Designer discounts and invite-only sample sales in London

How to shop smart

As a student, lots of my friends are interning at major fashion houses or PR firms. Even more are working part time at boutiques and high end stores, where corporate discounts allow 10%- 20% off the majority of items. When it comes to taking advantage of these discounts and sample sales in London, if you’re not an employee yourself, I would check with your connections about their company policies. They don’t like to admit it but actually, a lot of designer labels are quite relaxed about letting their employees buy gifts for their friends. After all, that’s a good few 00’s made from one person that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Christopher Kane gave out free t-shirts once and sold those neon lace clutch bags from the early 2010’s for around £30. Nicholas Kirkwood hawks their sample sale shoes for £100, Erdem, Dolce and Gabbana, McQueen (chiffon white floor- length gown for £99 anyone?) also have incredible reductions. If you’re one to go for quality, designer goods but don’t necessarily have the budget for it then these kind of offers are the way to stock up on staples, as well as key statement pieces.

christopher kane belt


As for tribal knowledge, I’ve heard about brands like Burberry giving 40% deals for staff year-round but occasional invite-only sample sales taking nearly 90% off retail price. Christian Louboutin have an employee, friends and family sale of 40% off and Net-A-Porter give half off to their staff, with an allowance based on their earnings within the company. These kind of discounts are harder to get – you either need to be best friends forever with one of the insiders or work there yourself. But don’t be too disheartened, there are sample sales that feature regularly over the year that you can access if you know what to look out for.

These prices sound amazing, but what if you knew the real worth of these items? When I’ve frequented PR offices, there is a tag there for buyers and that number is indicative of just how high the mark-up of these designer labels really are (around 60% from cost). Of course this is normal for profit and nothing new, and these wholesale prices are inaccessible to normal shoppers so in a way, there’s no use lamenting.

What really balances the buying power of shoppers is the ability to shop smart, timelessly and at the right time. There are lots of resources updating the best sample sales in London and if you live in the East then lucky you, you may even stumble across a few casually, on your way to work. These sales usually occur around April and November, sales around Christmas, obviously Black Friday, and then summer sales occur in late July – early September (that’s how I scored these cute shoes). I’ve never been a fan of impulse shopping, it leads to ill-fitting clothes and incredibly faddish pieces that won’t take you past the current season. Instead, my tip would be to allocate your shopping budget to these key points in the year where you’ll get the best deal and can even score the items that you’ve been watching.

gill's galaxy tshirt

gill's clutch


  1. 11th May 2012 / 9:47 AM

    another nice post darling, I love sample sales! Is that time of the year in Milan too and I am ready to riad the spots tomorrow!

    and about the swimwear.. yes you are right! but I didn't thought about it because I am pretty pale and I usually don't get very tanned 🙂

  2. 11th May 2012 / 11:38 AM

    Great post – and good to know of these happening in London. I used to go to the sales in Miami; hence my collection of Acne jeans, Marc by Marc tops, and Tory Burch accessories which I payed 50%-90% off the original prices for. But in Israel, there simply are NO sample sales and it kills me sometimes.
    I have bookmarked this post for when I go to London (one day….) and I will be sure to plan my trip around the sales, because I would sure like to add some Christopher Kane to my wardrobe… xx

  3. 11th May 2012 / 12:37 PM

    Really great post, definitely keeping this advice in mind!

  4. 11th May 2012 / 10:17 PM

    I love sample sales! I wish I could have the time to go more often in NYC. All the pieces are amazing

  5. 12th May 2012 / 4:22 AM

    These discounts are definitely useful for someone like me whose size fluctuates annually! But another way I've gotten around that is just to keep everything, so when I get down to that old size again, there's always "shopping in my closet". Anyway, your pieces are always terrific!

  6. 12th May 2012 / 9:26 AM

    I really love reading your comments on this because it's so interesting. I've heard that NY have amazing ones I'm always reading about it on twitter, so envious.

  7. 12th May 2012 / 10:16 AM

    omg i am so lusting over the neon clutch!

  8. 12th May 2012 / 6:01 PM

    Oooooh you lucky thing. I definitely need to get involved in the sample sales in London.

    Fashion Dawgs

  9. 13th May 2012 / 2:03 PM

    These are great tips! I'd love to get my hands on some Christopher Kane! I've unfortunately never been to a shamble sale, but I'm dying to go to one!

  10. 13th May 2012 / 2:25 PM

    ah Christopher Kane! I wish we had such super sample sales

  11. 14th May 2012 / 5:01 AM

    Wish I had sample sales nearby my area. I would be going crazy. Those are some great finds you got! =)

    Melanie of Aetherlily

  12. 14th May 2012 / 6:16 PM

    So jealous, wish there were sample sales here! I absolutely love your first outfit with the white blazer and dress. Gorgeous. Your blog and style are so lovely =)

    Suzie Q

  13. 15th May 2012 / 9:24 PM

    I can't believe the staff discounts are so incredibly high! I think I am going to make some friends in my favorite stores right now… Thanks for sharing, this is really useful for quality lovers on a budget!

  14. 16th May 2012 / 5:40 PM

    I Love the first look, the white on white layering is beautiful! And that is such an amazing discount! Im your newest follower on bloglovin, lets keep in touch

  15. 17th May 2012 / 3:18 AM

    i like your style so much!

  16. 17th May 2012 / 3:55 AM

    nice share~ love reading your blog <33

  17. 19th May 2012 / 5:32 PM

    Beautiful images!!!

  18. 21st May 2012 / 4:25 AM

    Oh my lord that CK belt! I am so with you on shopping smart. Ever since I started working in production I hated paying retail when knowing how much it actually costs to make.

    Enjoy it!


  19. 21st May 2012 / 3:25 PM

    i saw this off your twitter the other day but never managed to comment lol..
    it's great that your country offers alot of sample sales.. we don't have much of those in Indo 🙁 and alot of people resort getting fakes instead :/

    ps. you look smashing on blogger's profile picture.. I seriously thought that u looked like liu wen off Vuitton's spring 12 runway !

  20. 24th May 2012 / 8:38 AM

    i really love the beaded belt=)

  21. 24th May 2012 / 1:03 PM

    The first look is absolutely beautiful. I love feathers!

  22. 25th May 2012 / 4:43 AM

    You had so many wonderful pictures! I really love them all, Andrea 🙂

  23. 25th May 2012 / 5:55 PM

    love all the pics

  24. 25th May 2012 / 9:17 PM

    'you were always too big for me anyway'. hahaha. youre so cute. i wish i can get on a plane and shop with you, love <3 hope that you are well.

    love, james

  25. 26th May 2012 / 12:05 PM

    OOh I love that you updated the post with sample sale dates! I wish I was in London too right now! eevn if I must confess that I spent already too much money in Milan's sample sale 🙂 it's so hard to stop shopping when prieces are low, right?

  26. 26th May 2012 / 2:43 PM

    great combinations and new proposals

  27. Anonymous
    25th January 2013 / 1:32 AM

    Interesting entry – how do you get invites though to the invite-only events such as Burberry?

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