If there's one universal fashion truth that this past year has proven unequivocally, it's that everything old is, in fact, new again. Trends and styles that many of us thought we'd never consider wearing again have popped up on the runways of the most revered luxury brands, from fanny packs and Juicy Couture sweatsuits to JNCO-inspired jeans and Skechers-like sneakers. And what's interesting about this recent wave of nostalgia perpetuated by designers like Demna Gvasalia at Vetements and Balenciaga and Alessandro Michele at Gucci is that you don't need to shell out designer price points to get the look; many of these items can be scored secondhand. Take fanny packs for example: Ebay sold 57,000 of them last year.
Another fascinating example of this is logo mania. This trend has been gaining steam gradually for the past few years, but seemed to hit a fever pitch last year with everyone and their mom clamoring for Gucci logo tees (both real and bootleg) and monogram handbags, old-school Dior logo pieces and the plethora of Louis Vuitton x Supreme monogram items. In fact, it seemed almost a requirement for every luxury or sportswear brand, from Chanel to Tommy Hilfiger, to incorporate overt name branding into their 2017 collections to a degree of conspicuity we haven't seen since the '90s. In many instances, they more or less knocked themselves off. But when a brand has been around for many decades, as these brands have, one needn't wait for those collections to hit shelves to get the look; they can get the vintage original.
The popularity of logos on the runway has created increased demand for these items in the vintage and secondhand markets, with some brands seeing more traction than others. Popular designer resale site The RealReal, for instance, saw 60 percent growth last year in sales of women's items by "iconic brands who have brought back vintage logos" including Gucci, Chanel, Balenciaga, Dior and Louis Vuitton, as a category. Gucci, unsurprisingly, saw the most success: Sales of the brand's logo clothing grew 111 percent over the last year. In the men’s market, Gucci and Louis Vuitton were the most popular logo designers at The RealReal’s brick-and-mortar store in New York during the holiday season, a rep for the retailer also noted.
Iconic bicoastal designer vintage boutique What Goes Around Comes Around has also seen increased demand for logos and monograms, particularly in bags and ready-to-wear. "Louis Vuitton items are highly sought-after," notes Co-founder Seth Weisser, adding that "Gucci's resurgence, under the creative direction of Alessandro Michele, has resulted in their monogram pieces becoming hugely popular." He's also seen Fendi’s Zucca print gain momentum in bags and apparel.
Paris-based international luxury resale site Vestiaire has made significant investments in beefing up its vintage section over the past year and it, too, has seen desire for logo items intensify. According to the site's Head of Vintage (and all-around designer vintage expert) Marie Blanchet, Gucci and Dior are at the forefront right now when it comes to vintage logos accessories. "Gucci started with Alessandro Michele arriving, obviously, but this year has been a special year because if you look at the spring/summer  collection of Gucci, the bags are complete exact re-editions of vintage ones," she says. "Some people can't even distinguish whether it's vintage or Michele."
She feels that, for some, there's added value and appeal in purchasing the vintage version rather than the new one. "You're buying yourself the original and on top of it there's an economy attraction because it's cheaper." That said, when an item is trending in mainstream fashion, that can drive the price up in the vintage market.
For Blanchet, the most surprising result of logo mania's resurgence has been the comeback of the Dior saddle bag. Following its initial debut on the market in the early 2000's, the John Galliano-designed style enjoyed only a brief moment of "It bag" trendiness circa Carrie Bradshaw's relationship with Aidan on "Sex and the City," never to be heard from again until Mari Grazia Chiuri took Dior's helm and brought back its old-school logo.
"No one was expecting this," says Blanchet of the bag's return. "This bag was worth 60 euros on our website no less than a year ago; we sell it now for over 300." She says Vestiaire's sellers — a mix of regular resellers and professional vintage sellers — "pick up on trends" and know when they can charge more for something that everyone wants. "There's no way on earth I can find those bags now for cheap," she adds. Seventies-era Dior canvas monogrammed bags are also popular at the moment. "Maria Grazia made it fashionable again."
But as WGACA's Weisser points out, it's not just designers who are responsible for this vintage trend: It's also celebrities and influencers. "Brands like Gucci and Dior have also brought monograms back into their current lines, and many style icons have helped elevate the trend and push its popularity," he explains. Even before Michele's first designs for Gucci hit stores, fashion insiders wanted a piece of the brand — that's how fast he made it cool again — and were quick to bring out their own or scour eBay for vintage Gucci loafers and handbags; that phenomenon has only continued. More recently, vintage designer logo and monogram accessories have become staples in the wardrobes of the Hadids and Jenners as well as Rihanna. "Many of our top clients have been part of the trend," asserts Weisser. "The Jenner sisters were ahead of this, as well as a lot of our music industry clients."
The question now is, how long will this trend continue? From a business perspective, it may not be the smartest move on the part of luxury houses. Why buy the new version when you can pull an original out of the back of your closet or score one on the vintage market — in which case the brand reaps none of the profits — for at least slightly cheaper? At the same time, all those logos on Instagram are great free advertising. Blanchet thinks, thanks to Gucci's unshakable popularity (for its relentless Gucciness), the Italian brand's logo will continue to be desired for seasons to come. The Dior saddle bag, however, may already be on borrowed time, she feels. "I was telling my assistant today to be careful because, to me the saddle bag trend is over. I always found the saddle bag very ugly," she says. "The Dior monogram trend will last a bit, but it's going to fade away a little bit. Those monograms come and go; it's like every five years. It's not like a Kelly Bag... I think we'll get bored of it." She notes that these days even vintage items can feel "too last season."
That said, you shouldn't feel to much regret if you, like our very own Maria, bought a saddle bag recently. "It's a good investment still because it will come back eventually; that's the beauty of vintage." Perhaps that's also something to keep in mind when considering the purchase of a newer item with logos or other recognizable branding, like Off-White or even Supreme — those grails will be vintage one day, too. When Virgil Abloh starts doing quotation marks again in 30 years, you might have an original.