Guide: UK’s Best Vintage Shops
October 8, 2008 by Lena Weber
Lena writes: This Autumn / Winter’s key fashion trends are all inspired by past decades: 70s rock chick, edgy punk and 50s lace. The easiest way of updating your wardrobe with original on-trend pieces is to head to your nearest vintage shop.
Vintage has become one of the biggest trends in fashion over the last few years. Once frowned upon, secondhand clothes are now recognized as individual, high quality alternatives to the high street.
A firm favorite with fashion trendsetters and celebrities alike, no red carpet is complete without an actress turning heads in a gorgeous vintage frock. And who knows, maybe there is a fantastic 50s prom dress or Chanel clutch waiting to be found just by you.
To help make buying from vintage stores easier I’ve compiled this directory of my favourite UK vintage fashion shops, many of which sell online too.Happy foraging!
Absolute Vintage, 15 Hanbury St, Spitalfields, London, E1 6QR
Huge shoe collection neatly arranged by colour. Was voted one of the top 100 shops you must visit in the world.
· Rokit Vintage, 101 + 107 Brick Lane, London, E1 6SE & 255 Camden High Street, London, NW1 7BU & 42 Shelton Street, Covent Garden, WC2 9H2
Four shops around London stock a massive amount of men’s and women’s vintage clothing and accessories. They also sell home accessories.
· One of a Kind Vintage, 253 Portobello Road, London, W11 1LR
Tiny little shop in Notting Hill specializing in vintage designer clothes. A favorite with Kate Moss and other famous fashionistas, so not cheap but perfect for celeb spotting.
· The Girl Can’t Help It, Alfies Antique Market, 13-25 Church Street, London NW8 8DT
Amazing selection of mainly 40s and 50s dresses and accessories. The shop is located in a huge indoor antiques market, make sure to check out the other vintage shops there as well.
· 21st Century Retro, 162 Holloway Road, London, N7 8DQ
Crammed full of vintage finds. It might require some digging, but there are real bargains to me made as most stuff is under £20
· Best Vintage, 11 Wellington Place, Belfast, BT1 6GB & 14 Highbridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1EN
Both stores have a great selection of mainly 80s vintage for men and women
· Attica Vintage, 2 Old George Yard, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1EZ
A treasure trove of 20th Century vintage fashion, furniture and décor. Great selection of evening gowns.
· Decades, 20 Lord Street West, Blackburn, Lancs, BB2 1JX
Crammed full of dresses, gowns and the odd lycra number. Great selection of 70s flares.
· Pop Boutique, 58 Whitechapel, Liverpool, L1 6EG & 34-36 Oldham St., Manchester M1
A whopping 250 tons of vintage are processed in the Pop Boutiques each year, so there are plenty of finds for men and women. Great range of 60s and 70s clothing. They also have their own pop brand of retro wear.
· Decadence Vintage Clothing, 39 Waverley Drive, Bangor, County Down, BT20 5LD
Great selection of hand-picked vintage. Don’t miss the special bridal section for amazing wedding frocks and accessories.
· Paddy Barras, 15 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2HS
Lovely shop on one of Edinburgh’s oldest streets. Best for vintage textiles, lace, hats and shawls.
· Armstrongs, 83 The Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2HJ
Just down the road from Paddy Barras’, Armstrongs stock traditional Scottish Highland wear and fabrics (kilts, tweed and cashmere) as well as the usual vintage clothes and accessories.
· Mr Ben, Unit 6, Kings Court, 99 King St, Glasgow, G1 5RB
Funky, psychedelic 60s and 70s vintage clothes for both men and women. Great shoe collection.
· Vintage Clobber, 920 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH7 6DL
Carefully selected vintage clothes, some designer labels, nice collection of bags.
· The Real McCoy, 21 McCoys Arcade, Fore Street, Exeter, Devon
A two floor vintage experience including a fancy dress section, licensed café and great vintage Levis selection.
· Blind Lemon Vintage
A series of vintage fairs held all over the country from Bristol and Nottingham, to Cardiff, Cheltenham and Exeter. Entry to fairs costs £4.50 (£3.50 concessions). You can expect mens and womens wear from Victoriana to the 70s, accessories and even resfreshment. Check their website for forthcoming dates.
· London Vintage Fashion Fair
Some call it ‘the Rolls-Royce of vintage fashion fairs’ as over 100 leading vintage fashion retailrs come together every five to six weeks in Hammersmith and Olympia to sell clothes, shoes, textiles and accessories from the 1800s to the 1990s. Entry costs between £5 and £10, check their website for forthcoming dates.
· Leeds Vinatge Fashion Fair
Held at Leeds Town Hall, this newly created fair has plenty of vintage fashion from 1900 to the 1980s for sale. Entry costs £3. Check their website for forthcoming dates.