Pawned And Secondhand… Luxury?

Pawned and secondhand… luxury: Contradictio in terminis? Possibly. But when you casually remark your bag is a “vintage Dior”, it often (read: unfortunately) still trumps the “found-this-at-a-binge-binsale-in-a-kilogram-store” fashion find. China’s fashion conscious and conscious fashion are progressively meeting up on that crossroads called “Secondhand Shopping”.

Aside from the “real deal” issues facing Chinese luxury customers, one other conundrum remains… How to get a good deal?

If any run-of-the-rack Dior bag is up to 50 percent off its original price, it will surely be cause for skepticism in China. Given the Chinese fashion industry’s ubiquitous daigou culture (代购, one individual who buys the brand on somebody else’s behalf, preferably overseas due to lower taxes) and online shopping sites such as Tmall (天猫) peppered with knock-offs, luxury lovers are more likely to get their kicks from actual stores or via the brand’s individual e-commerce shop.

Nevertheless, aside from these “real deal” issues facing Chinese luxury customers, one other conundrum remains… How to get a good deal when you “only” make 2000 USD per month?  And still want that 12,000 USD bag? The answer lies in the following: Something old, something new, something pawned and something to ease the I-cannot-afford-luxury blues. Say what?

One brand, despite not being brand-new, in your wardrobe is seemingly still better than no brand tout court.

As the stigma on general secondhand (二手) shopping has diminished throughout recent years, a growing number of young luxury brand-aficionados have discovered ye ole faithful pawn shops to seek their fix. The acquisition of luxury goods in China to this day remains somewhat of a symbol for or testimony to one’s life quality. In a bid to consistently attain that “ueber-level of living”, some clients have become used to pawning their own luxury possessions and at the same time and in the same place get a few others — at bargain pawn shop prices. Previously, most pawned goods were traditional items: Gold, jewelry, antiques, jade, and so on. Recently, though, swank luxury swag which proves popular on global gold scales, such as watches and exclusive bags, have entered China’s mainstream pawn market. 

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Several secondhand e-commerce platforms have emerged in recent years as well, but maintaining quality control is still a battle.

The secondhand luxury industry in China too has experienced an unshaken upward movement in the past five years. The process behind it is plain-‘n-real-dealing. The retailers often get the clothing from their own fashion circles who have grown tired of their wardrobes. The buyers, on the other hand, are aspiring luxury consumers who make that earlier-said 2000 USD  a month and still dream of nonchalantly holding that pale pink Dior Diorissimo bag in the crook of their arm. Says who? Fang Fang, owner of secondhand Beijing boutiques Trash ‘n Diamond and Psycho Recycle:

“Several secondhand e-commerce platforms have emerged in recent years as well, but maintaining quality control is still a battle. One of the most popular Taobao apps for secondhand, such as Xianyu [咸鱼淘宝], sells just about every category of secondhand goods eBay-style, but on Taobao, even luxury claiming it’s guaranteed to be real isn’t always so,” Fang tells Jing Daily’s Jessica Rapp.

Both  the “pawned and secondhand” buying methods are gaining a large fan-following. For two obvious reasons: First of all, it is seen as a substitute for buying items which may not quite be the “real deal” in that realm of online secondhand shopping. Secondly, of course, come the fiercely lower price tags both pawned and secondhand items carry. In sum:

One brand, despite not being brand-new, in your wardrobe is seemingly still better than no brand tout court.

 

Photos: Alamy