Drop 15 – SECOND HAND AND DIFFUSION LINES – quality for everyone?

Drop 15 – SECOND HAND AND DIFFUSION LINES – quality for everyone?

For the savvy shopper, there is a myriad of ways to find quality pieces and archive gems. For those not in the second-hand game, for our Drop 15, we collected some of the lesser-known ideas for navigating the ever-expanding second-hand market: vintage diffusion lines, lesser-known designers and pieces not yet vintage.




Diffusion lines often have a bad rep – some of them actually do so understandably, others less so. Let’s take a closer look at the idea of the diffusion line.

Especially in the early aughts but basically, whenever materialism was at a height, flashy designs and these lines big logos were uber popular. But that was not the beginning of secondary lines as we know them today. They first peaked in the 70s and then rose in popularity again in the 90s. Offering a secondary line used to be great to have an additional creative outlet, to reach another market, to target a new or different customer group. It could have a different style or look similar to the main lines designs but it was great to bolster the brands’ bottom line. 

Initially, diffusion lines initially started in Haute Couture. The brands wanted to become more profitable, therefore created perfumes and licensed small accessories as for example sunglasses to later expand into clothing. As a concrete example: YSLs ready-to-wear line, YSL Rive Gauche, initially is to be considered a diffusion line to the Couture business. These clothes were simpler versions of the runway designs to offer them to more fashionable women – and back then the fashion world was shocked by it.

Today the most successful secondary lines have a different style from their main lines – for a simple reason: they have an identity, give something authentic to the clients. So to speak Miu Miu was initially a younger second creative outlet for Prada and therefore could be considered one. The difference is: Miu Miu is not associated with Prada at all, therefore it is its own brand and not in fact a diffusion line. The failed ones on the other hand often create the feeling of being a washed-down version of the main line and leave a bitter aftertaste of just being a moneymaker with the customers. To add insult to injury many customers thought of these brands as secondary labels and lesser than.

Nonetheless, many of them faltered over the last decade, some were shuttered as they diluted the image of the main line, while others cannibalized to many customers off the main line. Many more were given up due to fast fashion – customers didn’t feel the urge anymore to purchase simplified designs from secondary lines when Zara or H&M offered copies of the main lines’ runway pieces.

So how to avoid cheap copies of intricate designs? Shop for vintage secondary line. They are of higher quality and haven’t only been created for money-making purposes. Look at the YSL lines and their couture counterparts to see the strong references and resemblances.





There are a number of tips and tricks when it comes to shopping second-hand. One of them is to keep it simple: go for a couple of seasons old – not last season so it is still on trend and for sure don’t go for the trend pieces to avoid a dated look. Taking a gamble and building a vintage collection is the only reason to purchase trend pieces just out of fashion – as they can be snatched up for incredibly low prices. If you have a good feeling for it you will be able to find pieces that later on will become valuable and will be re-issued or secondhand sought after. It is best to buy former it bags that have not yet been reissued. After a bit of research, you need to find the bags that match the zeitgeist of next season so you can buy them cheaply before everyone else is looking.

If you want to find pieces to wear today: opt for pieces that cannot be easily dated. Avoid designers who release notable prints for one season only. Find pieces that are only a few seasons old, not yet vintage but old enough to be forgotten. The focus here is on timeless and classic pieces in muted or neutral tones. Having a bold color that is no longer sought after and a design slightly out of fashion often leads to an outfit that appears thrown together and unfashionable instead of chic.





Everyone is lusting after vintage Dior, Chanel and Galliano but there are many more designers who are less broadly known. These today so unfamiliar sounding designers had their own Maisons, which went out of business, they have been bought out of and the naming rights ended in some desk drawer or they might only be around due to small licensing deals. Some of them designed for the biggest players in Luxury today. Some of their designs are actually in high demand right now and for they created equally fabulous garments for their namesake labels.

One of these creators is Louis Feraud. As a true artist, he was not only a famous fashion designer but as well a painter in his own right. His career started with a small boutique in the French Riviera only to be accelerated by Brigitte Bardot when she wore one of his dresses. He even designed for several of her films. In total he created costumes for about 20 movies, as well as some of his creations were to be seen on the television series Dynasty. He worked with graphic patterns and geometric prints as well as colorful designs, perfect for the summer. Ferauds designs focused on seductive women who prioritize comfort and freedom.

Jean Louis Scherrer was one of his contemporaries who initially wanted to become a dancer but ended up dressing the likes of Sophia Loren and Jackie Kennedy. His vintage designs are still pulled by stylists as red carpet looks for the likes of Amal Clooney or Anne Hathaway. Scherrer and Yves Saint Laurent worked together as assistant Designers at Dior but as well for Louis Feraud. His namesake label started in 1962 and made headlines in 1992 as he was the first couturier ever to be evicted from his own couture house. Famous for his opulent designs, tailored jackets and fitted cocktail dresses he took many inspirations from the Bauhaus era. Perfectly fitting for the 80s glamour and extravaganza his designs exuded wealth.


Both were couturiers and even if some deem them to be the more insignificant there are always multiple things to consider.

One: being able to call yourself a couturier at all is an immense honor

Two: some might think them to be lesser today but potentially competitors were just better in marketing. Chanel survived, while the actually more creative and innovative house of Schiaparelli faltered, as the owner was not that good in selling herself.

Three: trends change – so maybe they are not popular now but so was Mugler a couple years ago, whoms archive designs today are seen everywhere and worn by all the current It-Girls.