In this day and age, the effects of fast fashion are impossible to ignore and it’s increasingly important to buy our clothing whilst considering the environment. This is reflected by today’s more environmentally aware consumer who is prepared to buy second hand in a bid to save our planet. A 2019 report by Thred Up, a leading online retailer of second-hand goods, revealed that in 2018, 64% of women have bought or are open to buying second-hand goods, with 54% of consumers planning to spend more on second-hand clothing in the next five years. Sitting nicely in this second-hand bracket is vintage clothing. Not only does shopping vintage give you the opportunity to discover some quirky individual pieces, but it’s an integral part of the sustainable fashion scene. With this in mind, we take a look at the best vintage shops in London.
Location: Ladbroke Grove, West London
Why should I go here? This store has a variety of styles on offer and will be an instant hit if you’ve got a taste for designer fashion. Plus, if you shop here, you can say you’ve spent your money in the same place as big celeb names (what a bonus!).
Tell me more… If high-end vintage fashion is what you’ve got your sights set on, then this is the place to go, particularly if you’re on the lookout for accessories and footwear. You’ll be able to rummage your way through designer labels such as Vivienne Westwood, Pierre Cardin and Yohji Yamamoto. And not only do Rellick stock big names but the store has also been visited by them (think Lady Gaga and Kylie as regular patrons).
Containing items from the 1930s right up until today, one of the plus points of Rellik is that it has a wide variety of styles due to it being founded by three owners with different aesthetics. Therefore this one should go top of your list if you like mixing your style up or shopping with a group who all have their individual aesthetics. But if you’re after some new pieces you better be quick – their summer sale ends on Saturday the 17th of August and after this, the shop will be closed until the 3rd of September.
Location: Shoreditch, East London
Why should I go here? If the thought of getting something super individual sets your pulse racing then this is the one for you. Take your pick from reworked garments from ‘Remix by Atika’ or select something from an up and coming designer.
Tell me more… Describing themselves as a vintage department store, you can view Atika as the vintage (and much cooler) version of John Lewis. As well as flying the flag from up and coming designers, Atika is a shining example of sustainable fashion; not only does it sell second-hand clothes across different market levels from high-end brands such as Armani and sportswear brands like Nike but they have their own range, Remix by Atika. Launched in 2011 this range takes clothing from going to waste by remodifying it either in-store or at a local factory (extra green points awarded). And if you can’t make it to London? No worries, they have a super cool website, so you can shop online too.
Location: Marylebone, West London
Why should I shop here? If it’s fit for a Duchess, then it’s good enough for us. In all seriousness, if you’re looking for top-of-the-range hand-picked designer items, nowhere else compares.
Tell me more… This store owned by William Banks- Blaney is the PINNACLE of vintage (hence that Saturday shopping here is by appointment only). With haute couture items galore from the likes of Balmain and Oscar de la Renta, it’s no surprise that it is the destination for A-listers such as Victoria Beckham, Amal Clooney and the Duchess of Sussex.
Location: Pimlico, Central London
Why should I shop here? Celebrity donations fill this vintage shop which give proceeds to charity.
Tell me more… As well as showcasing sustainable fashion, Retromania is also an ethical place to purchase as it is run by charity FARA, meaning that proceeds go towards helping disadvantaged children in Romania. Whilst charity shops struggle to be viewed in the same lustworthy light as vintage, Retromania is certainly worth a visit as you are likely to come across the odd designer gem from brands such as Chanel and Chloe. With frequent donations coming in (some of which are allegedly from London-based stars), there is always a refresher of stock.
The Vintage Showroom
Location: Covent Garden, West London
Why shop here? This store is more menswear orientated but has classic pieces such as Levi Jackets in abundance.
Tell me more… Launched in 2007 by Douglas Gunn and Roy Luckett, The Vintage Showroom is the go-to location for vintage menswear. Housing military, classic sports and English country clothing, some of the collection has been noteworthy enough to be displayed in books which celebrate vintage and archival menswear. Whilst the showroom located near Notting Hill is by appointment only, items can be purchased from the retail outlet in Convent Garden.
So, has this tempted you to delve into second-hand shopping or were you an avid vintage fan anyway? We’d love to hear what your favourite vintage shop is in the comments below.
Text: Chaz Pond
Images: Thred Up, Rellik, Atika, Pascal Le Segretain, Visit London, The Vintage Showroom, Becca McHaffie