High fashion on the high street

Alwoodley designer dress agency OWNF
Alwoodley designer dress agency OWNF
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Their penchant for designer labels has cost them thousands over the years but Elise Christie and Vivienne Edge never dreamed that it would one day EARN them money.

However, in a move welcomed by style-savvy women everywhere, the duo teamed up to launch online designer dress agency OWNF (Once Worn Never Forgotten).

Now, two years later, the entrepreneurs have opened a high-street boutique, in Alwoodley, and after just two weeks its success is exceeding even their expectations.

Vivienne said: “We’ve been so much busier than we thought, with people wanting to sell items.”

It is a mini money-spinner for affluent north Leeds women who like to clear out their couture clobber several times a year – and a money-saver for those on a budget who love high-end fashion.

The store stocks womenswear and childrenswear, with labels including Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo – some of which have never been worn.

Bargain hunters can pick up a designer dress for between £60 and £150, which might have retailed at between £400 and £1,000. And a Mulberry bag which cost £1,300 recently sold for £325.

Although everything is pre-owned, the pair were determined their boutique would be a world away from most second-hand stockists.

“People come in and say ‘is this all second hand?’ – they are a bit shocked. It just looks like a brand new designer boutique; and it definitely doesn’t smell like a vintage shop.”

The 26-year-old from Scarcroft added: “We have got a few customers who get rid of 50 items at a time and they are making quite a bit of money.

“Obviously they’ve spent a hell of a lot more money on the items in the first place but for the ease of bringing them to us and either getting cash that day or 60 per cent once they’ve been sold – they might as well.”