There are certain pieces of vintage clothing items that always seem to be in style. Most of these products disappear off shelves for years before making a comeback. That said, there are a few pioneering brands that specialize in selling vintage and antiques, among other clothing items from the past. This article compiles a list of the most valuable vintage clothing brands whose classic products command a premium on the secondhand market.
Most Valuable Vintage Clothing Brands- Overview
Let’s take a glance at valuable vintage clothing brands and items.
Vintage Clothing Item Explained
The term “vintage” is a catch-all slang term for anything of an older design era. According to the standards of the fashion industry, anything made more than 30 years ago but less than 100 years ago is considered vintage. However, they need to be accurate representations of the era they are meant to represent. Vintage has recently been applied to items that are at least 20 years old. But only if these pieces display traits typical of that era.
What Is the Difference Between Vintage, Retro, and Antique?
While the age of the garment is a good indicator of whether the term “vintage,” “retro,” or “antique” should be applied, these adjectives are often used interchangeably. Antique clothing is defined as an item that is at least a century old. The term “retro,” which is short for “retrospective,” is commonly applied to clothing that is modeled after fashions from the past. Clothes that have been reproduced, or “repro’d,” are modern copies of vintage styles. Last but not least, we have what is commonly known as “modern” or “contemporary” fashion, which refers to clothing made more recently.
What Is Considered Vintage Clothing Brand?
Clothing must cost thousands of dollars to be valuable. And to be considered among the most valuable vintage clothing brands, a vintage clothing company must be worth millions of dollars. However, it’s important to remember that vintage clothing brands don’t always specialize in vintage items. They can sell other items, but they also have a few vintage pieces in stock.
Now let’s delve deep into the most valuable clothing brands.
Most Valuable Vintage Clothing Brands
There are numerous valuable vintage clothing brands, but we will only highlight a few. These clothing companies have made millions of dollars in sales and revenues, and their worth could be in the billions. The brands are located in various countries, but Italy and the United States appear to be the most well-represented.
Created by Coco Chanel in Paris in 1910, Chanel is a French high fashion label synonymous with elegance and sophistication. Fashionable clothing, fragrances, and accessories for ladies are Chanel’s bread and butter. Chanel’s classic designs have stood the test of time, and the pre-owned and vintage market is constantly hungry for the label’s archival pieces. The classic tweed jacket has become a fashion symbol, and as such, jackets in this style command premium prices.
Costing $8799 in August of 2021, a black Chanel tweed blazer was a popular item. In 2020, Chanel earned 10.1 billion USD in sales. A decline from the previous year, possibly attributable to the effects of the COVID pandemic, brought Chanel’s global brand worth to around $13.2 billion in 2021.
Saint Laurent, or YSL, is a brand name under the French luxury fashion house Yves Saint Laurent SAS, which Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé established in 1962. Saint Laurent is known for its expertise in the areas of haute couture, ready-to-wear, accessories made of leather, and footwear. A staggering €2.52 billion will have been earned by YSL in 2021. In 1993, Elf-Sanofi paid $3.5 billion to acquire the Yves Saint Laurent brand. As of 2022, the company’s valuation could reach $5.40 billion.
In the end, YSL jackets and suits from the past are valuable on the second-hand market because of their famous “Le Smoking” style. Because leather is so costly and tends to age better than other fabrics, vintage YSL leather items tend to fetch the highest prices. In September of 2021, a vintage YSL leather jacket with embellishments fetched $2892.
Vestiaire Collective is a European marketplace for pre-owned high-end apparel and accessories that have been verified for authenticity. The French luxury resale website Vestiaire Collective continued its march forward in 2021, with the announcement that it had raised an additional €178 million ($209 million) in new finance, only six months after its previous funding round. The largest luxury resale marketplace in Europe announced on September 21, 2021, that it had raised €178 million at a valuation of $1.7 billion.
Clothing by the late, great British designer Vivienne Westwood is highly sought after by collectors. In September of 2021, the designer’s vintage corset on the online marketplace Vestiaire Collective went for more than $3800. It’s not surprising that items from the insanely expensive French fashion house still fetch a high price on the vintage market. Hermès clothing has always been known for its high quality, so vintage items are often in pristine condition. More than $2234 was paid in November 2021 on a Vestiaire Collective sale for a vintage Hermès silk blazer.
Comme des Garçons
Founded and directed by Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo, the Paris-based fashion house Comme des Garçons (abbreviated as CDG) sells its wares to a global clientele. Paris is home to the chain’s main store in France. The label is also the owner of a global retail chain with locations in major cities all over the world, including Melbourne, London, New York City, Hong Kong, and the Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo. In addition to clothing, the brand now also produces fragrances and jewelry.
CEO and retail industry trailblazer Adrian Joffe has expanded Comme des Garçons into a $320 million global multi-brand fashion empire. It’s true that collectors the world over are clamoring to get their hands on vintage items from this legendary Japanese fashion house. The most avant-garde pieces, especially those from the first few collections, can fetch exorbitant prices on the secondary market. In August of 2021, a Comme des Garçons dress went for $4086 on the website Vestiaire Collective.
Oscar de la Renta
The Dominican-American fashion designer Oscar de la Renta established his namesake label, which includes the Signature ready-to-wear collection and the Pink Label. In the 1960s, de la Renta rose to prominence as one of the couturiers whose work on Jacqueline Kennedy made her a fashion icon. He did stints at Lanvin and Balmain and was recognized for his design skills. His namesake fashion house still dresses celebrities and royals.
This line is distinctly modern, and it is famous for supplying the brightest shining stars in Hollywood with extravagant and luxurious clothing. However, it also sells a few valuable vintage fashion items. The secondary market for pre-loved clothing items is a great place to find a vintage Oscar de la Renta design- mostly dresses, jackets, and coats with a lot of embellishment. The label and its CEO were worth over $200 million in 2014 when the latter passed away. In October of 2021, a reversible vintage Oscar de la Renta coat went for $4,625.
Dior, or Christian Dior SE, is a French luxury fashion house owned and run by Bernard Arnault, the chairman, and CEO of LVMH, the largest luxury conglomerate in the world. Dior’s stake in LVMH is 42.36 percent, and it has 59.00 percent of the company’s voting power. The Dior name was estimated to be worth around $8.9 billion in 2022. By way of comparison, the brand was worth approximately $4.6 billion in 2017.
Vintage Dior dresses fetch astronomical prices on the secondhand market because of their exquisite craftsmanship and feminine aesthetic. In addition to dresses, the brand’s jackets and coats are highly sought after. During the month of August 2021, a vintage Dior silk dress went for $5,230.
Gucci, headquartered in Florence, Italy, is a prestigious Italian fashion house known worldwide for its luxurious products. It licenses the use of its name and branding to Coty, Inc. for the production of fragrances and cosmetics under the brand name Gucci Beauty. Its product lines include designer bags, ready-to-wear clothing items, accessories, footwear, and home decoration.
The value of the Gucci name in the United States was approximately $18.1 billion in 2022. In 2019, sales reached 9.62 billion euros. Considering the label’s notoriety, vintage items from this Italian fashion house can command exorbitant prices on the secondary market due to their desirability. Alessandro Michele, in his role as creative director, has made it his mission to revive the label’s famed mix of modern and retro styles. In August 2021, the most expensive vintage Gucci bikini was sold for $6,748.
The question is why the prices for these brands’ vintage clothing items are so high?
Reasons Why the Vintage Clothing Brands Are Considered Valuable
Here’s why all the brands and items mentioned in the previous section are considered vintage.
Current styles and classic aesthetics
Each of these labels has developed and perfected its own distinct voice over the course of many years in the fashion industry. Their fundamental styles are evergreen because they represent a way of life or a point of view that is universally appealing, regardless of when the garment was made.
Rare and of High Status
Because of their longevity in the industry, these labels have gained a certain amount of respect and credibility, and they often release limited-edition or otherwise exceptional collections. Due to its limited availability, clothing from these brands will always be more expensive than similar goods made by other brands.
Expensive Materials and Design Cost
These labels are known for their use of high-priced, high-quality materials, which helps explain at least some of the retail and vintage price tags. But the major reason why they are so precious is that fashion businesses have to put a lot of time and money into the creative process. Also, several of the listed designers have their very own Couture Ateliers where they create one-of-a-kind pieces using only the finest materials.
There are many other rare antique clothing labels out there, but the aforementioned are the most notable. Rare items tend to fetch higher prices at auction. The high cost of genuine vintage clothing has led to a large market for fakes. Make sure you’re purchasing from a reliable dealer and/or having the item validated before shelling out a lot of cash.
Iconic designs from these businesses periodically go through fashion resurgences, which in almost all cases drives up the value of antique examples. So keep an eye out for timeless classics that may seem “out of style” right now. These are usually fantastic long-term investments.