Seth Weisser, left, and Gerard Maione, founders of What Goes Around Comes Around

Meet the men behind What Goes Around Comes Around

Seth Weisser and Gerard Mainone founded New York’s most glamorous retailer of vintage luxury accessories 25 years ago. At the close of New York Fashion Week, Christie’s will be mounting a sale of some of the duo’s favourite pieces

Founded in New York City’s SoHo neighbourhood in 1993 by Seth Weisser and Gerard Maione, luxury vintage retailer What Goes Around Comes Around has long been the go-to spot for fashion-industry insiders, celebrities and other in-the-know clients. Today, additional outposts of WGACA can be found in Beverly Hills, Miami Beach and East Hampton, each stocked with a carefully curated selection of exceptional finds from Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent and more.

On 18 September WGACA will mark its 25th anniversary with a landmark sale at Christie’s. The auction, which includes one-of-a-kind items and coveted vintage pieces by the likes of Hermès and Chanel, among many others, offers an opportunity to acquire some of the founders’ own favourites.

Ahead of the sale, Seth Weisser talks to us about how it all began, and shares his predictions for the luxury vintage market.

How did What Goes Around Comes Around get started?

Seth Weisser: ‘Gerard and I founded WGACA in 1993 with the goal of creating a curated luxury lifestyle shopping experience with vintage as the base. At that time no company had successfully created a true retail experience that combined the “best” of each era with the “best” of each top brand. What set WGACA apart was our highly selective curation and keen understanding of the high-fashion market.’

How do you go about sourcing vintage handbags, and what do you look for?

SW: ‘Our team of expert buyers travels the world and sources products directly from private collectors, top dealers and auctions. As a business, we buy outright and directly invest in the products we believe in. This is quite different to most companies out there, and as a result many top-tier clients and collectors prefer to sell directly to us.

‘We also have amazing longstanding relationships with our clientele, which makes them more comfortable entrusting our team with the process of finding a great new home for their one-of-a-kind pieces.’

What is the difference between buying a new handbag and buying on the secondary market?

SW: ‘There is clearly a big difference between buying new versus “pre-loved”. Primarily, buying on the secondary market allows clients access to discontinued items that are no longer available from the brands themselves. Luxury is about quality and exclusivity. Many items we offer are extremely rare, and the only way to acquire them is through the secondary market.

A custom rose tyrien & ultraviolet epsom leather retourné Kelly 32 with gold hardware, Hermès, 2011. 32 w x 23 h x 11 d cm. Estimate $8,000-10,000. Offered in What Goes Around Comes Around 25th Anniversary Auction on 18 September 2018 at Christie’s in New York

A custom rose tyrien & ultraviolet epsom leather retourné Kelly 32 with gold hardware, Hermès, 2011. 32 w x 23 h x 11 d cm. Estimate: $8,000-10,000. Offered in What Goes Around Comes Around 25th Anniversary Auction on 18 September 2018 at Christie’s in New York

‘Our goal at WGACA has always been to seek out the unique items, allowing our clients to find those perfect pieces that allow them to express their individual style. In today’s world of oversaturation and total access, we feel that many “pre-owned” items are even more exclusive than what’s currently out there. This is one of the reasons we have such an amazing following.’

Tell us about the rise of the male market for vintage luxury — do you see this continuing to be a significant element of your business in coming years?

SW: ‘From the beginning, Gerard and I — two New York native guys — sought to offer the What Goes Around Comes Around experience to both men and women. These days, men’s luxury is only getting bigger and the market is growing year after year. We have seen a tremendous increase in our male client base, with men now collecting on the same level as our female clients have historically.

‘From our early days of vintage Levi’s and rock T-shirts, we’ve evolved to offer a variety of options for men, including super-rare pieces from iconic designers like Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Evolving and servicing the male luxury vintage fashion market continues to be a key area of focus and differentiation for WGACA.’