Let’s face it, London is a place where you want to look your best and style yourself every day. Keeping up with every trend, however, can be a bit overwhelming, not to mention heavy on the wallet. That’s where thrift shopping comes in! They’re great places to grab a bargain and a nice way to get a bit more eco-friendly with your shopping sprees.
With an exciting array of crowds across the big city of London, there are so many different small boutiques, second-hand stores, and charity shops to choose from. We’ve gone over 6 of our favourites below, so give them a try if you’re a newcomer to the world of thrifting or super experienced.
Why is thrifting good to do?
There’s so much to say about why thrift shopping is great. From sustainability to saving resources, saving money and creating your own style, there’s a lot it brings to the table.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of our big takeaways:
Better for the environment
The world of fast fashion and other lifestyle goods means that there’s a lot that goes to waste. Thrifting, meanwhile, saves perfectly good stuff from going to the landfill. Imagine how much is saved by being donated and how happy their second life in your hands makes you!
Not only that, but it helps save energy and resources from being wasted. Instead of burning fuel to ship more of the same item to you, you’re picking up something that’s already been made. While there’s still work to be done in tracking the exact impact this makes, as discussed in Scientific America and other publications, there’s no doubt that using what already exists is better than buying new, when possible. Electronics, clothes, and home goods – all take a huge amount of water and other resources to produce and bring to you, all of which are saved when you buy second-hand.
Better for your personal style
It can be tricky to carve out your own style in our modern world, so looking to the fashion of the past is one way to define yourself and stand out from the crowd. Celebrate the old and bring it back into the new, all while finding a token piece that becomes a staple in your wardrobe or just the thing to wow at a party.
Better for your wallet
Last but not least, thrifting saves you money. Even pricier second-hand places are cheaper than buying the same item brand new, and you can always find a bargain if you look in the right places.
Our top thrift shop picks
Now that we’ve talked about the good that thrifting can do let’s get into the shops! We’ve chosen a selection of charity chains and one-of-a-kind shops to highlight the variety available throughout London. Some of these are even close to our urbanest locations, making them a great spot to drop by!
Opening times: 11AM-7PM, 7 days a week
Made up of two floors and based on Hanbury Street, this vintage department store boasts a wide range of fashion, homeware, art, books, magazines and other lifestyle products. They claim to be the biggest vintage shop in Europe, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming to walk through and browse. This one’s near to our urbanest City accommodation, so be sure to drop by when you’re settled in.
2. Beyond Retro
Opening times: 11AM-7PM Mon-Sat, 11AM-5PM Sun
With four locations across London (Coal Drops Yard, Dalston, Oxford Street and White City), there’s a spot for everyone to get their thrift on. Beyond Retro is one of the more well-known thrift shops in the city, offering a range of clothes and accessories from between the 1920’s and the 1990’s. Prices start at £20, a great thing for those who love denim – they’re also known for their vintage collection of Levi’s, Wrangler and Lee jeans!
Opening times: 11AM-7PM at the Brick Lane locations, 10AM-6PM at Camden, 10AM-7PM Covent Garden
Making their name in Camden and spreading out to other boroughs, Rokit has become a much-loved name in the thrifting and second-hand world across the capital. Not only do they offer clothes, but also vintage homeware and accessories dating all the way back to the 1920s! If you’re a fan of the bohemian, Rokit is the place to go.
Opening times: 10AM-6PM at Dalston, Westbourne Grove and Acre Lane, 11AM-7PM at Camden
Traid’s big focus as a charity is trying its best to stop clothes from being thrown away. With a mission statement of improving sustainability in a circular manner, they want to help fund international programs to help those making the clothes we love as well as educate people on the whole system. Alongside this, they’re known for stunning designer pieces at amazing prices, and have shops outside of London too.
5. The East End Vintage Clothes Store
Opening times: 11AM-6:30PM Mon-Thurs, 11AM-7PM Fri-Sun
A modern classic of the London thrifting scene, The East End Vintage Clothing Store has been running for 12 years. They had humble beginnings as a Camden and Portobello Market stall, and have now grown into a large warehouse in the Mile End of East London. Their big claim to fame? Sheer variety. Featuring clothing originally from France, America and Europe, as well as accessories and shoes, you’d be hard-pressed to walk out empty-handed. Make sure to check out their wedding dresses and vintage evening gowns!
Opening times: 10AM-6PM, 7 days a week
Lastly, we’ve got the classic Retromania. Part of the charity Fara, they curate a collection of beautiful scarves, hats, accessories and clothing. The retro vibes are real here, with those fans of the 70’s sure to find a perfect piece when rooting through the shelves and racks
Interested in an eco-friendly lifestyle? Check out our tips for living sustainably as a student.