In January, lolita fashion spaces are flooded with posts about “lucky packs”, inexpensive bundles of goods sold by Japanese and Japanese inspired brands. While these packs used to be for clearing out space for new inventory, they’ve morphed into mini collections in their own right. Lucky packs often get touted as a good way for newbies to the fashion to expand their wardrobe. But they’re not the only way to get new, discounted merch! One of the things that people talk about far less are “seconds packs”.
Second to none
Seconds packs or b-grade items are items that have some sort of defect that are sold at a discounted price. Generally, these are unworn pieces of merchandise that the seller just can’t justify asking full price for.
The most common place that you might have encountered b-grade items is with enamel pins. Because of the nature of the manufacturing process, enamel pin production can result in small defects like bubbles or scratches. Artists may grade their pins and offer “defect” pins as blind bags, b-grades, or lucky packs. It’s also pretty common for artists that use embroidery to have flawed items, which can be offered as seconds.
The biggest downside to seconds or b-grade items is that they are often sold in blind packs, so you don’t know what you’re getting. This can lead to waste, as you may not receive an item you’ll wear. In the cases of blind seconds packs, I always make sure that I love every item from that artist. And frankly, I’ve never been disappointed that way!
Hunting for seconds
I follow lots of indie brands on social media. When artists I have my eye on offer up these b-grades, I jump at the chance! I’ve personally purchased seconds from Siriusbound, Glitterbones Boutique, and Teja Jamilla. In all of these cases, I really couldn’t tell you what the “defect” in the item was. I love them as much as items I paid full price for!
I think less people talk about seconds or b-grade items because they’re less predictable. There isn’t a time of year when all brands offer up seconds (although I think maybe we should start one!) However, I think that it’s a great way support smaller brands that you might not be able to afford at full price. The indie brands get to clear out unwanted or old inventory, and you get a piece you couldn’t have gotten otherwise.
Not sure where to start looking for seconds packs? Here are some brands that are selling seconds or b grades right now:
Starcrossed Lovelies (via the Lolita Collective)
Flores Astorum (including a variety of Japanese indie brands
Make sure you sign up for mailing lists and follow these brands on social media so you can be the first to know when these packs go up for sale!