Guest post by Retro with Rosie
As a vintage-inspired blogger and seller of vintage clothing and accessories, for me London is simply the place to be. Not only does it offer endless opportunities for vintage shopping, but there’s also an exciting retro nightlife scene, with vintage inspired evenings firmly established in the mainstream.
As you can imagine, choosing my top ten vintage hotspots was a challenge! But here is my pick and it includes a mix of shops, markets and bars – enjoy.
Ahh…vintage mecca. If you can only hit one place on this list, make this the one. There are three wonderful London stores: a gigantic one in East London for serious shopping sessions, a smaller Soho branch and a third in Dalston. Their stock is very wearable and highly affordable – perfection.
This is where I first fell in love with shopping off the high street as a teenager. Portabello is a fabulous warren of stalls, offering everything from retro t-shirts, fresh young designs and gorgeous vintage telephones. Start at Ladbroke Grove and meander all the way down to Notting Hill, passing veg and antique stalls as you go.
You could spend hours browsing east London Absolute Vintage’s enormous range of vintage shoes and handbags, apparently the largest collection in the UK. The clothing isn’t half bad either! The company also just opened a sister store in Soho’s Berwick Street.
Whatever the setting, Judy’s stallholders always provide a tantalising range of fabulous vintage at great prices – guaranteed to be 75% less than the high street – so you really can indulge without the guilt. Even cheaper are the ‘kilo sales’, where literally tonnes of vintage are sold at a set price per kilo. I’d recommend getting there early to get your hands on the decent stuff.
Every Sunday morning, come rain, shine or snow, this narrow lane is packed with proper east end stallholders yelling their sales patter, surrounded by beautiful blooms. It’s so affordable that it’s genuinely possible to fill every room in your house with flowers. I even bought my Christmas tree here last year – much to the dismay of my boyfriend, who had to help me get it home on the bus. Columbia Road is lined with gorgeous independent shops, from beauty salons to bookshops. There are always a couple of stalls selling food and second-hand homewares, and you can bet on being serenaded by a band or two while you browse.
Hidden away in Islington, running parallel to Upper Street, lies a charming shambles of vintage shops spilling out onto the pavement. It’s perfect for browsing and treasure-hunting and there are antiques, knickknacks, jewellery, books and vintage clothing. There are also countless places to pick up a bite to eat or a coffee as you wander around. It’s best to head there on a Saturday or a Wednesday; the market’s main trading days.
Pop Up Vintage Fair offer a truly great range of quality vintage stock at decent prices – there’s both men and women’s vintage clothing; jewellery and accessories; knickknacks and homewares. Currently, the owners are mostly selling at Old Spitalfields Market on Saturdays.
Now if you’re looking for something really special you have to head to Juno Says Hello, a gorgeous online boutique dedicated to the finest selection of luxury vintage dresses. You can browse online and then arrange a time to pop to their London studio so you can try your dress on before you buy. Some dresses are available for hire too.
Held at the pub, gig venue and all-round creative outlet Boogaloo in Muswell Hill, Can’t Buy Me Love is a vintage market and jumble sale combined. Shop munching on cake while listening to DJs spin tunes. Hailed as ‘one of the most fun ways to shop’ by Time Out magazine, it aims to mix quality affordable vintage clothes and bric-a-brac as well as proper jumble – so you can always find something for 50p or a special antique.
- Can’t Buy Me Love – I have a stall here this weekend, come down and check it out! Image
If you’re exhausted from all the shopping, this Soho gem is the perfect place to recharge your retro batteries. The cosy vintage vibe makes you feel luxuriously spoilt as you decadently sip well-designed cocktails from floral teacups and jam jars.
So there you have it… my top ten London vintage hotspots. Where will you be heading first?
Rosie has a particular passion for making vintage pieces work in everyday life. She writes about vintage fashion on Retro with Rosie; offering style advice, shopping tips and hints on the latest vintage events happening in and around London. Rosie also sells hand-picked vintage clothing and accessories and is particularly excited to have a stall on Saturday 27th October, at Can’t Buy Me Love in North London. She’ll see you there!