These days a lot of places in the world have access to the same brands and products. Many would argue fashion has gone global and while it grows more varied on the whole, city to city it doesn’t differ too vastly — even trends that emerge in a particular place are quickly adopted further afield.
One way to stand out from the fashion crowd, find some truly unique apparel, and even live more sustainably is by vintage shopping and few places offer as many hidden treasures as London.
As part of our City Experiences series with American Express, we’ve tapped into a network of savvy individuals embedded in London culture to present the dopest sneaker stores, restaurants, nightlife spots, and more from across the UK capital. To help assemble a list of must-see vintage stores, Highsnobiety’s London-based Fashion Director Atip W has been on hand with recommendations. You can find his picks below plus our thoughts on why they’re not to be missed.
For more from the series check out our City Experiences hub for guides to London, Berlin, and New York City.
Situated in North West London just a stone’s throw from the iconic Portobello Road, Rellik is a trove of true vintage gems. Here you’ll find everything from Vivienne Westwood and Christian Dior to Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, and more. Arrive early and scour every inch of rail, you’re certain to leave something that’ll last a lifetime.
The Vintage Showroom has three arms to its business. The first is located near West London’s Portobello Dock and houses founders Roy Luckett and Douglas Gunn’s main archive, this showroom can be visited by appointment only. The second, a consultancy service, works with clients and brands from around the world. Finally, and the one most relevant here, is a retail store on Earlham Street in Covent Garden, this space is open to all seven days a week and is one of London’s leading resources for vintage menswear.
One of London’s most well-known vintage retailers, Beyond Retro has locations in Soho, Dalston, and Bethnal Green. Alongside their own label that crafts clothing from reclaimed materials, each offers something from the not so distant past including classic Americana and hidden grails dug up around the world by their dedicated team of treasure hunters.
Opened in July 2011 in what was once a Georgian shop, Storm in a Teacup houses a large archive of rare vintage and designer pieces dating back to the 19th century. On the racks you’ll find the likes of COMME des GARÇONS, Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe, Raf Simons, Dries Van Noten, Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Alexander Mcqueen, and the list goes on.
Formerly Strut, Aro and Aro Archive in Hackney specialize in Japanese and Belgian design. Aro is the retail space while Aro Archive is a private, appointment-only resource of over 5000 garments for design houses and institutions. As of September 6, owner Hoana Poland has embarked on a new journey to open the archive to the public through a series of collaborative cultural projects with local creatives spanning photography, film, exhibitions, events, and talks. Each project will explore the relationship that pieces from the collection have had, and continue to have, with the world’s of fashion, art, music, and more.
Rokit has stores in Camden, Covent Garden, and Brick Lane having started out in 1986 with just a single stall specializing in vintage denim at London’s iconic Camden Market. These days, however, Rokit’s seasoned team of vintage experts hand-select all sorts of unique pieces and you’re guaranteed to leave with something you won’t find elsewhere.
Highsnobiety’s global team has gathered together the best City Experiences from London, Berlin, and New York. Click here to explore more.