New York's sample sale scene is second-to-none, making it the best city on earth to find a fashion bargain. Read more >
The seasonal and constantly changing world of fashion means that brands often have items left over from past seasons, runway shows or the design and production process that they've collected in their offices or warehouses. Sample sales are sales events - often held in dedicated showrooms or event spaces - where you can buy these items at a significant discount on their normal retail value. Many sample sales discount between 70% to even 90% off.
Sample sales are often an experience in themselves - popular sales will frequently have queues to enter, you might have to store your coat or bag in a cloakroom, and you will often be competing with other shoppers to find and buy the items you want before others do. You you'll often find samples come in limited sizes, and you shouldn't expect the perks of proper luxury clothes shopping - many places don't have changing rooms and you're not likely to get a personal shopper!
Items bought in a sample sale are usually sold as is, and you won't be able to return them. Many sample sales accept cash and card, but check before you go, as some will be cash only or card only.
New York has one of the worlds most vibrant and eclectic fashion communities, and the sample sales match! You'll find sales ranging from luxury brands and high street labels through to independent and emerging brands. The sample sales for luxury and high street brands are often quite practical affairs where you are there to grab a bargain as quickly as possible - but the independent and emerging events can be a great way to discover a brand's clothes, meet the designers, and sometimes enjoy entertainment or drinks alongside the sales.
Along with sample sales organised by the brands themselves, there's also a rich calendar of sample sales organised by third parties or collectives. For example Shelly & Renee organise New York sample sales on behalf of many luxury brands and European labels, and companies like Soiffer Haskin and Clothingline host sample sales in their spaces all year round as well.
Because the fashion scene in NYC is so big, you'll find sample sales all year round - but the most common periods, or "sample sale seasons", are when the fashion seasons come to an end. Spring Summer sample sales often happen between April to June, and Autumn Winter sample sales happen October to December. These are the times that you really want to keep an eye on the sample sale calendar, and make sure you don't miss your favourite brands!
Considering this is off-season for New York sample sales, we've got an awful lot of them in the diary this week! In fact on Thursday you've got 13 sample sales in New York to choose from! But lets not get ahead of ourselves - we'll go day by day this week and pick our highlights.
On Monday we've got New York sample sales from MORIANO Shearling, Tangerine NYC, JSong, A New View Maternity - plus the continuation of the Blue Duck Shearling, Clever Alice, Ivy Kirzhner and Muleh sample sales from the weekend. But the New York sample sale we're most excited about that day is surely the return of the Tibi brick and mortar event. They stopped doing physical sample sales a few years ago, but they're back with one special New York sample sale on Wooster Street, caused by the renovation of their current store. Expect everything from past stock at 80% off to one-of-a-kinds and prototypes.
On Tuesday we add two more New York sample sales to the list. The first is from American Giant and is a great opportunity to save on some Made-in-America apparel. The second is the opening of the Five Story off-site sample sale at 260 Sample Sale in Greene Street. This runs through Sunday, and expect up to 75% off on an incredible range of top designer labels - it's definitely one to make sure you've got in your diary!
Wednesday, and you've got four new sample sales in New York to choose from. There's a multibrand sample sale hosted by 97 featuring M.PATMOS, Tess Giberson, Eleven Six and others, running through Sunday; a clearance sample sale from Vivienne Tam where you can get up to 80% off vintage samples; the first ever sample sale from footwear brand Margeaux, which will be stuffed with their handmade ballerina flats; and finally the return of the Parker sample sale, with prices starting from just $40! We're sure one of those New York sample sales will float your boat - so you best start looking for excuses for a longer lunch break now.
On Thursday Matt Bernson and Designer Revival join the New York sample sale party! Matt Bernson are bringing you up to 80% off their leather accessories and footwear in their showroom for three days, while Designer Revival are promising brands like Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Saint Laurent and many more with discounts of up to 90% off!
Finally, on Friday, fur fans are not going to want to miss this New York sample sale hosted by Soiffer Haskin, where Dennis Berso will be selling coats and clothing at a discount for five days only over the weekend.
Looking forward to next week then and the New York sample sale scene doesn't get much quieter - you've got sample sales from Archerie, Thomas Wylde, Theory, Helmut Lang, Morgane Le Fay, TASCHEN books and more! And we're expecting plenty more to be added to the diary - so make sure you're signed up to Chicmi's fashion email alerts and following us on the social network of your choice!
Published January 15th 2017