The Top 5 Places to Travel for the Best Vintage Shopping

By Camy Mortimer

After the past few years of lockdowns, quarantine, travel restrictions, vaccination hysteria and so much more thanks to Covid-19, it seems the light at the end of the tunnel is finally in sight. I’m not sure about all of you but I’m very excited about getting on a plane again and getting away from home for a while. Currently it feels like my travel bucket list is miles long, I’m sure a lot of you are the same, it’s extremely overwhelming and I’m stumped on where to even start. Just to help you out (or maybe even add some more locations to your travel wish list) I have put together a list of the top 5 places to travel to, if like all of us here at Populace Threads, you’re also a vintage and second-hand fiend. We’ve done the work and found the best places to get your vintage and second-hand fix while travelling – now it’s just up to you to book your tickets and get on the plane – happy shopping!

1. Milan – France 

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As most of you I’m sure already know, Milan is known for its fashion culture. It is the home of the most iconic trends, fashion shows, and more. The city is a fashion lovers’ playground and that counts for vintage and second-hand fashion also.

It is no surprise that Milan, a utopia of fashion, has some of the best hidden gems for vintage shopping, whether you’re on the hunt for boots, French silks, vintage, glamour or anything in between. Here are two iconic Milan vintage stores, which I will most definitely be visiting one day!

Madame Pauline Vintage:

Turning into Foro Buonaparte and walking all the way to Number 74 will take you right to this little gem. The little vintage store is a local favourite, well known for stocking brands such as Prada, Hermes, Jimmy Choo and more! 

 Vintage Delirium:

Established in 1985, situated in a tiny courtyard in old Milan, Vintage Delirium is a vintage lover must. Owned by Franco Jacassi, the store is said to display the largest vintage collections in the world and is frequented by both personal shoppers and stylists as well as regular vintage lovers like myself. As well as stocking clothing, the store also sells amazing buttons, fabrics, antique appliques and more!  

2. Stockholm – Sweden

Sweden is already making all kinds of impressive moves to help the planet with their government claiming that they want to be an ecological leader by becoming carbon neutral by 2045. There is a huge second hand and vintage shopping culture in Stockholm with the city being home to many vintage stores and flea markets such as Hornstulls Marknad in western Södermalm and Beyond Retro in Drottninggatan, Stockholm.

However, a very special mention must be made to Retuna. Retuna is a shopping mall in Eskilstuna, about an hour’s train ride west of Stockholm. The shopping mall is famous for being the world’s first recycling mall. The mall is located next door to the Återvinningscentral recycling centre where patrons can easily drop off any old, unused goods, which are then sorted and re-sold in the various stores. On top of this, store employees are known to take certain items and repair, fix up, convert and or refine certain items they sell, giving them new life. Reports say you can buy pretty much anything at the mall, such as children’s toys, furniture, electronics and of course clothing.

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3. Berlin – Germany 

Berlin is filled with stores stocked with pre-loved treasures. The city is a thrift lovers paradise with a thrift store basically around every corner. Some favourites include:

PickNweight Vintage Kilo sale:

Kilo sales can sometimes be a bit hit and miss, but in this case, we promise you will get something good. This particular Kilo store in Berlin is known for carrying a wide range of high-quality one-of-a-kind pieces. The best part? You don’t have to break the bank when you stumble across a killer brand-named piece!

Humana:

This is the motherload. With multiple locations across Germany, Humana is one of the biggest second hand/ vintage retailers in the world. Situated in the heart of Berlin is their multi floored headquarters. Stocking everything from women’s and men’s clothing, children’s clothing, accessories, and home wares, this is one you should probably set aside a whole day of digging for.

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A few more honourable mentions include Sing Blackbird vintage and Repeater/vintage, which also seem to be local favourites.

4. Riverside California – America 

Now I would like to note here that Los Angeles has some of the most INSANE vintage shops I have ever had the pleasure of shopping in but, Riverside California would have to take the cake! Located about 50 miles (about 80km) Southeast of Downtown Los Angeles, Riverside California is CHOCKERS with vintage and thrift stores. In the city there is about 126.37 thrift stores per 100,000 people (wild right). As well as this, the thrift stores in this area have just as many amazing pieces as the ones sold in L.A. but the price point on average is considerably cheaper.  

Considering there are so many thrift stores, it would be extremely difficult to pinpoint which ones are the best. However, according to my own personal research a few honourable mentions include Pink Ribbon Thrift Shop, Laura’s House Resale Store, Savers and Pet Adoption Centre Thrift Store.

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5. London – United Kingdom 

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I know I know, Predictable choice… But I couldn’t resist. London has the coolest pre-loved and vintage shopping scene and there was NO WAY I could curate this list without putting it in here. London is home to some of the most iconic fashion trends and designers, so do yourself a favour, steer away from the chaos of Oxford Street and explore some of the surrounding areas instead, that’s where you will find the gold!

My top recommendations would be:

Portobello Market: 

Portobello Market is the bread and butter of vintage shopping in London. Located in West End Borough of Chelsea, this market stretches over a mile and is home to some of the best boutique vintage and antique stores in the United Kingdom. 

The best part, while you’re digging through all of the vintage treasures you can treat yourself to a bite at any one of the many, many cool cafes and restaurants in the area.

Dalston:

ok ok, so you want something a little more affordable, and less predictable? Then you should check out Dalston. Located in the Hackney area of London, the markets and charity shops in this area are well renowned for having some of the best second hand and vintage pieces for next to nothing.

Camden:

Another pretty obvious choice, but again, how could I not mention this one? As well as being home to some pretty amazing music venues, pubs and food markets, Camden provides a wide range of vintage and second-hand shopping options. From leathers to fancy dress, jewellery, anything you can think of, go digging in Camden and I promise you will find it.

Moving out from London, jump on the train and head out to the small seaside town of Brighton one day, where you can get yourself a serve of (some say) the best hot chips in England, and then take a stroll through all of the awesome pre-loved fashion and vintage boutiques on offer.  You can thank me later. 

That’s my wrap up of all things pre-loved and vintage from around the world – or at least some of it.  Has anyone else just built themselves a happy little travel itinerary? Happy travels and even happier shopping.

Camy 🙂