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London’s best affordable vintage shops

In case you missed it, there was a great piece in last week’s Observer about shopping for vintage. Eva Wiseman is addicted to vintage and, thanks to ever-rocketing prices in British boutiques, took a trip across the pool to Portland, Oregon – a city famous for for Chuck Palahniuck, the grunge movement and, now, for being  ‘the thrift capital of the world’ – to get her fix.

Its shops do indeed sound like absolute treasure troves, but do you really need to splash out on a plane ticket across the pond to grab the best vintage bargains? There may be a lot of over-priced moth-eaten crap masquerading as vintage fashion in London, but there are still a few gems dotted around if you look carefully. Here’s my guide to vintage top spots, London style…

Absolute Vintage is just off the vintage mecca of Brick Lane, yet somehow escapes the sky-high price tags usually found there. It’s chock-a-block with gorgeous one-off finds and an amazing collection of shoes, and I’m not the the only one to think so – Vogue, InStyle and the Evening Standard all love it, too.

Episode specialisies in gorgeously wearable, re-worked vintage pieces that are great for those who want to dabble in a bit of vintage but are scared of ending up looking like a bad impression of a 70’s TOTP extra. I love their re-fashioned halter dresses and brilliant collection of knits.

162 Holloway Road is a little-known aladdin’s cave stuffed full of anything and everything vintage. It’s all cheap as chips and the owners don’t seem too fussy about what they stock, so dedicate a good few hours to rummaging. But it’s definitely worth it, if only to laugh at some of the bizarre stuff on offer.

And finally, you might know it best for the scrummy organic market, a haven for east end hipsters and yummy mummies alike, but broadway market is also home to some fabulous vintage finds. Get there early for a browse in the sunshine whilst munching on the famous chocolate brownies, then pop to the Cat and Mutton for the obligatory afternoon pint.

What do you guys reckon? Are there any vintage delights in London I’ve missed off my list? Share them here!


1 Comment so far

  1. Hannah Wallis

    Ooh as I live in N5 I’ll have to investigate the Holloway Road shop.

    But if you’re ever in the area, there’s a good and inexpensive shop on Essex Road called Past Caring. It’s been there for years and hasn’t changed. There’s lots of vintage clothes and nick nacks (60s glass vases, 50s plates, furniture, baby cham glasses with the little deer on them (!) and other cute stuff). The clothes are a bit hit and miss, but isn’t that the joy of vintage shopping?

    And there’s a great 2nd hand record shop next door called Flashback if you want to dump your bored boyfriend somewhere while you browse!


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