SA's appetite for luxury confirmed as one of the world's most expensive handbags sells in 2 minutes

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Alexandra Lapp holding a Birkin Bag Mini in pink in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images)
Alexandra Lapp holding a Birkin Bag Mini in pink in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images)
  • Earlier this week, Luxity listed a Hermès Birkin bag - one of the world’s most sought-after accessories - for R220 000 and it sold within two minutes after listing.
  • This particular model of the handbag considered to be the pinnacle of luxury, has an estimated retail price of R370 000.
  • In addition to this, we look at a report by pre-owned luxury retailer Luxity, on the labels South Africans spent their money on the most over the last year. 

At Luxity - South Africa’s largest source of pre-owned authenticated luxury - shoppers have access to designer pieces such as handbags, scarves, wallets, heels, and watches at below-store prices on any given day.

This luxury retailer boasts that they're "no strangers to big-ticket items".

It is, however, rare that Luxity is confronted with an authentic Hermès Birkin 35 bag in the brand’s signature grainy Togo leather with gold hardware. 

When Luxity listed the Hermès Birkin 35 bag for R220 000 it sold within two minutes after listing earlier this week. This particular model has an estimated retail price of R370 000.  

The Birkin was sold in mint condition with is its original dust bag, Hermès rain coat and box.

birkin sells in two minutes
Screenshot via Luxity 

In case you didn't know, this is one of the world’s most sought-after handbags with waiting lists that can even span years. Named after icon Jane Birkin in 1984, the Hermès Birkin bag is an all-time favourite of any handbag aficionado. 

The Hermès website details the legend as follows;

"British actress Jane Birkin, sitting next to Jean-Louis Dumas, Executive Chairman of Hermès (1978-2006), was complaining that she couldn’t find a bag suitable for her needs as a young mother. A born creator with a keen eye, he immediately sketched a supple and spacious rectangular hold-all with a burnished flap and saddle stitching. With a dedicated space for baby bottles!" 

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 02:  Jane Birkin, outside
Jane Birkin, outside Hermes, during Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2018, on October 2, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images) 

It's therefore no wonder that it flew off the online boutique within two minutes earlier this week. 

You're probably wondering how it took just two minutes for this piece to be snatched up, right? Where was the memo sent?!

Well, Luxity’s loyal customers know that the retailer lists its latest items weekdays at 11am sharp, which sees them flock to the online boutique at the exact minute and second to grab highly coveted items immediately.

And now you know... 11am just in time for those 11:11 wishes. 

READ MORE: You can buy a reimagined pair of R16 000 heels for R300, and other designer shoes with cult status

But beyond its star power, what's the deal with this particular bag? 

hermes birkin sells in 2 minutes
Via Hermès.com 

For one, it has been often reported hat the Hermès Birkin bag is one of those high-end items that keep their value over time and if you wait just long enough, you might even get a return on your investment (more on this below). They also have an averaged annual value increase of about 14 percent.

This is largely due to the craftsmanship that goes into every piece (it takes a single artisan about 48 hours to craft a single bag); hence the very limited supply. How many Birkins are made per year, is one of the fashion industry's best-kept secrets – just like the original Coca-Cola recipe and KFC's 11 spices.

READ MORE: What is the most iconic fashion item of all time? This Farfetch survey lists top contenders

And while we're on the topic, let's take a look at the other labels South Africans have sunk their teeth into over the past year with much financial gusto:

SA's healthy appetite for luxury

In 2019, the pre-owned luxury market took off in Mzansi in an unexpected way thanks to supply from wealthy individuals increasing. As a result - and most importantly for you, the eager high-end fashion thrifter - prices fell (when compared to the retail sector). 

According to a report by Luxity, purchasing a Chanel Medium Classic Flap Bag is better than buying shares in, say, a large wholesale retailer. 

“It’s been a fantastic year for the pre-owned luxury market in South Africa, with an increase in wealthy clientele supplying us with more of their unwanted items,” said Luke Calitz, Director of Luxity.

For those who didn't know just how much the pre-owned luxury market is growing and as a result, had written off the prospect of having Dior galore in your wardrobe, this luxury report might open your eyes to a whole new world of affordable Oui Oui and sì sì in your life. And not the knocked-off kind. 

Different to thrifting a United Colors of Benetton sweater for R30 or a Dior knit for R100 at a thrift store in a gentrified neighbourhood, the pre-owned luxury market offers fashion enthusiasts gently worn, pre-loved items. 

READ MORE: Youtuber tracks down young people whose one outfit costs more than ten times your rent for the whole year

If you keep an eye on luxury European brands, you'll know that every fashion house has its classic item that makes a return every season... or it actually just never goes off circulation and simply gets minor design tweaks.

A few examples include Louis Vuitton's Neverfull or their Capucines handbag, the classic quilted Chanel handbag, Christian Louboutin's classic Kate stiletto pumps, and Burberry's Chelsea Heritage trench coat, which you might find going for R1600 at the Rosebank Sunday market. 

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 07: A Vuitton bag is seen,
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 02: A guest wears a white and
BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 17: Ji Kim wearing cashm
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 14: A guest wearing trenc
Images: Getty 

So if you're someone who owns a few of these sought after items, would you know which are the best brands to sell from your wardrobe if you’re looking for some cash?

Well, South Africa’s top resale values in 2019 - according to the report by Luxity - came from Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Hermès, and Christian Louboutin. 

luxity report

In addition to this report, Luxity revealed that brands whose year-on-year resale value improved were Fendi, Jimmy Choo, and Gucci (by a small margin). This was due to the demand for Fendi from Cape Town millennials which pushed up the price. 

So, if you invested in a pair of amazing Fendi shoes last year you could have sold them on for nearly what you paid for and made space in your wardrobe this year. Just be aware that the condition of the item will affect its resale value. 

READ MORE: Is Africa ready to be a luxury fashion hub? 

And once again we have proof that purchasing a Chanel Medium Classic Flap Bag is better than gold. 

luxury labels

Locally, these bags were a better investment than buying shares in, say, a large wholesale retailer. 

“For the second year in a row, we’ve been able to show that fashionistas had the right idea all along. Style investments are worth it,” concluded Luke Calitz. 

Additional infographics and information provided by Luxity

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