This is another review I have been meaning to do for a while, but I wanted to keep it a secret long enough to be able to buy all the beautiful Vuitton & Dior pieces they had before anyone else got wind and snagged them! As you know, I like to keep my follow fashion fans in the loop of new stores, events and websites that I come across, finds that you may also not know about, but that are totally worth knowing. Well, in my hunt for all things Dior from the Galliano years I came across a new little gem called Designer Exchange.
Designer Exchange is a brand that has retail stores and a website that was founded with the ethos of designer handbag recycling. What one person may no longer desire, another may love. Unlike consignment stores, Designer Exchange take ownership of your item by buying it and pay cash up front to the customers or give store credit (which usually works out at greater value!). They have something for everybody, from vintage Gucci from £50 to £30,000 crocodile Hermes Birkin’s. With all of their bags authenticated by industry experts on site at all of their stores, it creates a safe buying and selling environment and guarantees all items are authentic. They have three stores across the UK (Knightsbridge, Birmingham & Manchester) and a beautiful new store that opened in Madrid in July 2015, as well as their online store, designerexchange.com.
When it comes to my designer fashions, I’m usually a shopper and not a seller, once something makes its way into my carefully curated, and over stuffed walk in, then it’s usually there to stay. Because of this, I haven’t yet sold with Designer Exchange, but over the last few weeks I have put them to the test, and bought some beautiful bags, that I will love, that are no longer available to buy new, and that I will treasure forever. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
It took me a while if I am honest to make my first purchase, I am the kind of person that likes to inspect every inch of the advertised photo for marks or defects. I also like to research reviews from other people on a resale site such as Designer Exchange, so I am a very cautious shopper. If I am buying something for my collection, then it needs to be in great condition and authentic. Designer Exchange usually have 2 photos online for you to inspect, and yes they are zoomable. Do not worry if you need more information or photos of an item, just give the store that the bag is held at a call and they are happy to email you with extra photos or answer any questions you may have. I did this over a Multicolour Speedy at the Knightsbridge store, I didn’t catch the name of the woman I spoke to, but she really was a pleasure to deal with and she sent me extra photos within 30 minutes. I must admit, as I am always truthful, that I have tried emailing as suggested on the website and they don’t seem to respond till they are chased a week later, or in the case of a Christian Dior slouch bag, if they reply at all. Which is a shame, but I did complain once about this via their Instagram (@WeBuyDesigner) and they chased up my query and I got a response the next morning, which is another example of great customer service from them, despite the email issue I’ve encountered previously.
So then, let’s get to the best part, what have I bought from them to add to my ever expanding collection? The first piece I purchased was this cute little Christian Dior bowler bag, in a blue monogram. The bag came with its original dustcover (which is something I always look for when buying vintage or preowned) and was in great condition. The price? An absolute bargain, in my eyes anyway, at £60. These monogram Dior pieces are not as popular as they once were hence the price, but with the rise in popularity of the early 2000’s Saddle bag and monogram pieces being back on trend for SS16 and also AW16, I am happy to add this little beauty to my collection. The condition of the bag was noted as 2 out of 3 stars on the website, but after carefully examining the bag it really is in great condition, and I must admit, in person it looks far better than it did online. So please be aware, sometimes the online photos don’t do these pieces justice!
The next piece I purchased is pictured below, a white Louis Vuitton Speedy 30, priced at £550. I used to obsess over the multicolour range when I was at school, and I have spent many hours hunting for carefully chosen, good quality pieces from the range to add to my collection as I was unable to shop them first time around. The multicolour line first came out in 2004, and due to the nature of the untreated leather and bright white monogram, these days it can be hard to find a really good condition piece. This item arrived while I was at work, and unfortunately, even though it was as the store stated, it just didn’t suit me and some parts of the monogram just looked old and Mehhhh (if you get me!). I had spent years lusting over this bag, and after holding it in my arms and staring at myself in my dressing room mirror, I just wasn’t a fan. So this is where I tried the stores return policy, as yes, unlike many places, if you are unhappy you can return the items back to store. So this is what I did, I called the Knightsbridge store to explain, and arranged a courier to return. No issues, no complaints, and the money was returned within days.
The next piece I got was a beauty, but it’s a bitter sweet story here. Following the return of the Louis Vuitton Speedy, and having great service from Designer Exchange I have now become accustomed to checking the website daily as part of my morning routine (Yes, I am that obsessed, don’t judge me!) and this beautiful 2004 Christian Dior Rasta saddle bag had popped up online overnight at £85. I loved it, I needed it, I added it to my basket… but then I spotted something else just as pretty, also Dior, also from the same period. A limited edition Dior saddle bag, it was more petit, it was red, and it was £110. Dilemma? I could only afford one, and my credit cards are already moaning when I use them following my splurge at Gucci last month (coming soon to my blog). So I made the hard decision and bought the lovely Rasta Saddle Bag. I adore it, and feel like Carrie Bradshaw every time I use it. But why do I feel bitter/sweet? Because the other Dior bag then quickly sold and I have regretted not buy both ever since, so if you see something you love, BUY IT! This Dior piece also was in amazing condition, and looks almost new. It didn’t come with the original dustbag however, but designer exchange use their own in cases like this, which I love as all my pieces get stored away in the dustbags when not in use.
The next two pieces I bought within days of each other, and both are Dior. The first is a pink monogram purse priced at £20 and the second was a phone case in leather and denim priced at £10. Both bargains, both arrived super-fast by courier with no issues, and despite the low price are in great condition. The purse did have a large mark on the inside, but after some gentle cleaning with a cotton bud I barely notice it, plus it came with its original ID card and dustcover which was a nice surprise. Also did I note that Designer Exchange do not charge for shipping?!
Last but not least (I told you I had bought many items in the past few weeks) is this multicolour beauty. The Speedy 30 may not have been the right bag, but the Louis Vuitton Alma certainly filled the void in my collection. I have never been a huge fan of the Alma, I felt the shape didn’t suit me, but when this white multicolour option came up for sale I jumped at the chance to try it, and surprisingly she looks good on my small frame without being to girl. The condition is great and I feel she was a bargain, retailing at £295. I have seen many pieces in worst condition than this for a lot more. She also came with her original dustcover. The leather does have several marks and water stains, but that’s to be expected with untreated Louis Vuittion cowhide that’s almost 13 years old!
Overall I am extremely impressed with the service Designer Exchange offers, and I am so glad I have found a store that can fulfil my desire for vintage designer bags and that’s why I thought I’d write about them, so that others have a place to pick up authentic designer pieces to add to their collections at really competitive prices. Sometimes the joy doesn’t just come from buying something, it comes from the thrill of seeking a piece that you’ll adore forever…
You can shop via Designer Exchange Stores and at www.DesignerExchange.com
You can also follow them on Instagram @WeBuyDesigner