffee shop.

In fact, there’s no good reason to pay full price for anything these days, even new. The internet is awash with special deals and outlet stores. My favourites include Brand AlleyVente Privee and Bicester Village online.

See our SMM guide to saving on shopping for more tips.


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Friday, 19 April 2019