DUBAI: The Luxury Closet (TLC) is the Middle East’s premier e-portal for authenticated pre-owned high fashion items. It has been in the market since 2011 and made its maiden mall appearance a few days ago. Its pop-up format at Dubai’s Marina Mall will be open till October and houses about 500 secondhand fashion items, ranging from a crocodile skin Hermes Birkin to an animal print Dolce & Gabbana cocktail dress. (The website has an inventory of more than 29,000 luxury items).
Its timing could not be better. The RealReal, one of America’s leading on-line luxury resellers started trading on the NASDAQ last Friday and its share prices jumped by more than 40 per cent within the first few minutes of trading. As the backlash against excess consumption in the fashion industry grows, “pre-loved” fashion is the industry’s new buzzword.
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America is the second largest market for Dubai-based TLC when it comes to buying — but when it comes to supply it is all about the Middle East. Women here are known to love their high-end shopping and TLC offers a great solution for off-loading pieces you may no longer want.
“When we first opened in this market we were not really well received but today the story has changed,” says Pablo Durante, chief marketing officer of TLC.
It seems the under-25s even in the GCC are more open to buying pre-loved items. For them platforms such as TLC are trading places where they can buy pieces they want and sell pieces they no longer desire. “It’s like a trading site,” explains Durrante.
Pop-ups such as the one in Marina Mall are a way of educating this market and showing the region there is also nothing wrong with buying secondhand pieces. “Brick and mortar spaces helps build trust,” says Durante.
You can find some real value buys — a Prada bag that if new might may cost you around 10,000 AED dirhams ($2,700) can be found at TLC for little more than 6,500 dirhams.
The plan for TLC is have more such spaces in the GCC—and one of the next ports of call could be Saudi Arabia. So, it looks as if you could soon be going to the mall to buy secondhand or, as the industry likes to call it, pre-loved fashion.