Can you sell destroyed designer clothing?

Here’s one unfortunate reality of operating a consignment store: you must handle items that are worn out, defective and sometimes totally wrecked.

The vast majority of items we buy/sell are in excellent shape. But sometimes, a client will present to us an item that is far outside the bounds of presentable condition.

When a destroyed item is something highly coveted, or would be highly valuable in good condition, then we face an interesting question: can this amazing but mostly wrecked designer piece be sold? If so, what’s the price?

Let’s be clear about when this question should be asked. If they’re worn out, torn and stained – then your everyday designer clothes and accessories aren’t worth a second look. It’s the special, collectible, rare, and high-dollar pieces that may be worth selling, despite their poor condition.

To illustrate, let’s look at a few examples of destroyed items we’ve sold here over the years.

Example 1: Broken Louis Vuitton Suitcase

louis vuitton bag, damaged

Louis Vuitton bags tend to have some value even in poor condition. This old suitcase clearly traveled the world. With numerous spots, frays, non-functional hardware and a broken handle, it sold for $250.

Example 2: Repairable Shell Cordovan Shoes

alden whiskey shell cordovan shoes, worn out

Alden shell cordovan shoes retail around $1k. But unlike today’s flashy designer shoes, they’re made to last, and it’s common to have the soles replaced. With the bottoms completely worn down and a few minor scuffs on the upper, these brogues sold for $199.00

Example 3: $4k Suit with Hole

damaged high end suit, brunello cucinelli

This Brunello Cucinelli suit came to us with a tiny hole at the shoulder. We were able to sell it to a buyer (at $425) who said he was willing to attempt a repair. In most cases, a suit with a hole is worthless. In this case, the suit was a top tier luxury brand, in a less common double breasted style, in a size with high demand.

Who Buys Destroyed or Broken Items?

When selling wrecked items, you need to be crystal clear about the status of the item. Rather than attempting to downplay the flaws, you need to emphasize them in your description. This will attract the attention of customers who are thrifty and have the skills/resources to repair things.

So who are these thrifty and resourceful buyers?

The first person who comes to mind is the outdoor sports enthusiast, known for their willingness to fix things. When expensive parkas develop a hole or tear, they buy ready-made gear patches to repair them.

A second possibility is the cobbler or weaver, who might proactively seek out destroyed items to put their skills to use on high end items.

Finally, some people just want a bargain. They’re not overly concerned with perfection in the items they buy. Seeking out damaged goods is a way for them to acquire luxuries that would otherwise be inaccessible. Would you wear a suit with a hole, or carry a luxury bag held together with duct tape? If so, perhaps it’s time to search for some totally destroyed designer items online!

Heading Photo: Ivan Radic, Broken eyeglass frame on the ground on Flickr