When it comes to fashion, a deal is always a good idea. But a designer deal? Well now, that’s even better. While retail in Canada always seems to come at a higher price—and, in fact, it does, with government policies and taxes playing a big role in this—there are a few strategies to score designer deals without having to cross the border. Here are three ways to do just that. —Aleesha Harris
Designer outlets present an opportunity to find major discounts on new fashion finds. Typically operated by the individual brands, the direct-to-consumer shopping option sees items marked down an average of 25 to 65 per cent off retail. Two outlet complexes stand out in Canada: Toronto Premium Outlets and McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in Vancouver. Offering several Canadian exclusives such as Timberland, Karl Lagerfeld and Knix, Toronto Premium Outlets is a must-shop for fashion fans. In addition to “mid-luxe” outlet favourites like Michael Kors and Coach, the retail park offers more than 50 luxury brand stores, many of which can’t be found anywhere else in Canada, including Gucci, Prada, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Toronto Premium Outlets have become a “destination shopping” option for domestic and international shoppers searching for a deal. Vancouver is home to McArthurGlen Designer Outlet, featuring a wide variety of designer stores like Armani, Versace, Jimmy Choo and Stuart Weitzman. Situated conveniently close to Vancouver International Airport, McArthurGlen is a must-stop shop for travellers making their way in and out of the city. If you don’t live near either of these designer outlets, or don’t have plans to travel to one anytime soon, many of the stores offer phone orders and shipping to ensure more Canadians can take part in the designer deals.
Shopping apps have changed the retail game in recent years. Offering the experience of personalized shopping, complete with exclusive designer finds, shopping apps bring designer deals directly to you. Canadian-headquartered app ShopThing is a leader in the space. Offering a team of personal shoppers located in Toronto, Los Angeles, Paris and Dubai, the platform offers a curated collection of new—and, more recently, used as well—designer goods ranging from clothing to footwear to handbags. Unlike the shopping apps of individual brands, independent apps like ShopThing present a variety of designers in one easy place—and at prices that are typically much better than retail.
Canada’s preloved luxury market has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years. Where there were once a few key players, now there are seemingly countless options where shoppers can find authenticated secondhand styles by designers ranging from Chanel to Hermès. With several locations, including Vancouver and Toronto, Mine & Yours offers a treasure trove of preloved pieces. Celebrating its 10-year milestone this year with the opening of a new boutique in Kitsilano, the designer resale store’s offering can always be counted on to include coveted designer finds. Another standout in the Canadian luxury resale market, VSP boasts a curated collection of pieces that are meticulously styled and photographed online for an even more elevated shopping experience. With a location in Toronto, plus the original location in Calgary that opened under the original name Vespucci in 1986, VSP is a go-to for true fashion collectors. A must-see for the handbag obsessed, Luxe Du Jour offers perhaps the most comprehensive online offering of preloved designer handbags in Canada. Based in Calgary, with an outpost in Irvine, California, the resale site features an ever-evolving roster of current and vintage designer bags. Thanks to its secondary services such as Luxe Bag Rental and Luxe Bag Spa, where preloved pieces can be cleaned and refurbished for a fee, Luxe Du Jour makes scoring the perfect designer accessory an accessible option for more Canadian shoppers.