If you're anything like us, you spent at least some part of lockdown clearing out your wardrobe, saying goodbye to clutter and making way for things that 'spark joy'.

During your dig out, you may have realised just how many piles of ill-fitting or untouched items you have hidden on the back of your shelves, and with the spring clean finally done, now is the perfect time to reinvent your summer wardrobe.

Charity shops are ready and waiting for your unwanted bits and pieces and there are talented upcyclers who can transform your old dress into a fabulous two piece. But what about handbags?

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If you have a designer bag that no longer has a place in your heart, make your self an appointment at Brown Thomas on Grafton Street in the personal shopping rooms this Saturday, June 26th.

Paddy Coughlan from Designer Exchange will be standing by to exchange customers pre-loved handbags for a Brown Thomas gift card. That old bag could quickly become a gorgeous new pair of shoes...

"We'll be taking everything from Michael Kors, DKNY, Chanel, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton," Paddy tells me over the phone.

"We try not to put roadblocks in the way of someone getting their item to us," he continues, explaining that there will be no need for receipts or original dust bags or boxes from sellers as they have their own state of the art method for authenticating bags in store.

Condition wise, if your bag has a few signs of wear and tear, fear not. The item can be sent to Andrew Farrell at Handbag Therapy for some sprucing up, and the cost will be taken into consideration of the sale.

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With the rise of peer to peer shopping apps like Depop and a growing interest in sustainable fashion among the Gen Z trendsetters, it seems that customers are coming around to pre-loved items now more than ever.

According to Paddy, this may be the perfect time to dip into the designer trade game as lockdown has seen his stockpile increase "exponentially".

"This is the first time in anyone's generation that we managed to take a big deep breath, slow down a bit, and evaluate things," he explains. "People did that in their droves. We did a lot of work on our website during lockdown and we were able to reach out to customers and say 'now is the time to shake up your wardrobe'."

"The quality of the industry drives the quality of trades that come in," he continues. "If we've got people trading quality items to us then other people will trade quality to buy that, and it becomes a whole trading process which is the ethos of what we do."

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When it comes to buying and selling designer goods, it comes as no surprise that some brands will steadfastly remain more popular than others. In fact, according to the recent AMR Luxury Handbag report, resold Chanel flap bags show average values have risen 132% over the last 10 years.

"If I knew I could have 20 or 30 Chanel classic bags every day, I could get rid of the rest of the stock," admits Paddy.

"The big drive items at the moment are Chanel Classic Flap Bags; Louis Vuitton Neverfull and Speedys; Gucci Marmonts; Gucci mini-bags and camera bags; Hermès' Kellys and Birkins."

"Vintage itself - bags that are 15-years old and over - have a massive appeal," he adds. "Vintage Chanel has really come to the fore as well. People want something that has had a life. It's partly down to a lot of the influencers out there that are championing vintage in the right way, but it's also down to the buyers wanting to do better and buy better."

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The move to sustainable fashion has been so noticeable among buyers, in fact, that retail heavy weights like Arnotts and Brown Thomas want in on the action.

"We developed a really great relationship with Arnotts and it really shows that big retailers are seeing what we do as the way forward instead of the ugly duckling of the fashion world," says Paddy.

"The pre-loved element of things has really come to the fore when it comes to the sustainability drive of the companies. The best thing about this venture is that we chose Brown Thomas and Arnotts as much as they chose us.