All the tips of a vintage expert to find the best pieces

All the tips of a vintage expert to find the best pieces

As What Goes Around Comes Around celebrates its 25th anniversary with an exceptional auction at Christie’s, Vogue

goes in search of tips and tricks to unearth the finest vintage treasures.

Inez & Vinoodh for Vogue Paris

“When we started, the taste for vintage hadn’t really developed yet,” says Seth Weisser, co-founder with

his friend Gerard Maione of the vintage boutique, What Goes Around Comes Around. The duo launched in SoHo

in 1993, focusing on authentic pieces from top brands, preserved in perfect condition. After 25 years in

the business, they’ve turned vintage fashion into a luxury in its own right, and their shop has become one

of the most trusted destinations for finding quality, pre-owned clothing – a market that shows no signs of

slowing down. Reuters recently revealed that vintage fashion accounts for $25 million in annual revenue,

and its annual growth forecast (10% per year) is twice that of the primary market. “In reality, vintage and

previously worn items are sometimes more exclusive than new products,” says Weisser, who adds that some pieces

in their possession could be considered true museum pieces. “Gerard and Seth’s] keen knowledge has really

brought this market to light,” says Caitlin Donovan, head of handbag and accessories sales at Christie’s.

“We’re now seeing some of Christie’s top clients-across the board, from fine art to home décor-increasingly

interested in vintage, which is even more highly regarded than what they can buy at Barneys.” To mark the

store’s first quarter-century, Christie’s is hosting a special auction on September 18 that will feature

nearly 220 collectibles from What Goes Around Comes Around – including Louis Vuitton accessories from Stephen

Sprouse’s 2022 collection, a Philippe Barland surfboard for Chanel, and a series of multi-colored Kelly and

Birkin handbags by Hermès.

Louis Vuitton boxing accessories

Timeless classics vs. statement pieces

Whether you’re looking for an investment or a statement piece, always let your heart decide for you. “We usually recommend

that people listen to their instincts and go for something they really like,” says Weisser. He adds that sometimes

clients decide to bank on niche brands in hopes that they will gain value over time. Weisser’s example: an Ossie Clark

dress purchased perhaps 10 years ago, when the brand wasn’t particularly in demand, and has probably doubled in value

since then. But overall, if you want your piece to have investment value, Donova advises sticking to the best designer

brands, and avoiding it-bags and trendy pieces. “Some clients only collect Hermes items from the 2000s, others only

look for vintage Chanel pieces from the 1970s,” she explains. “Each collection category has its own level of success.”

Hermes Skateboard

Online or in real life?

Weisser and Maione agree on this point: buying online can be risky, unless you already know the sellers or are going

through e-commerce sites connected to actual physical stores. “I’ve noticed that in Europe, Vestiaire Collective is

a very popular site, but the sellers are just individuals offering their stuff,” Maione says. “Whether it’s eBay or

anywhere else online, you’re not in a position to know if these people are able to protect you [from scams].” And even

when shopping in stores, it’s essential to turn to a reputable source. Some stores have a good word-of-mouth reputation,

but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask them questions. Ask them about the store, the owner, how it works, and the

items you are interested in. “It’s always a good sign when the owners and sellers know the origin and history of their

pieces,” Weisser points out. Hermes Handbag

Avoid stains, imperfections, and easy comparisons

What Goes Around Comes Around prides itself on only offering pieces in perfect condition – a condition that

owners will only waive in exceptional cases, for example, if they come across a unique or extremely rare

piece that is no longer being produced. Some materials, such as leather and denim, develop a natural patina

over time, which, unlike stains, is not a problem. Beware of price comparisons between items that are not

in the same quality category. “People do a lot of price comparisons online, but they’re really looking at

a bag in perfect A-grade condition versus something else in B-grade,” Maione says. “They look at the prices

and think it’s a good deal, then they realize later that there are imperfections.” For Weisser, the general

rule of thumb is this: if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. “There are no flukes,” he

continues. “People don’t make these kinds of mistakes anymore.” Hermes Bike

Look back to predict the next trend

According to Weisser, while some vintage buyers have particularly pronounced personal styles that are often

associated with a specific time period:, others are extremely aware of changing trends and become early adopters. In recent years, What Goes Around Comes

Around has seen the birth of some major trends, such as the great return of Fendi’s Zucca print, and the popularization

of Japanese sukajan jackets, those silk souvenir jackets from the 1940s and 1950s that have been revisited by Gucci,

Saint Laurent, and Louis Vuitton. So what’s the next trend? Weisser is careful not to give a specific answer, but confides

that the focus seems to have shifted from specific styles to brands, . “There’s clearly a big demand for ’90s designer


, a little more statement [than before],” he continues. “I’ve also seen a resurgence of interest in Gianni Versace,

and right now, Dior and Fendi are really hot.”

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