The city of London is home to beautiful art, rich history, and stunning landmarks. However, if sustainable shopping is one of your favorite pastimes, you’ll be delighted to learn that London is also rife with must-visit vintage stores, making it a haven for major vintage enthusiasts.
Whether you’re a native or a tourist, there’s an abundance of opportunities to shop vintage in the capital of England. One of my favorite spots is the famous Brick Lane Market. Located in East London, this iconic market is the city’s biggest vintage clothing spot, and remains a popular attraction for a reason. On any given day, the market is bustling with shoppers, while the mouthwatering smell of eclectic foods lures you to keep exploring.
So, if you’re looking to spend a few pounds mindfully, keep scrolling to learn more about which vintage stops you need to add to your agenda the next time you’re in London.
After grabbing a bite to eat, I encourage you to make your way to the Vintage Market, where vintage experts from around the United Kingdom showcase their clothes. Here, you’ll discover a wide range of treasures, from vintage denim and unique accessories, to glamorous fur coats and colorful decor that span across decades (think 1920s, 1990s, and everything in between). When you shop here, you can expect to walk away with something that’s one-of-a-kind.
Old Spitalfield Market
Looking for something to do on an ordinary Thursday? Made up of a community of traders, the Old Spitalfields Market is another can’t-miss spot, especially for its Thursday Antiques Market.
Whether you’re on the hunt for some Victorian screens, a 1930s steam trunk, or a vintage chaise lounge, you’ll likely find it here. And if you want more information on these antique pieces, the traders are happy to tell you everything you’d like to know. It’s a prime opportunity to build your knowledge and collection of antiques.
Hunky Dory Vintage
Hunky Dory Vintage is another Brick Lane Market gem for sustainable shoppers. They carry a wide range of vintage clothing pieces, including band tees, cool jackets, and statement-worthy accessories that allow you to showcase your distinct sense of style. Bonus: the items are in excellent condition and are just waiting for you to give them new life!
Levisons Vintage Clothing
Before you wrap up your shopping spree, don’t forget to stop by Levisions Vintage Clothing, also tucked away in the streets of East London. This hotspot handpicks rare vintage pieces and specializes in workwear, military clothing, and knitwear, making it a great location to diversify your wardrobe. They add new items to their stock on a weekly basis, providing plenty of opportunities for shoppers to find an absolute treasure.
Read Next: How Should You Get Rid Of Your Old Clothes, Exactly?
Tatiana Fayad. Photo: Courtesy Nouvelle Vague
There are fashion connoisseurs, and then, there are vintage lovers… those sartorial enthusiasts who can’t get over the romance of a painstakingly found piece from the yesteryears, which stands out not just for its impeccable detailing, but also for its history. Designer Tatiana Fayad, the woman behind accessory brand Vanina‘s beaded creations, is, believe it or not, one such collector. “My personal love story with vintage clothing started during my teenage years, when I started digging into my mother’s closets and found myself amazing pieces. These hand-me-downs made me realize the value of vintage fashion, and bit by bit, I started looking for unique and one-offs pieces while traveling,” she tells Vogue Arabia in a candid chat that takes us back to her childhood. “I started acquiring my own vintage stock with the dream that maybe one day, I could open my very own vintage shop.”
Bag, Louis Vuitton. Photo: Courtesy Nouvelle Vague
Come 2018, the dream was realized with the launch of Nouvelle Vague, Fayad’s very own vintage haven, which offers up age-old treasures to Beirut’s fashion-savvy set, and was soon followed by an e-commerce website aiming to become the main online destination for vintage lovers in Lebanon, and also the region. And this year, Nouvelle Vague took things one step further, introducing a special Dubai pop-up that promises a unique collection of eclectic, yet wearable pieces to shoppers in the UAE. “With new drops every week, you can expect to find everything from classics to statement pieces that have been selected for their quality and style,” the designer reveals.
Dress, Lille Rubin. Photo: Courtesy Nouvelle Vague
Keeping the importance of sustainable fashion in mind (“Clothes weren’t designed to be disposable, but to last and be cherished forever. The future of fashion has to be vintage, up-cycled designs and rentals,” says the designer, who also prioritizes the environment when working on new Vanina creations), Nouvelle Vague’s Dubai pop-up brings together vintage finds that reflect Tatiana Fayad’s discerning eye, and could very easily be spotted in her own closet. The key to finding the right piece, however, is to shop like a seasoned vintage store hopper.
Jacket, Saint Laurent. Photo: Courtesy Nouvelle Vague
Here are Fayad’s top five tips to shopping for vintage pieces like a professional
1. Invest in timeless, classical pieces, like an Yves Saint Laurent suit, or Emmanuel Ungaro dress, because if a design can withstand time, it means that it’s a good investment.
2. Make sure the garment fits you well. Since most of the vintage pieces that you find in stores have been worn several times, size does not really correspond to what’s indicated on the label. So be a little patient, and if there is no fitting room at the store, do not hesitate to try the garment directly on yourself.
3. Quality is paramount. You need to invest in vintage clothing that is perfect, so look out carefully for stains, marks, broken zips and missing buttons, as you will never be able to get stains out properly.
4. Feel the fabric. You may fall in love with a beautiful dress or a stunning shirt, but if it is made from a rigid fabric—think twice. Look for for cottons, silks, linens and denims, and always touch the clothing to make sure the piece still has life in it.
5. And lastly, be open-minded! Vintage shopping is an adventure. You may stumble upon your new favorite outfit, or something that may look good on you that you might not have chosen at first!
Can’t wait to dive into Nouvelle Vague’s Dubai pop-up? Keep an eye out for Fayad’s five favorite pieces
I have a special connection with every single piece that I collect and put on display, picking out just five is not an easy task! But here are a few of my favorites:
1. An Emilio Pucci printed dress from the 90s.
2. Chanel pointed-toe pumps from the early 2000s.
3. A heavily beaded Laurence Kazar cardigan from the 80s.
4. An Escada belt with golden hardware from the 90s.
5. A ribbed Alaia maxi dress from the 90s.
On till April 2022, Nouvelle Vague’s vintage pop-up is taking place at Kulture House Café
Clogs, Chanel. Photo: Courtesy Nouvelle Vague