Passions and Obsessions

Preloved bags: Is resale the future of retail?

Bag lovers tell their close-to-science stories

Camille Reyes' Chanel bag from 2017

It’s been a well-known secret among fashion bag cognoscenti for years: buying preloved bags is one way to amass a collection the envy of luxury bag lovers everywhere.

Camille Reyes’ Chanel bag from 2018

Preloved bags diehards like Camille Reyes say that they love the thrill of the chase of buying these bags. She buys, among other brands, Chanel, because “finding a bag in great condition at a fraction of the price makes me feel like I accomplished something.”

Reyes used to buy brand-new bags until she realized how much she could save. “I bought a Chanel classic flap medium, the complete set, with box, dustbag, and card, for P80,000 in 2018. The same bag now sells for US$9,300. I got a Chanel jumbo in beige in 2020 for P130,000.” Reyes completed her Chanel collection in 2020 and avoided significant price increases the brand and other labels have made recently. “My collection is not huge, but I’ve got all the classics. Besides, buying preloved bags makes me feel less guilty about my luho.”

Babes Castillo’s Loewe Hammock bag

Babes Castillo’s Louis Vuitton wallet

Babes Castillo bought a preloved Chanel replete with box, dustbag, and card for P240,000. The savings weren’t significant, but she fell in love. It was also part of a seasonal collection, which made it a rare find. She went through a Filipino friend who lives in Japan to find her treasure. This friend then discovered other gems for Castillo, like a preloved Loewe Hammock bag, a preloved Bulgari ring, and a preloved Louis Vuitton wallet. “When the people in the Louis Vuitton store in Greenbelt saw the wallet, they were surprised because it looked brand new, but it was an old style!” Castillo says gleefully.

Babes reflects, “Some bags are better to purchase preloved because, for example, Bottega Veneta bags sell for over P100,000 plus, but preloved, you can get them for P26,000 to P35,000. The same goes for the Balenciaga City bag.” Says Camille, “When the bag is preloved, there’s no need to worry about that first scratch or corner wear. I can use the bags comfortably. And when I get sick of the bag, I can resell it.”

“As a seller, I don’t feel much anxiety as I have never been scammed.  I sell for cash and don’t accept PDCs or installment. I also make sure the buyers know it’s a final sale and allow them to inspect the bag before purchasing,” says Camille. As a buyer, she says, “I sanitize my bags thoroughly. I don’t mind that someone else owned the bag before me. The cost benefit of buying secondhand outweighs any anxiety or issues of a preloved bag.  And if the bag doesn’t suit my taste, I sell it again.”

Babes Castillo’s Chanel bag

Babes has no qualms about either buying or selling, as long as each pre-loved item is in good condition.

Both women say they go through a network of preloved bag lovers, a small group of reseller friends, for their finds. How to get in? You have to be referred by a fellow preloved bag compatriot. Many groups like this exist in Manila, where private referrals and word-of-mouth can help you discover all the preloved bags your heart could ever desire. It requires a little digging. But once you’re in, you’re in.

Ensuring the preloved bag is authentic is the most difficult part of the hunt

For those who want to buy preloved bags despite not being part of these groups, many online  sites sell them, such as, according to Babes, Camille says she even looks at Carousell. All you have to do is google.

Ensuring the preloved bag is authentic is the most difficult part of the hunt. You have to make sure the preloved bag seller approves the use of Entrupy, which, according to its website, “certifies the authenticity of luxury products using an objective, scientifically-proven approach that better protects buyers and sellers of frequently-counterfeited, high-value items.” There is also Zeko’s Authentication, which is exclusively for Chanel bags. Its website says, “Our Chanel Handbag Authentication is different as its professional expertise will not render a decision without a 100% accuracy. . . the Client will leave without any ambiguity whatsoever, walking away with pride and personal satisfaction.”

However, says Babes, “I heard Entrupy is not 100% reliable. For Entrupy, you must bring your bag to someone with the Entrupy scanner. I would go for Zeko’s Authentication nowadays.” Says Reyes, “It helps that I started buying preloved after I had bought straight from the boutiques because I know how to authenticate. I pay third-party authenticators to verify my purchases.”

In the US, Sotheby’s auctions of preloved handbags multiplied over 4.5 times in 2021 year-over-year compared to 2020. Fashionphile, a luxury resale site, increased sales by 107% in 2021 versus the year before. The website Rebag’s sales rose 50% in 2020 and 70% in 2021. And the website The RealReal–although in recent weeks besieged by questions about its methods and its future–is still all the rage.

“This is not something that is encouraged by Hermès,” said Axel Dumas of Hermès in a recent article in Wall Street Journal about the resale of preloved bags. It would be “to the detriment of our normal customers that come to the stores.”

Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Stella McCartney, and more recently, Balenciaga, even offer to buy back old products from customers.

Retailers and brands have a significant opportunity to use resale models to acquire younger and price-conscious shoppers

Many people resell bags or give it back to brands for money, but Camille says she parts with her bags because she gets bored with them and wants to try a new style. She also eases the guilt of having too many bags by selling them off. Babes says, “I part with my bags because I don’t use them anymore. From the sale, I can purchase an item that I like.”

Said Ken Fenyo, president, Research & Advisory, of Coresight Research, “Resale is becoming increasingly mainstream as consumers seek put value options, not in terms of price and reliability. Retailers and brands have a significant opportunity to use resale models to acquire younger and price-conscious shoppers, increase customer loyalty, and drive revenue—all while doing good for the environment.”

ThredUp Report’s Resale Industry Milestones

The ThredUp Resale Report 2022 also states, “Resale is the future of retail, and it will be interesting to see which innovative business capitalize on this opportunity.” The report also states that 56% of consumers say brands should do more to help reduce fashion’s impact on the environment.

If it’s fashionable and for a worthy cause—ultimately—should it become your luho? You decide.

About author


She was fashion editor of Mega and Metro magazines, in different stints, and former editor in chief of Metro style. She also wrote for Philippine Daily Inquirer for a decade. She lived and worked in Paris for eight years, writing for international publications, and worked as copywriter for Louis Vuitton Paris. Now based in Manila, she has a content marketing and copywriting firm. She continues to write about luxury and fashion.

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