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!
New York is full of some serious bargains this week, with over twenty New York sample sales to choose from, featuring everything from household brands through to indie labels, and even some homeware and childrenswear to throw in for good measure!
Because there's so many great New York sample sales to choose from this week, we're not going to go day by day, but instead will focus on our personal favorites and where we think you should focus to get the best discounts!
The highlight of this week's New York sample sale calendar surely has to be the Reformation sample sale. These are always a big deal, with the ethical-yet-super-stylish label bringing you up to 80% off over four days. It all kicks off on Thursday and runs through Sunday, happening just off Bowery on Bond Street. Definitely not one to miss!
Also an undoubted highlight of this week is the New York sample sale from Reiss. Being Brits (we are), we know that Reiss have a serious reputation as a high street brand of quality, and they've managed to retain their classy style while growing into a global brand. That's why we'll be eagerly waiting in line come Tuesday, when their six day sample sale takes over 260 Sample Sale on Fifth Avenue, promising discounts on their clothing for men and women, plus accessories! Be there or regret it!
At third place in this week's New York sample sale schedule, real bargain hunters are not going to want to skip out on the Privé Spring Sample Sale. Sample sale hunters know that Privé have hosted some of last seasons hottest sample sales, including brands like Theory, Helmut Lang and Marchesa - so when they say there's women's and men's clothing at a discount for four days, it's worth taking a peek! There's no named brands in the listing, but there's likely to be some pretty amazing items on offer.
After that, there's still so much to talk about! Honorable mentions then have to go to New York sample sales from Catherine Deane and Beretta from Monday; Foley + Corinna (with Ella & Jae Gypset and T-Shirt & Jeans), Kal Reiman and Desigual on Tuesday; gorgeous jewelry from Lionette by Noa Sade on Wednesday; more gorgeous jewelry from Melissa Joy Manning in SoHo on Thursday; and Steven Alan plus Steven Alan Optics on Friday. All in all it's a pretty spectacular week for New York discount shopping!
Next week we've already got SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker (re-arranged from last week due to the storm), Vivienne Westwood, Frye and more in the diary, so leave some dollars for the rest of the New York sample sale season - it's only going to get hotter!
Published March 19th 2017