Even Gen Z Is Investing In (Second-Hand) Quiet Luxury Now

Photo: Courtesy of Valentino

“Quiet luxury” is undoubtedly the most overused term in fashion this year—describing the trend for logo-less, yet high-quality, investment pieces from the likes of The Row, Bottega Veneta and Loro Piana. But while one might expect the aesthetic to be most popular with the Gen X and millennial disciples of Phoebe Philo’s Céline era, Gen Z is increasingly getting on the bandwagon, too.

“Across every age demographic, we’re seeing consumers make fewer yet more expensive purchases,” Sasha Skoda, senior director of merchandising at US resale site The RealReal, tells Vogue. “For Gen Z specifically, a customer base innately more sustainably-minded, we’re seeing this mindset collide with current uncertain economic times. The result is this ‘fewer, better’ mindset. Consumers are more comfortable investing in well-made items that stand the test of time.”

In fact, The RealReal’s latest resale report found that the average order value made by Gen Z customers went up 18 per cent in the past year, with searches for Celine, Brunello Cucinelli, Bottega Veneta, Loro Piana, The Row and Khaite going up 29 per cent among this group. Celine is the most popular quiet-luxury brand among Gen Z-ers, suggesting that Philo’s minimalist designs for the French fashion house are already finding a new audience ahead of the launch of her eponymous brand in September.

As well as buying into the if-you-know-you-know aesthetic dominating fashion right now, timeless vintage bags are also winning over Gen Z, who spent 40 per cent more on the category over the past year. “We continue to see the trend of Gen Z looking for that holy grail item, which is a huge badge of honor,” Skoda explains. “As the ‘thrill of the hunt’ has become more mainstream, product remains scarce, thus driving resale prices up. Despite these increases in resale value, Gen Z keeps investing in them.”

Interestingly, the Chanel classic flap bag and Fendi Baguette are the most popular vintage bags among younger buyers, with the second-hand market allowing Gen Z access to high-end pieces that they wouldn’t typically be able to afford at full price – particularly thanks to less expensive “fair condition” bags. “While someone may not be able to afford their favorite Chanel bag in pristine condition, they can attain it in fair condition,” Skoda continues. “So while resale is helping to democratize luxury, fair condition within resale is taking it a step further.”

As Gen Z increasingly invests in status luxury pieces, does that mean the popularity of the Y2K fashion is finally waning? Not so fast. Searches for Blumarine on The RealReal went up by a staggering 4,054 per cent in the past year, while searches for Anna Sui rose by 1,328 per cent. “While one consumer is investing in timeless staples to exude that quiet luxury aesthetic, the other is doubling down on Y2K,” Skoda says. “What’s wonderful about resale is that there’s something for everyone.”

This article was originally published on British Vogue.

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