One of the best perks of living in New York (and sometimes LA) is the access to sample sales. Student/intern living almost requires it. To all of you new to the game, here are some quick tips I picked up over the years:
Do not go to non-affiliated sample sale venues. Places that advertise sample sales on the street usually don’t have the good stuff (in fact, it’s usually Versace from the early 90s). Legitimate designer sales are hosted by the corporate office of the designer or showroom who represents that designer. They are usually word-of-mouth, but I also trust listings in New York Magazine.
Inspect the samples. Actual collection samples are used as just that, samples of the style for press (shooting in magazines), stylists (who may briefly dress their celebrity clients in them), and planning (the first example of a style to be put into production for stores). This means that they get plenty of wear. If you buy an actual sample, make sure that you inspect it for stains, holes, and major flaws. I once bought a sample top and didn’t realize that the straps were only basted (stitched temporarily) in–I eventually had to re-attach them myself.
Wear underwear. Oftentimes at sample sales there are no changing rooms. So if you want that 3.1 Phillip Lim Dress for 75% off, prepare to take it off. In front of strangers. I once had to change in front of a security guard at the Derek Lam sample sale. But for a $1500 East-West Bag for $200? Any day.
Tags: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Derek Lam, fashion, fashion industry, fashion intern, New York Magazine, sample sale