By Esme Bourne|
February 8, 2022|
4 mins read
London is the retail capital, where iconic designers, department stores and the latest trends emerge from the bustling cobbled streets of the city. Where you can shop till you drop at the latest pop-ups and flagship stores, London’s influence on fashion is not going anywhere anytime soon. As models prepare to strut down catwalks at London Fashion Week on the 18th of February, we are reminded of the city’s timeless fashion scene, which has become an icon in itself.
But when shopping in the capital, there is more to London than the latest department store. In full British style, to find the best fashion gems is to find yourself a second-hand steal. The epitome of London’s classically cool style can be found in the vintage stores across the city.
Part of experiencing London’s eclectic style is having rummaged through a second-hand clothing store to find the perfect investment piece. Not only will you find one-of-a-kind clothing and discounted designer treasures, buying clothes from thrift shops and vintage stores is the most sustainable way to shop. Keeping clothes out of landfills and closing the loop on the fashions waste problem means buying second-hand is stylishly sustainable.
Buying eco-conscious is our kind of shopping. So when you’re next in the capital, we’ve rounded up the best second-hand fashion stores so you can shop till you drop while being eco-friendly and budget-friendly.
East London is abundant with vintage stores, and Beyond Retro has set its mark. First opening in 2002, this decade-old vintage store knows what it’s doing. Satiating the street-wear, festival-goers wardrobe with brands beloved by Gen-Z, Beyond Retro is the one-stop-shop for all things vintage. With an accompanying website and stores from Dalston to Oxford Circus and across the UK, Beyond Retro has made vintage shopping easy and accessible. For everyone, this brand offers a plethora of retro wear, and Beyond Retro even have their own collection made from upcycled materials.
Established in 2016, Serotonin vintage has become a pilgrimage to Brick Lane. Selling the coolest designer offerings, this trip to East London is a must-have when thinking of vintage fashion in the capital. Offering one of a kind pieces to suit the latest fashion needs for the cool girls of London. Positioned in the heart of Brick Lane with pink neon lights and pink walls, this vintage store offers unique and wonderful designer pieces. After shopping, why not explore the bustling and eccentric Brick Lane and find some delicious vegan treats.
Location: Brick Lane
Atika is London’s largest second-hand shop. This vintage department store spans over two floors and houses over 20,000 vintage items. From fashion, homewares and art, whatever you may be looking for, Atika will most likely have it. Stocked to bursting with beautiful pre-loved clothing and housing an impressive collection of vintage jeans, this store in the heart of the city is a great place to start when beginning your second-hand shopping adventure.
With locations dotted around London, Rokit is another second-hand clothing store chain that established a name for itself in London. Supplying top-notch vintage finds across the city, Rokit curbs the cravings for branded streetwear and designer pieces. Whether you are heading to Glastonbury or want a vintage sweatshirt for the pub, whatever the occasion, Rokit will be sure to stock the coolest items. When out thrift shopping, be sure to find the nearest Rokit for your fix of second-hand fashion.
Location: Covent Garden
Where the fashion editors, stylists and ‘it’ girls of London congregate to browse the ultimate vintage investment pieces, Rellik offers a haven of second-hand designer wear. From Vivienne Westwood, Alaia to Comme des Garçons, Rellik is the Harrods alternative to second-hand shopping. Although not for everyone, this is a good place to note if you are on the lookout for something a little bit special. Found in North Kensington, you can browse discounted designer labels in the heart of West London.
Location: North Kensington
Highly rated as the capital’s favourite designer thrift store from the likes of Vogue, Nordic Poetry specialises in designer second-hand clothing. Featuring millennial pink walls, as any store should do, Nordic Poetry was founded by Swedish-born entrepreneur Ameli Lindgren and features deliciously vintage designer pieces. Nestled in the heart of East London, this second-hand store embodies the effortlessly cool London style. With an equally cool Instagram feed and a growing following, this Shoreditch based boutique is worth the visit for timeless and iconic fashion.
If you can’t make it to the streets of London for your fix of second-hand shopping, luckily for us, these vintage boutiques have entered a new era and have gone digital. Although nothing beats browsing the rails of pre-loved garments in search of that one investment piece, the pandemic made shopping in person impossible. So vintage stores went online, so you can consciously shop from the comfort of your home anywhere in the UK.
If you can’t find what you are looking for in London’s coolest vintage stores, the city is also one of the best places to go charity shopping in. With designer labels and luxury handbags tucked away in corners and hangers of shops, charity shopping can be a great way to find one-of-a-kind pieces. Charity shops such as Traid and Oxfam are great examples of second-hand havens while also supporting great causes.