A decade ago vintage stores were booming in London as girls tried to recreate the Alexa Chung look and boys toyed with Peter Doherty-style trilbies. But as fast fashion houses creeped in and the need for quantity, newness and next day delivery took over, many vintage stores fell out of vogue.
Thankfully fashion is turning on its heels, with a want for ethical, sustainable brands and transparency in where they come from becoming an important part of shopping for many of us. And there’s nothing that ticks the sustainability box better than vintage. What’s someone’s trash is inevitably someone else’s treasure and there are a host of vintage stores in the capital brimming with pre-loved delights.
Vintage will never go away but right now it’s definitely having a moment. Here’s where to shop to find your next vintage Chanel 2.55, second life Burberry trench or seriously loved old band tee.
Founded by Swedish-born Ameli Lindgren and stocking some of the best pre-loved designer pieces you’ll find in the capital, Nordic Poetry is well worth stopping in to if you’re a lover of curated vintage spaces.
The pink-hued interiors lined with secondhand pieces are a lesson in fashion history through the ages, with rows of clothing ranging from beautiful 1920’s silk Japanese robes to hard-to-find 1970’s Ossie Clark and Emilio Pucci, power dressing and perfectly washed out denim from the 1980’s to cult classics from 90s heroes such as Levi’s, Moschino Calvin Klein and Dolce&Gabbana
Nordic Poetry, 141 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E2 7DG
Expect a lot of pastels, frills and florals to be found at possibly London’s prettiest collection of vintage pieces.
Operating an appointment-only service, Laura Von Behr’s gorgeous light-filled studio on Blackstock Mews is worth a visit if you’re serious about your vintage but are after pieces that will last, suit you and are wearable.
Slow shopping at its finest.
Laura von Behr, Blackstock Mews N4
Step back in time to an absolute gem of a store that would totally go unnoticed if you didn’t know it was there.
Nestled on a quiet corner of Hackney Downs, they have a superb selection of women’s, men’s and interiors pieces all beautifully curated and put in colour order for your perusal.
It’s small but you could easily while a way an hour or two in there.
The Market Cartel, 12a Downs Court Parade, Amhurst Rd, London E8 2AQ
If you’re into your vintage tees that have that washed a thousand times magic to them, head to House of Vintage.
With stores in Hackney and Shoreditch, the selections aren’t massive but expertly picked and the staff are always super helpful and friendly.
A regular for anyone who’s mad about clothes with a past life.
House of Vintage 4 Cheshire Street, E2 6EH and
28 Amhurst Road, E8 1JN
A seemingly normal, yet charming little vintage store on the surface, One Of A Kind in Notting Hill is actually so much more.
My first trip to the store resulted in one of my most treasured London moments, when the owner, picking up on my love for fashion and vintage (I was a London College of Fashion student at the time) let me see the store’s hidden away private archive.
Usually reserved for collectors, museums, design houses, industry stylists, consultants, personal shoppers and private clients (ahem, Kate Moss) it really was like dying and going to fashion heaven without sounding terribly Ab Fab about it all.
Think floor to ceiling rows of lace and sequins, vintage Galliano, McQueen and Westwood quite literally dripping from the ceiling.
Even if you can’t book in to see the collection of over 5,000 collectors pieces, the store itself is well worth a visit and slap bang in the bustle of Notting Hill.
One of a Kind, 59 Portobello Road, London, W11 1LR
Portobello Market has always been the place to go for secondhand garms, but if you’re not visiting on a Friday or can’t handle the rain, pop into 282 Portobello Road for an undercover selection of pre-loved pieces.
Specialising in both men’s and women’s pieces, with a focus on “English sartorial elegance”, you might just be lucky enough to get your hands on a vintage Burberry mac or similar.
282 Portobello Road London W10
A department store dedicated to all things vintage, you’re going to need a while to make it though the rows and rows of stock at ATIKA.
Whether you’re after original 501s or the perfectly battered old leather jacket, it’s worth the slog of looking through 6,000 sq ft, five rooms and two floors of 20,000+ vintage pieces.
ATIKA, 55-59 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, London E1 5JP
Gigi’s Dressing Room
As the world slowly wakes up to the damage fast fashion is causing and the sheer unencessity of it all, Gigi’s Dressing Room is going the extra mile in sustainability.
Not only do they offer a beautiful selection of women’s vintage wears but you can hire some of the more special pieces for a particular occasion.
Whether it’s Victorian-style lace, power ’80s vibes or a 1950’s ballgown, Gigi’s has you covered.
Gigi’s Dressing Room, 104A Wood St, Walthamstow, London E17 3HX
Any vintage lover worth their salt knows Rellik, the jewel in the crown of London’s vintage scene.
Still independently owned since opening it’s doors in the ’90s, the vintage store specialises in woman’s pre-owned clothing and accessories and counts some of London’s top stylists as clients.
Rummage the rails for everything from the 1960s to the present day, Biba to Yves Saint Laurent, Ossie Clark to Helmet Lang.
Rellik, 8 Golborne Gardens, London W10 5NW
A vintage store by day and a bar by night, Paper Dress moonlights as many things – even a pop up yoga studio and live music venue.
This summer they’re also putting on Paper Dress Yard, an outdoor, social distanced space for drinks and DJs in the sunshine.
By day though and inside, the store sells women’s and men’s vintage pieces, shoes and accessories from 1900–1980s, hand-sourced from around the UK.
Paper Dress Vintage, 352a Mare Street
London E8 1HR