Reasons to shop: Sample sales

Jenessa Williams

A frenzy of queues on industrial estates, secretive email invitations and that heart-stopping moment where you spy the perfect outfit for a fraction of its retail price, sample sales can be a joy with the right mindset and level of patience. Not convinced? Here are five reasons to keep your eye out for a discount event near you…

Designer looks on a high street budget


Image via NetaDresser

The outstanding highlight of a sample sale is, of course, the potential for a hefty price drop—this is every designer's ideal opportunity to empty their studios ahead of the next season so there are some serious gems to be had.

Although we all fall foul of the need to have our coveted items in our hands immediately, you’d be surprised by what can turn up at a sample sale just by waiting for a season to be over—this writer once bagged a Whitepepper top for 70 per cent discount just by waiting a few weeks after it’s initial release.

Just remember to take cash—many sample sales won’t accept credit cards.

Read more: 5 Reasons to shop vintage

 

Get an insight into a designer


Image via Mike Petrucci

Aside from items that were simply over-produced or didn’t meet quality control standards, a good rummage through a sample sale will often reveal much more about a designer than what you see in department stores.

Explore the different incarnations a garment went through to reach it’s final design, experience different colourways that never made it to retail and often, meet the designer themselves. Lots of independents love to man the tills at their own sample sales as a means of getting in touch with their most ardent followers.

 

Petite shoppers rejoice

When a designer is sampling, they will often produce garments in a size 4-8 in order to keep fabrics costs low and fit their often very petite models. This is the perfect opportunity for shoppers who tend to fit into smaller items to shop on a budget—small sizes sell out quickly instore but will make up a large proportion of a sample sale.

Be willing to think outside the box and shop out of season—you may not be ready to wear that military jacket now but come autumn it will be a key trend piece and a solid investment.

Come prepared by wearing simple layers that are easy to remove and try things on over as sample sales are often far too busy to allow changing rooms, so be prepared to leave your modesty at the door.

 

Support new talent

Sample sales offer the opportunity to support new designers that may not have fit your budget previously.

Various websites such as SampleSaleGuide and LoveFashionSales list events right across the country featuring names you may never have heard of but could offer up that piece your wardrobe has been missing.

Do your research and shop sensibly; although the offers are tempting, a bargain is only really a bargain if you need it—or at very least really want it…

 

Stay in the know

By their very nature, sample sales encourage the diehards—people who have long followed a designer and industry experts who know the value of supporting independents.

If you’re looking to make contacts in the fashion industry, these are often the events to be seen at. Go armed with business cards and make conversation with interesting people—just make sure you’ve let them snap up their bargains first!

 

Read more fashion tips from Jenessa Williams

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