We all love a bargain, especially when it comes with a designer label attached. As a fashion editor, I have become pretty adapt at sniffing out an affordable high-end gem (if I do say so myself). My secret? Shopping second-hand. According to the Business of Fashion, before the pandemic hit, the resale market was on track to double from $24 billion in 2019 to $51 billion by 2024. You also only need look at the recent acquisition of Depop and high-profile investments in Vestiaire Collective to see that pre-loved is on the up. Clearly, I'm not the only one that is partial to a second-hand steal.
Who What Wear's Hannah Almassi with her thrifted Fendi baguette.
Add to this the fact that many big-name brands are reissuing classic bags from their archive collections (think Gucci's Jackie or Prada's nylon styles), which has resulted in searches for the "originals" skyrocketing. There is, of course, the elephant in the room, which is designer dupes, and we recommend sticking to sites such as Vestiaire that offer in-house verification teams so you know your purchase is the real deal.
Getting your search terms right can be a bit of an art, but most sites offer price brackets so you can adapt to your budget as well as options to refine by brand, vintage, model and fabric. The more specific you are, the easier it'll be to find what you want. However, if you're looking for a starting point, we've collated six designer brands whose classic handbags will always be a smart investment. From "old" Celine logo baguettes to Prada's '90s backpacks, scroll down to see and shop our second-hand designer handbag edit. But remember, there's only one of each, so once it's gone, it's really gone.