Where can you find the best pieces of vintage clothing
in the UK?
The Top 5 Vintage Clothing Cities.
BY COCO BROWN
In general, Manchester is a city full of life and culture. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that it is home to some of the best vintage shops in the country and is definitely on our list of top destinations to explore. We recommend you take a trip to the fashionable Northern Quarter of the city; grab a drink in one of the artsy coffee houses and amble around the Affleck’s Palace. We can promise you will find something.
Cow Vintage, 61 Church Street, M4 1PD
A favourite of the student community, this top vintage seller is full of 90s apparel. Whether it’s a denim jacket or a sports hoodie you’re after, this two-storey warehouse is always hiding a killer bargain somewhere.
Pop Boutique, 34-36 Oldham Street, M1 1JN
First opened in 1994, Pop Boutique is a reliable source of some of the best pieces in the city. Both the basement and the ground floor are packed with retro wear as well as some of the shop’s own branded goods. Plus, there is a café to take a rest in after your bargain hunting!
Thrift Shop, 39 Parker Street, M1 4AJ
Outside the Northern Quarter on the corner of Piccadilly Gardens, Thrift Shop is a cheap haven for vintage gear. With a unique pricing system, offering deals such as 3 for £10, you won’t leave here empty handed.
Retro Rehab, 91 Oldham Street, M4 1LW
n.b. the store is looking to relocate
About to kickstart an online site, Retro Rehab is renowned for its carefully selected hand-repaired pieces. There are items from every decade and all over the work, all given a new life and reworked to ensure a high quality.
GRIN, 52 Church Street, M4 1PW
Situated on the ground floor of Afflecks, GRIN offers a wide variety of products, from clothes to house plants. The home of the unusual, this is the place to visit if you are in the market from something quirky.
Other places include Junk, Oxfam Originals and Blue Rinse Vintage (see Leeds).
Vibrant and busy, you are never bored in Brighton. Head to the sea front and you will come across some of Britain’s most esteemed vintage shops, selling pieces in all styles and from all eras. Hats, trinkets and garms, this coastal city is jam-packed with old treasures and celebrates all styles and quirks.
Beyond Retro, 23 Gloucester Road, BN1 4AD
One of the biggest vintage stores in Brighton, this grungy warehouse, previously a bus depot, offers a considerable range of iconic vintage pieces. Selling both men and women’s apparel, you could leave with not just one, but a handful of completed outfits. Crafting their own line from reclaimed materials, the Beyond Retro LABEL also reworks vintage pieces using original and exciting designs.
To Be Worn Again, 12 Kensington Gardens, BN1 4AL / 24 Sydney Street, BN1 4EN
Having two shops in the city, there is no excuse to not visit To Be Worn Again. Hard to miss, the bright red flower-power signs hang above the railings of goods that protrude out into the streets. With a wide range of styles, find pieces including retro Hawaiian shirts and patterned skirts in their stores and at their unmissable kilo sales!
Snooper’s Paradise, 7/8 Kensington Gardens, BN1 4AL
In the attic of Snooper’s Paradise you will find an emporium of vintage goods. Featuring multiple collections, not only can you find stylish clothing, but also a variety of accessories to compliment it. An upstairs haven for thrift-store shoppers, you can leave here with anything from a scarf to a pair of retro sunglasses.
Independent Rag, 38 Sydney Street, BN1 4EP
A fan of American vintage, Independent Rag transports you to a world of baseball jackets and hippy wide-legs. Plenty of bargains for every season, with its retro garms and generous discounts, make sure you tick this one off your list.
Dirty Harry, 6 Sydney Street, BN1 4EN
One of Brighton’s most popular shops, Dirty Harry offers three whole floors of vintage and upcycled clothing behind the graphic entrance. Locals and visitors both praise the wide variety amongst the racks and can emerge with anything from a sweatshirt to a puffer or a pair of dungarees. Colour, diversity and quality, head to Dirty Harry as soon as you can!
Additional places to visit are Giant, Pauly’s Laundry and Flock.
Unlike Manchester, the vintage stores in Leeds are not in a concentrated area, but rather are scattered around the city. However, once you know where to go, you won’t turn back. Leeds is famous for its vintage aesthetic and its streets swarm with faux fur jackets and oversized 90s sweatshirts. This is a city with an abundance of one-off finds.
Blue Rinse, 9-11 Call Lane, LS1 7DH
Residing in Leeds since 1977, Blue Rinse has significantly expanded over the last forty years and can now be found in other locations and cities, including Manchester. Predominantly focused on 80s and 90s apparel, this established store offers a generous selection of clothes, accessories and reworked gems. The original vintage supplier in the city, every style-conscious buyer should make the pilgrimage.
BEST, 22 New Market Street, LS1 6DG
Doing what it says on the tin, BEST does indeed offer quality and attention to detail with its reworked items. Its Leeds flagship store is a must-visit for shoppers with a love of retro clothing. A three floor, treasure trove of selected vintage pieces, altered garms and their own branded goods, BEST has confidently put itself on the map.
Ryan Vintage, 13 Duncan Street, LS1 6DQ
This small corner shop is not to be underestimated. Packed with retro clothing, the shelves are particularly full of vintage sportswear, regularly displaying the likes of Adidas, Ellesse and Umbro. Yet, it is not just athleisure you will find, there is also the odd designer bargain to be found…
Aladdin’s Cave, 19 Queens Arcade, LS1 6LF
While you may not find a magic lamp or a football tee, this family-run gem stocks antique jewellery in its cabinets. Having supplied its customers for thirty years, many of its goods are much older.
Vintage Boutique, Headingley Lane, LS6 2AS
One of the best vintage stores in the city, Vintage Boutique is hidden in Hyde Park and does not disappoint. From antique gifts to vintage cowboy boots, each visit to this shop offers a new adventure and reveals a different prize. However, it also stocks the basics; if a leather jacket isn’t your thing then you can find a graphic sweatshirt instead!
Like Manchester, Leeds is also home to Cow and Pop Boutique.
It isn’t just the history of the city that Bristol has to offer; it’s fashion also comprises of pieces with stories to tell. Indulge in the second-hand retail opportunities that it has to offer and head south west to spice up your wardrobe.
Loot Vintage, 6-9 Haymarket Walk, BS1 3LN
A temple for the creative and unique, Loot is conveniently situated on the outskirts of the Bearpit, catering to the individuality of Stokes Croft. Selling rare, hand-picked one-offs from all over, it offers a balanced collection of branded and non-branded, original and reworked items. Its trendy interior showcases its 90s treasures and promises an exciting experience for all who visit.
RePsycho, 85 Gloucester Road, B37 8AS
Previously found trading in Portobello Road, RePsycho was opened in 1995 and is one of the oldest of Bristol’s vintage shops. Worth an afternoon trip, it’s three floors contain something for everyone, displaying stock from 60s accessories to 90s shell jackets. For music lovers, the basement is a museum of second-hand records with the floors above showcasing post-war furniture and apparel.
BS8 Vintage, 34 Park Street, BS1 5JG
At the bottom of Park Street, the collection at BS8 can be found spread around its spacious store. With its variety of vintage and modern fashion, you can mix and match your pieces from their considerable range of styles. Constantly updated, the stock at follow the trends closely.
Rhubarb Jumble, 52 North Street, BS3 1HJ
A recent edition to the vintage map, Rhubarb Jumble specialises in 1950s and 1970s clothing and homewares, selling handpicked pieces from all over the globe. Despite being smaller than some of the more established stores, this high-quality boutique has a unique retro style and stocks superior vintage items.
Rag Trade Boutique, 39a Cotham Hill, BS6 6JY
A fan of designer apparel? Head to Rag Trade Boutique as soon as possible. Despite its name, the collection here comprises of exclusive items, giving a new life to the old garments lying in the back of the wardrobes of Bristol’s women. Providing a high-end vintage visit, this boutique has an abundance of stylish temptations.
Not the only places for thrifty shopping, Urban Fox (run by the owners of RePsycho), Uncle Sam’s American Vintage and Don Majors are also on our list!
A record of our favourite locations for thrift shopping would not be complete without an insight into London’s vintage scene. Impossible to cover it all, we have selected some areas and specific stores that you cannot miss when you are in the capital.
The Brick Lane Vintage Market, 85 Brick Lane, E1 6QL
Maybe we are bias, but this underground warehouse is one of our favourite sites to explore what London’s vintage hoard has to offer. Affordable and vibrant, head down the tired stairs to be struck by a striking array of knock-out fashion statements. Plus, you can visit Thrifted’s own store amongst the basement boutiques!
Atika, 55-59 Hanbury Street, E1 6JP
In this stunningly renovated Victorian factory, Atika, formerly known as Blitz, opened in 2011 and has been a force to be reckoned with ever since. Marketed as a vintage department store, the floors are covered in trendy displays, impressive in their quality and quantity. Accessories, apparel and a more recent addition of lifestyle pieces, Atika should be at the top of everyone’s most visited list.
Home to the world’s largest antique market, a walk down Portobello Road is a bucket-list experience in itself. It’s weekly vintage stalls at the Green Market attract huge crowds of keen stylists and fashionistas with their eclectic range of products from all over the world. In addition to this, the stores that line the street are equally exciting. 282 Portobello, One of a Kind Archive and Found and Vision are a few notable names, but don’t neglect their neighbours!
Serotonin Vintage, 194 Brick Lane, E1 6SA
Heading back to Brick Lane, Serotonin Vintage caters for what they call their ‘Marilyn Manson meets Cher Horowitz’ clientele. Travel back to the 90s and browse through their diverse collection of designer clothing, finding names from Fendi to Dior.
Rokit, 42 Shelton Street, WC2H
With humble beginnings as a 1980s Camden market stall, since then Rokit proudly boasts to have recycled and rehomed over a million tonnes of discarded clothing and accessories. Initially specialising in vintage denim, this vintage supplier now sells hundreds of varied items across its four stores and online platforms. Handpicked and revamped, their unrivalled pieces are worn by large swaths of the London population.
Nordic Poetry and Paper Dress Vintage, amongst others, are also worth taking a trip to and don’t forget to explore Camden Market if you get the chance.