Not so long ago, sample sales meant waiting in line for hours and braving complete chaos for the chance to scoop up a favorite piece from an exclusive brand. While advertised on Instagram or via newsletter, for the most part, sample sales were an experience executed IRL. Flash sales, sample sales, friends and family, no matter what moniker they've adopted, brands and retailers are finding ways to take these sales to the internet. So, if you're looking for an easy way to keep track of them all, there are a few key sites that put it all in one place — and oftentimes have exclusive steals of their very own. And the best online sample sales have goodies on their site, for less, all year round.
The opportunity to get designer pieces at 70 to 80 percent off of their original asking price isn't a common occurrence, making these destinations well worth a scroll. Each boasts a unique smattering of brands, ranging from middle-market favorites (like GANNI, Staud and Tibi) to major luxury houses (Chanel, Gucci, and YSL). 260 Sample Sale is probably already on your radar, known for offering free subscribers special access to private sale events, both online and in-store. Lesser-known sites such as Clothingline offer a way into super-secret savings events.
Bookmark all the best sale destinations, ahead:
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Best Online Sample Sales: 260 Sample Sale
260 is best known for the fine-tuned selection of brands they focus on, curating all the best markdowns from today's brands in one place. Based in New York City, 260 runs weekly sample sale events, both private and public, in person with five locations in New York, one in Los Angeles, and one Miami, as well as online. Brands that 260 has hosted for sample sales include Reformation, Oscar de la Renta, NEST Fragrances, Marc Jacobs, Equinox, La Perla, and many more. Shoppers can save up to 80 percent off their favorite designer’s ready-to-wear pieces and exclusive styles from past seasons curated specifically by the 260 team.
Best Online Sample Sales: Chicmi
Chicmi offers exclusive sample sales through their site from a lineup of over 10,000 heavy-hitting luxury brands internationally. Their clients have included Versace, Balenciaga, Off-White, Billionaire Boys Club, and Bottega Veneta.
Beginning as a user-led interactive online fashion channel, the Chicmi online store was born directly out of its fashion community. Before offering sample sales via the internet, Chicmi was a secret destination for discovering local sample sales in cities such as London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, and L.A. Now, however, you can avoid queuing for hours and waiting in long lines (and using the dreaded sample sale shared space fitting room) to get a killer deal on some high fashion brand names by browsing Chicmi’s online sales curated by an in-house trends team.
Best Online Sample Sales: ShopDrop
This site features a one-of-a-kind app that makes shopping the latest markdowns even easier. Through the app, you’ll be able to find discounted designer merchandise anywhere from 60 to 85 percent off its original retail price. With a similar eye to that of 260 Sample Sale, ShopDrop is the one to bookmark and download for all the best middle-market savings.
With the massive transition from in-store to largely online shopping experiences circa March 2020, many brands opted to move their sample sales online. And while ShopDrop still informs shoppers of brick-and-mortar sample sales in New York City and Los Angeles, it also keeps you up-to-date on the many brands that have kept all or some of their merchandise sales online as a way to reach wider audiences.
Best Online Sample Sales: Shop UAL
Short for "United Apparel Liquidators," this one's just what it sounds like: Since 1980, the company — founded by a husband and wife in Hattiesburg, Mississippi — grabs the best from high fashion and marks it down by up to 90 percent. As a liquidator, UAL buys overstock and past-season items directly from high-end brands and department stores, which includes purchasing samples directly from designers.
As with all sample sales, the items listed on sites like UAL may have some light wear-and-tear from being tried on in stores and only come in limited sizes and quantities — so if you see something you like, you better snatch it up quickly. Recent brands featured on UAL include Givenchy, Rodarte, The Row, Jimmy Choo, Valentino, Drybar, Balenciaga, and many more.
Best Online Sample Sales: Nordstrom Rack Flash Events (HauteLook)
Previously under the name HauteLook, this Nordstrom-owned site hosts sample sales right on its site, featuring cult brands like Marc Jacobs, MAC, and Burberry. Merging Hautelook with its discount store, Nordstrom Rack, in early 2021, these flash sales hosted by Nordstrom offer opportunities to score brand name clothes, jewelry, shoes, beauty, and home goods at a fraction of their typical retail price during limited time daily events, along with private designer events.
Best Online Sample Sales: Clothingline
This smaller stock and sample sale site has been offering password protected access to unique sale opportunities for over 25 years. In addition to holding online and in-store events for big-name labels, Clothingline also seeks out merchandise from emerging designers, so that shoppers have access to both different price points and the most up-to-date trends and contemporary labels in fashion.
Some of the manufacturers Clothingline has worked with include Tory Burch, Helmut Lang, J. Crew, Free People, Theory, Tocca, and more. Being on the smaller side and running sales approximately 40 weeks per year, Clothingline is a well-kept secret destination to get access to killer markdowns. Since its schedule changes weekly, it’s important to keep up to date with Clothingline’s upcoming sales schedule.
Best Online Sample Sales: Rue La La
Through the site's free membership, members can access Rue La La’s carefully curated selection of polished contemporary pieces, with names large and small included in their designer roster. Each day, its shopping website displays different curated boutiques that typically begin in the morning and are only open for a short amount of time — anything from a few hours to a few days.
If you’re unsure about how long an event is set to last, each boutique has a countdown clock so you know when to snag the highly discounted designer items. You can also sign up for daily emails and push notifications to stay on top of Rue La La’s current and upcoming sales. Some brands that Rue La La features include Golden Goose, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, and Chloe, among so much more.
Best Online Sample Sales: Eclipse
With a goal of striving to make high fashion accessible to all, as well as promoting a more sustainable shopping experience by giving a second-life to items from past seasons, Eclipse is a must for sample sale shoppers. Delivering top-tier quality warehouse sales both in person in L.A. and New York City and online, Eclipse has offered sales from Maison Kitsune, Balmain, Rag & Bone, Soludos, Isabel Marant, Ted Baker, and many more brands.
Best Online Sample Sales: Depop
This one isn’t quite like the others on this list, but many brands, such as Miaou, Ganni, Maisie Wilen, Reformation, Anna Sui, and Rodarte, host exclusive sample sales on Depop. While the fashion marketplace app is generally used as a peer-to-peer reselling platform, Depop has recently seen an influx of brands using the app’s young and wide audience reach as another way to sell their items to a fashion forward community.
Of the items these designer brands choose to feature on the app, some are vintage pieces and others are more akin to traditional sample sale pieces — limited sizing and quantities, but amazing pieces to get your hands on at a lower price.
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