When pattern maker Irving Schott decided to start selling raincoats door-to-door, he had no idea he was about to invent one of the most ubiquitous fashion items to date. After being the first to put a zipper on a jacket, in 1928 Schott’s next innovation culminated in what we now call a motorcycle jacket. Named after a cigar, “The Perfecto” jacket was an instant hit, selling nationwide after Schott struck a deal with Harley Davidson. It soon gained cultural meaning after Marlon Brando sported a Schott motorcycle jacket in the 1953 movie “The Wild One,” followed by icon James Dean and punk stars like Joan Jett, the Ramones and The Sex Pistols. It became a symbol of the rebel and the bad boy, a stigma that led to the leather jacket being banned in schools during the 1950s.
But today, the leather jacket has transcended all stereotypes, age groups, races and genders. It is now a wardrobe staple, worn by people from all walks of life. Timeless, seasonless and able to be paired with just about anything, a leather jacket is an essential for a reason. This means there will always be a demand for leather jackets on the resale market, but considering the variety of styles, colors and brands, it can be hard to decide on the right time to consign your leather jacket. We tapped our experts to answer your burning questions on consigning your leather jacket.
If you have a classic…
According to our experts, there will always be a demand for simple styles. “The classics still remain king,” says Fashion Valuation Manager Billy Garcia. “Balenciaga and Saint Laurent moto jackets are two examples that are still staples after many seasons. Color is another factor that affects the resale value of leather jackets. Black and neutral colors always retain higher value.”
Classics will weather any trend-driven storm due to their versatility. “When you look at classic motorcycle jackets from Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent, you see how they can be worn formally with a tailored shirt and dress pants or casually with a slim fit flannel and vintage jeans,” says Fashion Valuation Manager Julio Cortez.
Brand name and shape are other factors to consider. “Biker style leather jackets à la Acne and Balenciaga are currently reselling for 50% of the original retail price, that’s 2X higher than overall women’s leather. Trends have moved away from fitted, cropped styles and towards longer, oversized silhouettes,” says Merchandising Manager Noelle Sciacca.
Even when trend-driven pieces like embellished and embroidered jackets are in style, as they are currently thanks to the influence of Gucci, there will still be a demand for classics. “It’s refreshing to see consignors and shoppers in our brick and mortar locations gravitating towards classic, minimal staples — a ‘back to basics’ look,” says Cortez. The bottom line is that there will never be a bad time to consign a classic leather jacket.
If you have a trend-driven piece…
While classics are always in style, trend-driven pieces are currently having their moment. “With the resurgence of Gucci and Alessandro Michele bringing back archival designs from the ’70s and ’80s era, Gucci leather jackets have gone up in value, so now is the time to consign them,” says Garcia.
Cortez agrees. “If you own leather jackets featuring embellished trims or floral embroidery, consider consigning these styles now while the demand for similar styles is still high enough on the secondary market to net you a return closer to what you originally paid. If you sit on a trend piece too long, you may eventually end up consigning the item for a return as low as 10% of your original spend,” he says.
If you have an older piece…
Another reason to consider consigning your leather jacket is that leather gets better with age. An old leather jacket gains character; leather molds to fit the shape of the wearer and will develop a patina over time, creating a natural-looking sheen. “Depending on the brand, a leather jacket can actually increase in resale value over time. Shoppers actually look for leather jackets with a worn look, as it takes years to achieve it organically,” says Garcia.
If you have an #OldCéline…
Today’s eccentric fashion landscape is marked by contradictory aesthetics trending at the same time. So while Gucci may have spawned the rise of maximalism, Phoebe Philo’s age of minimalism continues to thrive even years after her departure from Céline. “Although Hedi Slimane’s Celine has become more and more popular – he seems to have single handedly brought back ’70s style – #OldCéline fans are still on the hunt for pieces from Phoebe Philo’s reign,” says Sciacca. “Search for the former creative director’s designs is up +148% since last year. When she left Céline, Phoebe shook the fashion industry. The wake created a widespread desire for all things stealthy luxury – think clean lines and minimalism at their best. It’s no wonder demand is soaring for brands with similar sensibilities like Bottega Veneta and Jil Sander. ”
If you have a ’90s-style leather blazer…
The ’90s seem to be having a comeback in just about every fashion department, leather jackets included. With its boxy silhouette, button-up fastening and statement collar (or lack thereof), a leather blazer is the perfect way to channel your inner ’90s fashion icons, from Julia Roberts to Carrie Bradshaw. “With colored leather clothing taking over street style sightings and fall runways like Salvatore Ferragamo & Givenchy, leather blazers are in high demand,” says Sciacca. “We’ve seen demand for this style increase +100% since last year. Among the most searched leather blazer brands this year are Balmain, Saint Laurent, Jil Sander and The Row. I also recommend consigning the bold blues and reds from unexpected luxury brands like Akris.”
Will shoppers buy your jacket?
Make sure you have a quality jacket on your hands by inspecting the label carefully. “See what materials were used to produce the jacket and always look at the percentages of materials used,” advises Garcia. “The higher the percentage of single materials, the better the quality, as many mixtures of different materials can be an indication of toxins and plastic used as fillers. Look out for anything marked as natural such as ‘Natural Calf Leather’ or ‘Natural Dyed,’ which means that minerals and vegetables were used to create the dye instead of unnatural materials.”
Another important consideration is the location of production. “Certain countries have more prestige in their craftsmanship. Italian and French leather pieces are highly regarded for their quality due to the history of artisans who have passed down their expertise for generations,” he says.
How to take care of leather to maximize resale value …
Although leather gets better with age, this does not mean it should be exempt from proper care. “Prolonged exposure to the elements will alter the appearance of any leather jacket, so if you’re looking to enjoy your jacket in hopes of consigning it in the future, I recommend regularly storing your jacket away from windows and moisture when not in use, in addition to giving it an at-home conditioning every few weeks for preventative care,” says Cortez.
However, you can still ensure your jacket ages while taking care of it. “My tip is to wear your jacket a lot so it will form to your body, especially in the heat. Aged leather is better than the new look,” says Garcia.
What about genuine vs. vegan leather?
While faux leather may seem like a more ethical choice, it’s not as simple as that. “Investing in a leather jacket over a synthetic leather jacket comes down to preference, and it’s important to note there are pros and cons when it comes to the sustainability of both genuine and synthetic leather products,” says Cortez. “Many synthetic leather jackets are not biodegradable and are typically made of materials containing harmful chemicals.”
Another point to remember is that anytime you consign, you are giving clothing a second life and contributing to a cyclical fashion chain. Consigning your leather jacket offers shoppers a way to invest in genuine leather in a sustainable way. “Consignment keeps pieces that have already been produced in circulation for longer,” says Cortez.
So if you do have vegan leather, now is a great time to consign it, let someone else love it and maximize its use. “Demand for faux leather is also on the rise with Stella McCartney & Chanel among the top purchased brands. Searches for Nanushka, the Budapest-based label known for its coveted vegan leather styles, have increased +1000% since last year,” says Sciacca.
Ready to earn back on your investment? Consign your leather jacket today.