I think the first time I head of Vestiare Collective was during a social media campaign or possibly blog post written by my fashion muse, Susana Lau of Style Bubble. I've been a member with Vestiare Collective since December 2014 but up until recently I had never made a purchase, content to simply window shop and see the range of product they had available.
Don't get me wrong, I had always wanted to make a purchase with them, but as the prices are listed in USD and given the Australian dollar has been weak for years now it wasn't a cost effective decision.
Enter the Shrimps trousers:
The likes of which I had never seen on eBay and featuring hand drawn illustrations by Shrimps designer Hannah Weiland printed on silk and mine for a song. With currency conversion I would pay $80, and yet for some reason I was not convined. Like all of us I left the item in my cart and decided to sit on it.
To sweeten the deal, as my item waited patiently in my cart I was offered a code for free shipping, urging me to make that first purchase and I did. In doing so I saved $40 on shipping and felt pretty good about it to. From there the seller sends the item off to be checked for its authenticity, they say the process takes 3 days and then they mail you your item. Easy Right?
Vestiare Collective's is big on authenticity. Which makes sense given that people sell Fendi, Chanel, YSL... just about every fashion house and designer you can think of with a lot of chance for potential sellers to take advantage of this site. Mysterious experts check an item, aseessing its quality so customers have peace of mind they're getting the real deal. Well that's when the headache started.
Two and a half weeks after I had purchased the item, after sitting in their quality control centre for God knows how long, I get this message:
"During quality control, the item was flagged as ineligible for shipment
outside of Europe due to international shipping restrictions. If sent,
it is highly likely that this item will be confiscated and destroyed by
What the hell? It's not like the trousers are made of actual shrimp guys! Shrimps is just the name on the label!
I was then asked if I could supply a shipping address within Europe except Switzerland and Norway. Some of their clients would be able to afford getting their item redirected or perhaps sent to their apartment overseas but do I sit in that category? Absolutely not! So I've asked for a refund, given that their holding my silk pajama pants hostage in France.
It is very disappointing, at the end of this month I'll be leaving a steady paying job, working as a casual and won't have much money to buy on expensive luxury items. Let's just say lessoned learn, living in Australia I'm probably never going to receive anything I buy from the site, and I'm far bettter off just sticking to eBay and Etsy. If anyone has tried The Real Real or Tradesy I'd love to hear how your retail experience was as mine with VC happened to be for lack of a better word, horrible.
Perhaps I'll one day regret publishing this, but in an age where everyone is their own media brand and the consumer has so much power I don't think it comes as a big surprise when upon failing to deliver a product or service a company gets a n honest and very vocal review.