Such is the demand for vintage clothing that prices have gone through the roof when it comes to collectable items and those which are keenly sourced by stylists, designers and fashion houses alike. This leaves little room for vintage lovers or part-time collectors, so it pays to know what to look for and where to look.
For those-in-the-know there are a number of events, such as Fashion Fairs and vintage clothing auctions which take place in London on a regular basis. These bring customers from as far away as New York and they offer the chance to find some one-off pieces that are highly sought-after. Those who are unable to make it to a particular event can visit the many specialist vintage fashion shops in London; the most frequented of which is Rellik, the first port of call for the artistically blocked, according to Imogen Edwards-Jones, in her fashion exposé, Fashion Babylon. Some of these stores also offer the chance to purchase online.
The following is a list of the current hip and hot vintage stores in London. As with all vintage clothing outlets, what you find they have to offer depends on luck and timing. Some clothing can be bought online, which means that if you are a vintage devotee, you can continue to keep a watchful eye on the sites. Rokit in Covent Garden has a particularly user-friendly website. Bear in mind, that given the current resurgence in vintage clothing, there are new stores opening all the time.
List: Best Vintage Clothing Stores in The UK
Awarded “Best Vintage Shop in London” by In Style magazine, this store has the largest selection of vintage shoes in the UK, mainly sourced from Canada and Europe. It is recommended by Vogue UK as one of the top 100 stores to visit in the world and has been features in numerous publications included London’s Evening Standard and Time Out, Japanese Vogue, and the UK’s Elle and NewWoman.
Situated in Hanbury Street, East London, near Liverpool Street underground station, Absolute Vintage is a must for vintage footwear, from sparkly evening shoes to slouchy boots. Visit their website, where it’s also possible to buy online. Or visit our online vintage clothing shop.
Appleby —Westbourne Grove
Situated at Westbourne Park Villas, Notting Hill, if you can’t get there in person then take a look at the website, as clothing listed with prices can be bought online. This shop is a bit of a well-kept secret, a hidden gem. For more information visit applebyvintage.com.
Reputedly Sienna Miller’s favorite vintage shop, One of a Kind at 253 & 259 Portobello Road, is a small but veritable treasure trove of goodies. Owned by a Rastafarian Londoner, the two sister shops, are almost adjacent to one another; one is more exclusive, viewing by appointment only, and the other is a regular shop.
These narrow fronted outlets (blink and you’ll miss them) belie what’s inside, as the shops are stocked full of clothing from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Visit the website for more details, 1ofakind-shop.com.
According to Urbanpath.com, “Palette London has an eclectic selection of pristine vintage fashion, homewares, shoes, books and much more.” Its staff are knowledgeable the store has a finder-service and prices range from £10 to £900. The shop sells vintage fashion from such designer greats as Missoni, Ossie Clark, Pucci, Halson, DVF, Chanel and Gucci. Situated at 21 Canonbury Lane, Islington, Palette London has its own website, palette-london.com.
Rellik in London’s Notting Hill, just off Golborne Road, in Ladbroke Grove, is owned by ex-Portobello market stallholders, Fiona Stuart, Claire Stansfield and Steven Phillip. The owners are careful what they stock, sifting out the rubbish first, and therefore the shop is a popular haunt of many designers, looking for that one unique piece that will inspire them for next season, as Rellick is one of the few vintage stores known for catering to vintage trends. Rellik is also a favorite of Kate Moss and Kylie Minogue and has its own website.
Situated in Shelton Street, in the tourist district of Covent Garden, this is one of four stores located in Camden, Brick Lane as well as Convent Garden. Rokit falls into the higher price bracket, but does have a bargain basement and has an eclectic range of classic and quirky pieces. Items can be purchased online, from its comprehensive and professional website, you can search by clothing type or era.
Steinberg &Tolkein — Chelsea
Steinberg &Tolkein is situated on the King’s Road in Chelsea. Most of their pieces are one-offs, and therefore in the higher price bracket. Staff are helpful and knowledgeable and you can pick up some valuable pieces.
The Girl Can’t Help It — St John’s Wood
Situated in Alfie’s Antique Market, Church Street, this is the place to go if you’re looking for Hollywood glamour. The store has been featured in Vogue magazine’s “100 Shopping secrets,” and has rails are filled with high quality mid 20th century vintage clothing, mostly sourced from America. According to Urbanpath.com “customers include designers, celebrities, stylists, film and TV wardrobe assistant and anyone looking to get their hands on a piece of unique, wearable fashion.” Visit the store website for more information at thegirlcanthelpit.com.
London Street Markets
With such a wide selection of stores, there is bound to be something to suit all vintage shoppers. However, London’s numerous and vibrant markets are also a good place to shop for vintage fashion; although traders are wising up to demand, and often boutique owners are first on the scene.
Try London’s famous Portobello Road market, Camden market (especially on Sunday mornings), and Friday’s Old Spitalfields Fashion Market, a short walk from Shoreditch underground station.
If you like you may visit our online vintage clothing shop.