If ever you find yourself feeling a bit jaded by fashion, asking yourself what the point of it all is, then we urge – nay, compel – you to pick up your phone and head over to @thomasluxlife on Instagram. A true fashionphile, the 14-year-old’s profile is a rapturous celebration of – as his account name implies – luxury fashion. It’s a warm, welcome reminder of what it felt like when you first set eyes on an Hermès Birkin or a Chanel Jumbo Classic Flap.
The first time the Maryland-based teen came across the latter accessory was on YouTube about two and a half years ago. “It really was like love at first sight!” he says, sparking a passion that would see him launch his very own platform just a year later. On his account – which has earned a loyal following of over 10k – you’ll find selfies of Thomas with a Fendi Baguette or Gucci Marmont in tow; posts of him gushing over the opportunity to behold his beloved Chanel grail in the flesh; and even hilarious Birkin memes.
So how does a 14-year-old gain such unfettered access to some of the most coveted bags out there? Well, in a testament to his industrious spirit, it’s due to the internship he bagged at Chic at The Beach, the pre-owned luxury consignment store where he spends a couple of hours a week immersing himself in the world of vintage luxury goods first hand.
Naturally, we were obsessed from the very moment we first clicked on Thomas’ account, so it was with greatest pleasure and excitement that we exchanged with the luxury-loving teen. Below, he gives us his must-have luxe item wishlist, shares his tips on what to look out for when investing in secondhand leather goods, and predicts what the next big vintage luxury leather accessory moment will be.
Hi Thomas! Give us a little introduction to who you are and your account.
My name is Thomas, I’m 14 years old and I live in the U.S. in the state of Maryland. I have a huge passion for fashion, and I wanted a platform to express myself, so I made my very first post on @thomasluxlife in October of 2020.
What are your favourite brands and why? What speaks to you about them?
My favourite brand is Hermès, because of the craftsmanship and the quality of their items – the prices go up, but the quality never goes down. My second favourite brand is Gucci because of the price point – comparatively speaking, it’s on the “affordable” side of luxury, and you get a lot of bang for your buck. My third and final favourite brand is Chanel. Chanel is a staple in any handbag lover’s closet because it is such an iconic brand and their bags go with almost any look.
What are the top pieces on your wish list, and why?
I have three items at the top of my wish list currently:
1: Hermès Birkin 35 in green (or any neutral colour) Togo leather with any colour hardware. I love the look and style of this bag.
2: A Chanel or Gucci long wallet. The wallets I currently own don’t hold cash very well, so I want something that will hold everything I need!
3: Chanel Jumbo flap. I love this bag and it will never go out of style
What would you say are the most iconic bags of all time?
There are many bags that are super iconic and timeless, but here are just a few:
1: Hermès Kelly
2: Hermès Birkin
3: Lady Dior
4: Gucci Jackie
5: Gucci Diana
6: Chanel Classic flap
7: Louis Vuitton Speedy
8: Louis Vuitton Neverfull
How did you first get involved with Chic at The Beach?
This is actually a little funny. I had begged my mom to take me to the store — which was only about 20 minutes away — because I’d heard so much about it, and had checked it out online. She finally agreed, and we went. While we were inside, looking at the Chanel and Louis Vuitton bags on display, my mom was chatting, and the owner happened to overhear me pronouncing “empreinte” correctly, and was amazed. She came over to talk, and said she’d never met “such a young person” who knew so much (I was 13 at the time). She offered for me to come and work at one of her “Champagne on the Deck” parties that Friday night, and I was so excited. I worked the party with her, helping customers, and she then offered me a few hours each weekend as an internship.
Who is your ultimate style icon?
My ultimate style icon is Ellen Didion. She is my boss, but she also has a huge passion for fashion! She doesn’t have an Instagram, but she sure is a fashionista. She loves shoes (she has a problem, lol) as well as handbags! She comes up with the best looks and she wears brands such as Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton.
What should people be looking out for when buying a vintage luxury piece?
The biggest thing people need to look at is the condition. This sounds very obvious, but most people skim over the bag and don’t look closely. Make sure to look at all the corners, the inside pockets, and the hardware – all for wear. Another thing to look out for is the resale value. Is it going to go up or down? It all depends on the bag you are looking at, so do some research before making the final decision to purchase a used bag/accessory. The last aspect to look for is authenticity. Many people buy goods without even asking about it, but most reliable resellers (online or in-store) will offer authentication or an authenticity guarantee.
Vintage and resale are very trendy right now. What are your predictions for the next vintage luxury it-bags?
I’ve had this prediction for a few months now but right now, tiny bags are all the hype and, in my opinion, I think that big and slouchy bags will come back within the next few years.
We’re huge fans of your Instagram account – what’s are your tips and tricks for creating great luxury fashion content?
My two tips are to have fun, and find your passion. Don’t ever feel pressured to post or to look a certain way. Have a love for what you want to do and really enjoy it. Show off that new Chanel or Louis Vuitton you got, and don’t feel bad (or worry what others might say) because you worked for it! Show it off! Ultimately, I strive to live by my personal mantra, which is: “It’s not what you wear – It’s who you are.”