Feel a bit lost with the huge number of vintage shops nowadays? Emma Waight guides us through the best of the bunch in London.
Why buy new clothes when you can buy authentic vintage pieces for the same price? Long-time vintage lovers would argue that the recent surge in interest for vintage fashion has pushed up prices, but vintage fashion still offers excellent value for money in many cases. When buying into vintage, you are getting something individual, maybe even unique, and you are almost certainly getting better quality than what you’ll find on the high street. They don’t make clothes like they used to you know.
London is a treasure trove for vintage lovers, offering fashion from all eras and all levels of quality. There’s no doubt about it, there are plenty of gems out there, the problem is knowing where to look. Vintage stores are spread out right across London. Hours of valuable shopping time can be wasted traipsing across the city. This is why it is best to start the day with a strategy and with that in mind, here are some of my personal favourite vintage London stores.
1. Absolute Vintage, Spitalfields, (15 Hanbury Street). One of London’s most famed vintage shops, Absolute Vintage is still reasonably priced for London and offers a huge range of women’s and men’s vintage style. They have the largest vintage shoe and bag collection in the UK and garments are categorised by colour and style. You can even shop online.
2. St CYR Vintage, Camden Market, (Arch 56 Camden Stables Market). Hidden in the depths of Camden Stables Market is this gem. A large shop and full to the brim with vintage lovelies, you could easily lose an hour in here. Stocking women’s fashion, organised in categories and sizes, it is a joy to browse. Alongside vintage fashion from the 1920s onwards, the store has a fantastic range of fashion and historical costume books, perfect for students and fashion lovers alike.
3. Beyond Retro, Brick Lane/Soho, (110-112 Cheshire Street/58-59 Great Marlborough Street). Another big name in the world of vintage, Beyond Retro work slightly different to other vintage stores as all of their stock is brought from charities. With sustainability at its heart, Beyond Retro stocks a wide selection of vintage fashions throughout the eras. As well as the three London stores, you can also shop in their Brighton store and online.
4. Bang Bang, Soho, (21 Goodge Street/9 Berwick Street). Bang Bang is a clothing exchange store with two locations in London. They are the place to go for pre-loved clothing and designer vintage from the 1960s to 1990s, where 80s Vivienne Westwood rubs shoulders with 90s Topshop. As a clothing exchange, you can pop in anytime with your own wardrobe rejects for the chance to make a bit of cash. Click here to find out how to sell your stuff.
5. The Gathering Goddess, Notting Hill, (219 Westbourne Park Road). If you want the best quality vintage that looks as good as it did new, head to designer vintage boutique the Gathering Goddess. They stock a carefully edited collection of vintage pieces and offer an exclusive shopper experience. An in-house seamstress is there to get the best out of the pieces and offers an alteration service.
Photo: Emma Waight