What Goes Around Comes Around celebrated a quarter-century in business by opening last week a 3,500-square-foot, two-level flagship at 21 East 67th Street in Manhattan, and in another measure of its growth, the retailer took up occupancy in a new 30,000-square-foot headquarters in Jersey City, N.J.
Compared to the age of some of the products it sells, WGACA is a youngster. Unlike The Real Real and other relatively recent entrants to the resale stakes that don’t consign products a decade or more in age, WGACA revels in unusual items no longer in production.
Examples include a long beige shearling coat by Norma Kamali, whose archives were purchased by the retailer, a yellow crepe de chine Ossie Clark dress, and early period Gianni Versace, which was the subject of a retrospective mounted by WGACA in December at the late designer’s Miami mansion during Art Basel.
One of the early retailers to capitalize on the resale potential of vintage designer and luxury apparel and accessories, WGACA’s new flagship’s offerings represent cofounder Seth Weisser’s eye for products that have the potential to be rediscovered after earlier brushes with success.
“We collect super-rare pieces,” Weisser said. “We have a big range of diversity.”
“For the past year and a half, we’ve been pushing the Zucca print,” Weisser said of a display of Fendi Zucca and Bagette handbags on the second floor, “Fendi got the message. They did a Zucca collaboration with Net-a-porter. The Bagette is about to make a resurgence.”
“Kylie [Jenner] was wearing a lot of our Zucca pieces,” said cofounder Gerard Maione. “Every influencer bought Zucca pants from us.”
Weisser said the Dior saddle bag is also poised for a comeback, “inspired by the vintage market. We end up creating trends because we have so many celebrities and influencers as clients.”
“We look for timeless pieces that speak to brands’ legacies,” Weisser said, noting that the most expensive product in the store is an Hermès Grand Marriage Birkin handbag made of lizard, ostrich and crocodile skins and priced at $75,000.
The second floor is aimed toward neighborhood residents with a “world of Chanel, a mini Chanel department,” Maione said. “We customize the merchandise to the location. This store has a more classic and refined aesthetic. The main level has an edgier and cooler vibe with brands such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci.”
WGCA’s SoHo store on West Broadway goes even further with rock ‘n’ roll T-shirts and vintage Levi’s. “Jean-Paul Gaultier has been shopping with us at our SoHo store on West Broadway,” Maione said.
With its vast Chanel inventory, WGACA is thumbing its nose at the Paris-based fashion house. The retailer is being sued by Chanel, which alleges WGACA’s strategy is designed to suggest an affiliation or relationship with the the brand. The lawsuit, which was filed in March and is ongoing, also claims WGACA has sold counterfeit Chanel products.
Chanel’s patent leather heart-shaped handbag, wicker bag priced at $6,000, and velvet evening bags were pegged as collectibles. “Now that Chanel has discontinued exotic skins, that’s what people are coveting.” WGACA has many, including a small red lizard style from the Eighties, $4,500.
Chanel denim and tweed shoulder bags and novelty designs such as a green sequin classic flap handbag, $5,500, are on display. Ready-to-wear includes a Chanel blue quilted jacket with marabou feather trim, blazers with gold double C buttons, and baseball jackets.
“It’s shortsighted,” Weisser said of the legal action. “We’re comfortable with our position. We don’t think any consumers think of us as an authorized Chanel dealer. They understand this is not a Chanel store.”
“Chanel doesn’t retain control after a customer buys a product,” Maione said. “It’s faulty logic that only Chanel can authenticate Chanel products. There’s such an acceptance of the secondary market. The resale market is penetrating their force field. We know we have to take on the 100-pound gorilla.
“I don’t think resale plays into brands’ strategies,” Maione added. “They all don’t understand that resale is helping them. We validate them. I don’t think they see that.”
Hermès Kelly and Birkin bags are also in abundance. “We try to key in on distinct colors,” Weisser said. A red ostrich Kelly style is $39,000. A satin evening bag hasn’t been priced yet, but Weisser said, noting that an example of the style was auctioned at Christie’s for $9,000.
Hermès rtw includes classic reversible bomber jackets with scarf-print linings, a black leather trenchcoat, $5,500, and ostrich leather moto jacket, $9,500.
Collaborations and special editions such as Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with artist Takashi Murakami are money in the till, Weisser said, adding that “ Louis Vuitton’s monogrammed mink bag is a Kardashian favorite.”
Reacting to criticism that WGACA’s prices are too high, Maione said, “Some things are so rare and collectible, there’s no choice but that the price be higher. People don’t understand the difference between expensive and overpriced.”
“Every piece here, we’ve been saving for this store,” Maione said.