Before the running, the time in Paris, my A-levels even, I’ve always had fashion. I would buy the cheapest food from the lunch counter at school in order to save up for a dress from Etam or top from New Look. I took it upon myself to raid my mum’s wardrobe and dig out a burgundy red velvet coat from the 70s and then wear it to my school’s non-uniform day. And when my parents sent me off to the States to visit a friend post-GCSEs with the equivalent of £500 in dollars (just in case), I took it as carte blanche to buy myself an entire new wardrobe.
As a teenager, I would trawl the stores of Camden, then Portobello, then Spitalfields (when it was still a make-shift car park) to find a vintage piece or something different from the usual Topshop fare (which in those days was no way near as fashion-forward as it is today). From boutiques to charity shops, I have always enjoyed a good rummage, seeking out that something unusual or designer bargain. My taste may have changed over time but I still get a thrill when I discover a real vintage treasure. So it comes as no surprise that in the age of e-commerce, I absolutely adore pre-loved sites, such as BuyMyWardrobe.
The picture is of me at the 20th BuyMyWardrobe ‘party’, which was held at Kensington Roof Gardens at the end of April this year. No, I wasn’t selling my wardrobe as it is currently spread among three locations in the country (I kid you not). I did pop along though to have a few photos taken of me in a dress that I bought in Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, the beautiful white blazer and Chanel handbag are not mine but they are the kind of pre-loved pieces you can find on sale at one of the highly-anticipated BuyMyWardrobe events.
The founder of BuyMyWardrobe, Kal Di Paolo, had already been in the fashion industry for a decade, heading up the label Kal Kaur Rai Ltd, before she came up with the idea of selling her gorgeous wardrobe to make some extra cash. She then thought, well surely there are others who, just like her, have a number of items they simply don’t wear anymore, and would like to join her. Why not turn it into a glam event?
And so the first BuyMyWardrobe event was held back in February 2008. Kal invited London’s most stylish to an event, where they could sell part of their wardrobe to fashion lovers (like me) who love designer stuff but can’t quite justify the price-tag. Fast-forward five years and these events are still going strong. The next one will be on October 5 2013. Check here for details.
It’s important to note that this shopping event not only weathered the storm of economic turmoil of the latter part of 2008 and 2009 but has grown to become a website and stand-alone store in the chic part of Marylebone, London, shows that the concept of selling pre-loved goods is rock solid. And this is not just my humble opinion. One of the early stage investors in Net-A-Porter, Carmen Busquez, decided to invest in this ‘re-commerce’ business in May 2013.
Not only does the new site offers a marketplace where you can find everything from Louboutin heels to Stella McCartney jumpsuits, you can also read a little bit about where the items came from, thanks to a sellers’ guide. With weekly features that focus on a particular seller or chat about fashion, food and things that the BuyMyWardrobe team like and even links to their up’n’coming event, you feel like you’ve entered an exclusive fashion club. Why not get in on the action?
Whether you’re on the look out for a new handbag, after that dress for a special occasion or just fancy a mooch around some unique designer pieces, check out BuyMyWardrobe. You may be surprised at what vintage treasures you’ll discover. Talking of vintage treasures, now that I’ve finally moved – it’s high time I dug out some of my own.