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Posted by Amused Co October 06, 2020
Since pre-loved fashion is only starting its journey here in Saudi Arabia, we wanted to take you through the life of someone who has been living and breathing pre-loved fashion much before it surfaced. We had the opportunity to sip a cup of tea with Baraa Al Khateeb, a multi talented person, engineer, banker, lifestyle consultant and an avid collector of vintage and pre-loved objects. Here’s everything Baraa had to say about his passion for collecting preloved luxury items.
1. How did you feel the first time you saw an item that made you appreciate pre-loved items and that you wanted to start collecting them? What piece was it?
Custom-made Cartier lighters made exclusively for the royal palace during King Fahad’s era. When you look at something so exclusive and rare, you owe it to everyone to showcase it in all its glory and unfold the story behind it. I got my hands on about 35 pieces of the lighter, so I took them to the Cartier showroom and had them authenticate the pieces for me. To my surprise, these lighters were made on a private order, and such orders usually consisted of a minimum of 200 pieces. However, only 7 out of the 35 that I bought were working, but I was so intrigued about the exclusivity of these lighters that I took the remaining with me to Paris to have them fixed. Everybody who saw them was in absolute awe of how I had acquired such a rare collection from the 80s. That’s what got me started on reading more about preloved items, and began collecting them.
2. What is a passion that you have that’s here to stay?
If it isn’t already obvious, my passion for vintage luxury items is definitely here to stay. The word I like to use is hedonistic - I like to indulge in luxury items, use them for the purpose that they were essentially designed for. I’m all about creating experiences out of my purchases. For instance, if I were to buy a fine cup, I’d go out of my way and buy the finest tea, the best table set and create an experience that I’d always remember when I look at the cups. These pieces have a story behind them that makes them all the more memorable. I like to discover hidden gems in pre-loved items, pieces that you usually wouldn’t choose.
3. What items do you collect?
I’ve always been inclined to collect items that I know I’ll be using in the future, such as shoes, glasses, accessories, clothes and so on. Although I never invested in watches because I wasn’t intrigued by them, recently I’ve been reading about them and I’ve started to gradually collect some timeless pieces. But something that I truly love collecting (and repurposing) is furniture. Almost all of my furniture is either vintage, recycled or reused in some manner. For me, the real value of a pre-loved item is not its price or name but the time it has lived in.
4. What is your relationship with the pieces that you have?
Each piece that I own has a unique and endearing story behind it, which makes it distinct from the other pieces that I have, ultimately giving me the creative freedom to maintain a different relationship with each of my pieces. All the pre-loved items that I have bought so far are exceptionally special to me. I always highlight that the sentimental value of the piece and the relationship I build with it is of more importance to me than the price I’m paying for it.
5. What brought you to AMUSED?
AMUSED is hands down a dream come true - it’s an outstanding platform that brings a community of people who think alike together. I’ve always wanted to see more people being interested in buying pre-loved luxury items. I love to encourage people to come forward and share their collection and to bring this idea to the table that if you have something that you want to pass on, look for someone who truly loves and appreciates the value of your piece and the story behind it rather than someone who wouldn’t recognise its true value.
6. Do you resonate with the sustainability values AMUSED has? Which one means the most to you?
Yes, I believe AMUSED is definitely going in the right direction with their sustainability values. I truly believe that AMUSED is on its way to becoming an exclusive platform where all items are handpicked and quality ensured.
One of their core values that truly resonates with me is that their items are not only handpicked but they go through a vetting process where their quality is ensured and the item is kept in mint new condition. They also relay the story behind the item to the new home that it is going to, and I believe it is important for you to connect to the item on a sentimental level before buying it.
7. What kind of an impact do you see AMUSED having on the society?
Pre-loved shopping is bound to leave a positive impact on the society and AMUSED is undoubtedly playing a spectacular role in making the Saudi community inspect their wardrobe and understand the value of the items that they own so they can utilise them in the best manner possible. It is giving people the opportunity to make more mindful decisions about their belongings while still telling a story.
8. What vision do you have for the luxury fashion industry in KSA? How is AMUSED contributing to that?
We all know that the fashion industry here has the second-highest number of consumers here, however, I would love for people to first appreciate and love the item, and then invest in it. These pieces have more than just the brand tag on them, so if you’re looking to buy a pre-loved item, I want you to see the story behind it, connect with it and then add it to your collection.
I used to have a vintage shop and people would always ask me why I sold pre-loved items. It took a while for them to realise that they also have such items in their homes and this awareness caused them to appreciate and cherish them even more. I’m glad that AMUSED is encouraging people to buy pre-loved items and setting the base for sustainable fashion in our country. It is offering people a platform that they can turn to for meaningful and worthy pieces that would enrich people’s wardrobes.
9. If you could give owners of luxury fashion items one advice, what would it be?
One advice that I would give is to look for stories, not just brand names. I cannot emphasise on this enough times that each item has a distinct story that it has lived and if you’re looking to invest your money into a piece, then look at its details, see the art in them. Look at the story each item holds and bring yourself to connect with it. I believe that such items serve us in the longer run and can also be passed down in the family, hence making it an investment that infuses your love for fashion with a sense of belonging.
After our conversation with Baraa Al Khateeb, I think it’s safe to say that preloved fashion is so much more than just a branded item; it’s an extension of the journey it has been through, the story it has lived, and the memories it has shared with its previous owner. Preloved luxury fashion is a lifestyle that truly enriches any wardrobe, no matter what your preferences in style might be.
Are you ready to start making new memories? Buy your first preloved piece now! Click here to see what we recommend as a first time purchase!