Freelance travel writer and Policy Adviser for the UK government living in Brixton. View my blog www.my-big-fat-carbon-footprint.blogspot.com for ethical and budget travel inspiration
Published April 15th 2013
Find designer threads for less
London's sample sales are the stuff of legends. The problem is, they're usually a pretty well kept secret by the big fashion PRs or by the designer's themselves. Press releases for the events usually arrive on our desks only two weeks or so before the sale itself and some designers are embarassd to publicise the sales too much because it makes them look a bit down-market.
So why have them at all? The haute-couture fashion industry is dependent on seasons. When a Stella McCartney piece is out of date, those with the cash are unlikely to waste it on a piece with last years frills or collar. Welcome the sample sales. This is a chance for the designers to reduce unsold pieces of next season's fashions, or to sell their clothes for a limited number of hours only to entice people to invest in other key-staples for next season's wardrobe.
Sample sales can include prices of up to 90% off some items. Big names in couture including See by Chloe and Matthew Williamson often have items in the sample sales which are really buyable, rather than obscure, unusable wallets or hideous scarves like some unnamed designers throw in.
Some, like the Secret Sample Sale, have been running for three years now, and it's far from secret. But there are always bargains galore so you may as well make the most of it's lack of anonymity to find it, rummage and emerge, decked from head to toe in designer threads.
In London, it's best to keep your eyes peeled on the following venues for sample sales, and get there early. If a sale runs between 8am-5pm, I guarantee that by 4.45pm, the only thing left for the taking will be that hideous frilly violet purse.
The Music Room in Mayfair The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane Dray Walk @ The Old Truman Brewery