JEDDAH: Luxury designer brand items are increasingly finding their way into the mainstream as younger, cost-conscious consumers seek bargain prices on “pre-loved”, inspired fashion, jewelry and accessories in part by celebrities flaunting vintage designs on red carpets.
Amused – launched in Jeddah in July 2020 by Saudi-British couple Sara Teymoor Banaja and Mansoor Banaja – is an online business that connects buyers and sellers of authentic second-hand designer items across the Kingdom.
“After moving to Saudi Arabia, I asked people what they do with their unused luxury items and the answers I got really surprised me,” Sara told Arab News. “They donated them to charity, shipped them to dealers overseas, or waited for them to travel to take them with them to sell.”
The luxury goods market in Gulf Cooperation Council member countries was valued at $7.4 billion in 2020, according to management consultancy Bain and Company.
“Our closets are among the most valuable in the world, with people in GCC countries spending more on luxury per capita than on any other area,” Sara said. “We want to create a more sustainable and rewarding way to consume luxury.”
According to Sara, the younger generation is particularly interested in the timeless beauty of second-hand luxury items.
“What’s beautiful about pre-loved luxury is that we have grandmothers who share their beautiful, rare vintage collections with us that they no longer use and Gen Z buys, which creates a true circular fashion economy,” she said.
Some of his favorite pre-loved luxury items are older designs that cannot be easily replicated and are no longer made.
“The older, the better when it comes to luxury,” she said. “Having seen hundreds of luxury pieces pass our desks, you really see how beautiful the older pieces are and how well they stand the test of time. They really do get prettier with age.
She pointed to Chanel as a prime example of this.
“Some of their pre-2008 items had 24 karat gold in them. These pieces just aren’t made with that level of craftsmanship and quality anymore.
Saudi consumers are increasingly part of a growing circular economy for fashion, Sara said.
“At our recent community fashion event, Absolutely Fashion, which is a monthly event we host, a customer said shopping with Amused is like shopping with a friend,” she said. added.
“Trust and customer experience are our priority and it shows in the fact that 40% of our sales come from regular customers who come back every month.”
Hatoon Abdullatif, a Saudi national, founded the Nostalgia Club this year. Based in Jeddah, it is an online store that sells a curated collection of pre-loved luxury vintage designer items, which it ships to customers around the world. Its specialties are family heirlooms, heirlooms, treasured gifts and unique finds.
It also invites people to submit their own vintage items for sale, but most importantly, Abdullatif said, The Nostalgia Club is a community or club for passionate fans of vintage items, collectibles and art.
She said her passion for vintage luxury goods was inspired by the love her mother, Hasna, had for luxury fashion. Hasna, who studied fashion design and merchandising in the United States, loved all the high-end brands, but Versace was her favourite.
“The seeds my mother sowed became my own love of luxury fashion, so while I was studying in Switzerland for my Bachelor of Arts, I added an extra year to my degree to enroll in a new specialty they offered: luxury management,” Abdullatif said.
“I felt my mother was with me as I learned about authenticity, counterfeiting, and all the origin stories of luxury brands.”
Her passion grew over time, especially during the COVID-19 shutdowns in 2020 and 2021, when she found herself with plenty of time to research the market for pre-loved luxury goods. With the knowledge she gained from it, she decided “to open The Nostalgia Club and give these unique pieces a second life”.
The continued popularity of vintage items and designs is evident on fashion shows where they continue to serve as strong sources of inspiration, Abdullatif said.
“In my opinion, vintage and classic items are the main pillars from which the styles were derived and adapted,” she explained.
“It means that the essence of creativity in the fashion world draws inspiration from previous eras and I think we need to protect these iconic items.”
Each vintage item has a unique story to tell, according to Abdullatif.
“Perhaps a grandmother received a vintage necklace as a nervous bride before her husband went off to war, or a purse was seized during a robbery. across the ocean to start a new life,” she said.
“All vintage treasures have stories and we want to honor the lives of those who loved them before and give our customers a chance to be part of their timeless stories.”
It is this sense of history and human experiences that is key to Abdultif’s mission with The Nostalgia Club.
“Each item has stood the test of time and been loved along the way. In a world where so much is made to be disposable, our mission is to honor the quality and history of these unique and authentic luxury pieces.
In an increasingly environmentally conscious world, his company serves another important purpose.
“At the heart of our mission is sustainability,” said Abdullatif. “We believe that to transform our world and the fashion industry, we must intentionally invest in products that weren’t designed for landfill, but rather crafted with enough care to last many lifetimes.
“These timeless treasures have more love to give and we want to share them with the world.”
The vintage luxury item that Abdullatif herself cherishes the most is a bag that belonged to her mother.
“She used to wear a Walter Steiger clutch when we went to weddings,” she said. “I still remember my father who gave it to me after his death.
“I put it on my shelf, where it was sitting, looking at me. I never wanted to use it; it was a treasure that I kept close by to remind me of her. I believe this bag was the reason The Nostalgia Club was to be born – I wanted to honor its memory.