Eight Foolproof Fashion Investments That Are As Good As Gold
From an investment standpoint, property, stocks, bonds and gold are not the only game in town. The fashion sector hosts some sure-fire investments – items that hold their resale value long after release and may, in some cases, rise sharply, stoking demand.
“We have noticed an increasing number of consumers who actively shop with resale in mind,” says the co-founder and president of the resale site Vestiaire Collective, Fanny Moizant.
Moizant adds that the condition of the product, brand and model all influence the resale value, making broad resale generalisations impossible.
But, she says, if you lay your hands on a timeless classic like the Hermès Birkin bag or the Rolex Submariner watch, it will gain value over time.
“Alternatively, at the other end of the spectrum, there are cult collaboration items,” she says, citing Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with Supreme. Combination products like that can yield big returns “if you’re able to cash in at the right time and place”.
Here are eight of the most promising fashion investments: handbags, watches, sneakers, jewellery and more that, with luck, may hold up reasonably well.
1. Hermès Birkin Himalaya
The Birkin Himalaya is the world's most important handbag: “Wildly rare and eye-poppingly pricey”, says content hub Fashion Law. In fact, the ravishing product sold by the French high-fashion, luxury goods maker, Hermès, is the Holy Grail of sale items, the auction giant Christie's says.
“How did this handbag achieve such cachet? The answer lies in the construction of this wearable work of art – a striking blend of superlative design with fabulous materials,” Christie's says.
The Himalaya is cut from Nile crocodile hide and dyed in exquisite style, so that smoky grey fades into pearl white, mirroring the snow-capped Himalayas.
In 2017, at a Christie’s in Hong Kong, a Birkin Himalaya broke the world record for the costliest one ever sold at auction – an albino version encrusted with 10.23 carats of diamonds fetched £293,000 (US$369,500).
According to the Daily Mail, Kim Kardashian-West has a 30-centimetre one worth an estimated US$120,000.
2. Rolex Submariner 16610
This exceptional Rolex watch's name is more than just for show. Like a real undersea warship, the Submariner is resistant to water at depths of 300 metres (984 feet). The nautical model dates way back to 1954, when it was introduced at the Basel Watch Fair in Switzerland.
The Swiss luxury wristwatch maker marked the Submariner's 50th birthday by launching the Rolex Submariner Date anniversary edition – the 16610 LV – with striking facets including a large Maxi dial and green bezel. Production continued until 2010.
Various versions of the iconic diving watch have appeared in a wave of James Bond films: Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun and Licence to Kill. The 16610 costs upwards of US$7,000.
Of all eight investment items listed here, Moizant says, the Rolex Submariner is the stand out. The Submariner holds value over time and has increased its average selling price by 10 per cent since last year, she says. Moizant describes it as “more durable than handbags, similar to gold”.
3. Louis Vuitton x Supreme
For the autumn-winter 2017 season, New York skatewear brand Supreme and French fashion giant Louis Vuitton collaborated for the first time. The result, Louis Vuitton x Supreme, was a capsule collection of clothes including hoodies, leather goods, jewellery and accessories.
The limited, one-off hybrid collection was sold exclusively through Louis Vuitton stores for a mint. The content hub Hypebae reports that a bumbag went for US$1,690. The supremely exclusive range gained remarkable and lasting cachet.
“Firstly, it's one the most sought-after designer collaborations ever. The resale value is crazy – T-shirts are going for over US$1,000. If you are lucky to get a hold of this collaboration, you are one very lucky shopper!” says fashion stylist and analyst Keicia Shanta.
4. Goyard St Louis tote
Business Insider claims that, among the rich, the rising Paris fashion house Goyard is even more prestigious than its established competitor, Louis Vuitton. Created from special resin-coated linen, a Goyard St Louis bag feels beguilingly light, unlike fake versions made from vinyl and cotton.
Other winning attributes include its prismatic colour range and hand-painted details. Online, droves of style-conscious shoppers are always on the hunt for a St Louis on the resale market.
An investor may make 1.3 times the retail price by reselling one, says the unique objects auction site Catawiki.
“The Goyard St Louis tote is an excellent investment piece because it holds shape over time, requires little to no maintenance, is easy to clean up and has durability,” says Shanta. The special bag can be had for about US$1,100.
5. Chanel 2.55 flap bag
The Chanel 2.55 flap is the exclusive fashion house's original shoulder bag. Design icon Coco Chanel crafted the first version in 1929, but like all the others available to wealthy women at the time, it was hand-carried and unwieldy.
In February 1955, Coco released the shoulder-carried version and transformed handbag history. According to Charles Gorra, the owner of the pre-owned luxury handbags firm, Rebag, the Flap has formidable staying power.
It sells well because of the increase in retail price that Chanel imposes regularly on its products, he says. The Flap is in hot demand on the resale market; expect to pay about US$6,700.
5. Nike Air Yeezy 2 Red Octobers
Perhaps the most striking product on this list, Air Yeezy 2 Red October sneakers glow like molten lava. After their unveiling in February, 2014, the sneakers branded by rapper Kanye West sold out in seconds.
Sold for US$250 that year, they were worth US$5,655 in 2018, says Huffpost. They are heavily sought after, says stylist Shanta.
“If you are a fan of the brand then it’s most definitely a good investment piece,” she says, adding that she has seen them go for over US$6,000 on resale sites.
The sneaker marketplace Flight Club puts the price range, now, at between US$4,750 and US$15,000. In 2014, the New York tabloid The Daily News reported, a fan offered £10 million (US$12.6 million) for a pair.
6. Cartier Love bracelet
This beautiful bangle from the renowned French jeweller was designed by the Italian-born American jewellery designer Aldo Cipullo in 1969. The design is inspired by a chastity belt.
The two screws holding the bracelet in place can be undone with a Cartier screwdriver that accompanies it.
The bracelet was first made of gold-plated silver, before Cartier started producing solid gold versions. The yellow gold version sells for about US$6,600 and the white gold one for US$7,100.
7. Patek Philippe 5131 Cloisonné Enamel watch
The Swiss luxury watch-and-clock maker Patek Philippe peddles hand-finished masterpieces touted as pairing mechanical prowess with enduring allure. Patek Philippe has produced some of the most intricate manual watches ever made, says the pre-owned luxury watch site, Crown & Caliber.
Investors should be looking to buy a Cloisonné Enamel with these watches almost doubling in price at auction, straight from retail, says Christie's International head of watches John Reardon.
The fact that Cloisonné Enamel watches were discontinued in white and yellow-gold may further up the price, according to Reardon. The model sells for about US$120,000.
8. Richard Mille RM 56-02 Tourbillon Sapphire watch
Richard Mille is a luxury Swiss watch brand founded in 2001 by industrialist Richard Mille and watchmaking sector executive Dominique Guenat. Richard Mille watches are nicknamed “the secret billionaire's handshake”, because only incredibly rich people can afford them.
Based on the Mille model built for tennis ace Rafael Nadal (the RM 27-01), the RM 56-02's case is cut from sapphire blocks. Originally, all 10 planned RM 56-02 Sapphire Tourbillon watches sold out, CNBC reported in 2014.
Bryan Heredia, the founder and chief executive of the fashion shop MyGoGoStore, says it is an excellent investment, mainly because of the inserted “tourbillon” – the watch's brain.
Developing a tourbillon takes up to a decade, because it requires deep knowledge of geometry to guarantee it delivers the most accurate time possible, Heredia says.
“This complicated process [to build it] alone dramatically increases the price of the watch, and as time goes on, makes it become an invaluable timepiece,” he says. A single RM 56-02 sells for a cool US$2 million.