The sale of consignment clothing is up 25 per cent in Vancouver this year, and sellers say it's a sign that fashionistas are getting more frugal.

Vancouver's self-described "Queen of Consignment," Joy Mauro, has been running Turnabout consignment on South Granville since 1978. She now runs three stores in the Lower Mainland.

She said the rise in consignment is fueled by consumers who are becoming more quality conscious and want to buy pieces that will last a long time, especially now that the economy is softer and people are tightening their belts, so to speak.

The rise of internet shopping also means that people are much more aware of brand names, Mauro said, and are hunting out those status pieces.

The sale of gently used clothes has come a long way since Mauro opened her shop when she was 23.

The days of Value Village finds are making way for classic pieces from names like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel.

There are showcases of gently used designer products Mauro's Kitsilano consignment store, one-of-a-kind treasures like an emerald green designer dress, which retailed for $2,500 new and is now being sold for $895. It was only worn once.

A Chanel leather vest which retails for $2,000 is being sold for $575 secondhand.

"Just a few weeks ago we sold a beautiful knit Chanel dress for $2,200 in the store, so we get that kind of caliber of items," Mauro said.

Consignment clients are mostly between the ages of 25 and 55, with a practiced fashion eye.

Twenty years ago, Korena Rae Bergen was consignment customer number four at Turnabout, but now the chain has more than 14,000 customers.

"When I wear something one time that I thought I loved when I bought it and I realize that I don't love – for me, letting go is healthy," Berger said.

Turnabout's Connie Patjas said consigning clothes is not only a green practice; it's also one that's easy on your wallet.

"With the economy and the way it is right now, it's important to still have the pieces you love but to be wise with your money," she said.

People who sell their clothes on consignment get 40-per-cent of what the garment sells for. Cleaning and repair charges are deducted. Unsold items can be stored until the next season, returned to the seller or donated to charity.

Mauro said her stores like Value Village have taken the bottom end out of her business, so many consignment stores now focus on higher-end clothing that will fetch a good price.

Designer jeans like True Religion and 7 for all Mankind are in high demand.

The stores are also starting to sell clothing for men as well. Mauro said many women want to clean out their husband's closets to make more room for themselves.

Watch CTV tonight for the full report from Lynda Steele, and a look at the designer finds you can buy for half the price…