Secondhand shopping is so far the best sustainable and affordable alternative I’ve found to fast fashion, and London is one of my favorite cities for finding vintage clothing. Read on to discover which shops to visit if you’re looking to update your wardrobe with cute, eco-friendly clothes on the cheap.
Crisis is a charity on a mission to end homelessness, and buying from their charity shops raises funds for their cause. They have two locations in London, a small one in Hackney and a larger one in Finsbury Park. I personally love the Finsbury Park location because it’s not only a secondhand shop full of clothes, shoes, and accessories for any gender, it also has a coffee shop and an amazing selection of books. I scored a vintage 1940s book about witches and a secondhand copy of Just Kids by Patti Smith which I had been looking everywhere for.
Traid has plenty of locations throughout London yet I’m always excited to come to the Dalston shop just for the vibe. It feels like a boutique Freddie Mercury or David Bowie would frequent. So if your sense of style is also reminiscent of a glam rocker, this is the place for you. A couple of friends admitted they couldn’t see themselves wearing some of the clothes outside of a fancy dress party. However, my wardrobe is made up of various statement pieces inspired by decades past. Therefore wearing blue velvet boots with a fringed jacket is a perfectly ordinary look for me.
Oxfam shops are everywhere in London but I personally love this location. I don’t know what it is about the Dalston shop, maybe the residents have the same sense of style as me? Or maybe I just like the clothes that nobody else wants. Either way, every time I come in here I always score amazing finds that are usually under £5. It’s a tiny store but it’s got an incredible selection of clothes, shoes, and other accessories. You really don’t have to dig around very much to find affordable gems here.
So… hear me out on this one. Yes, it’s touristy. Yes, there are soul-sucking crowds and sky-high prices in some of the shops. But the Camden Market is actually a place I usually score some unbelievable vintage finds for very reasonable prices. Come here in the mornings right as they’re opening and during the weekdays when it’s not summer or the holidays. Oftentimes I’ll come wander around the stable stalls and find a piece I’ve been hunting down for ages, like a charming pastel pink fringed jacket.
If you’re not sold on the idea of fighting against droves of tourists, avoid the crowds by ditching the markets. I always have just as much fun searching the secondhand shops around Camden. My favorite shop outside the markets so far is Sue Ryder. It’s a very short walk from the markets and on a street that’s significantly less busy. It’s a small, well-organized boutique with an amazing collection of eclectic clothing usually in near-perfect condition.