1. Portobello Market
Friday morning is a good time to venture out west to Portobello market. Getting off at Notting Hill Gate station, you can walk down to Westborne Grove and look at the high-end shops and cut back down to Portobello Road, or walk straight around the crescent to the top of the market. Also in the area is The Garb Store, on Kensington Park Road, which stocks both men’s and women’s. The women’s has a luxe feel, although prices are a little high, whilst the men’s has a cooler casual vibe with more affordable prices. They also stock soft accessories, footwear, household and stationary. The staff are incredibly friendly whilst the store has a relaxed, cool ambience that mirrors stock (win win win!) Once you’ve finished exploring, head back onto Portobello Road and explore the market.
Portobello Market, for us, is currently the best for men’s and women’s vintage apparel. The majority of the market, near the Westway Bridge, is filled with garments that are of a high quality and perfect for the key trends coming through from the SS16 catwalks. Military and smart classics for menswear and soft feminine chiffons, lace and prints for women’s. I bagged an Aquascutum ladies trench which plays into the key androgynous look for ladies from Tony who’s been working on the market for over 18 years, in the same spot.
After the market head up to Golborne Road to pick up some bric-a-brac bargains (this is when you are going to have to root around!). Golborne Road is known for its mix of vintage and antique shops. Jane Bourvis has one of the prettiest shops on the road, filled with the beautiful lace dresses and accessories.
It’s best to get to the market around 10am as the stalls are all set up and it’s still relatively quiet.
Men’s vintage can seem like a sea of plaid shirts, knackered tee shirts and denim jackets but at Levisons you find pieces that have been lovingly selected to present in a store full of the best military, workwear, tailoring and knitwear. With new additions added on a weekly basis to wet your appetite. It’s definitely worth a visit.
1 Cheshire Street, London, E2 6ED
3 The East End Thrift Store
This place is like marmite. You’ll either love it or hate it. Five years ago this obscure warehouse, accessible from a tiny alley off the Mile End Road, west of Whitechapel station, was a nicely curated repository dedicated to all things vintage with defined sections of styles separating menswear from womenswear, accessories from footwear. Today, the site resembles a charity shop recovering from a freak tornado that ripped its way through the building. The rather slipshod approach to retailing demonstrated here may be a nightmare to find bargains but the mayhem has helped to bring prices down to next to nothing. Pay £10 or £20 to fill a bag or a slightly bigger bag full of your chosen stuff. However, the hard part is the rummaging around to find non-crap to fill your bag. If you have time to spare, dig and fling and you shall find retro suede jackets, classic Levi 501s, furs and shearling coats and 50s dresses. It’s pretty good for 90s stuff at the moment. For the less patient, there is the adjoining Assembly Vintage store, to the right, with racks of individually priced garments organized similarly to the East End Thrift Store of old and the £5 Store section to the left.
4 Costumier and Furrier
Although the Angel has followed the way of the franchise more and more over the last few years, little pockets of bohemianism still thrive in tucked away corners of the area. A well known spot for vintage is the Camden Passage, just five minutes walk from the tube station, where little boutiques of 1920s dresses and antiques flank the main alley. The main market is held on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays with an alternative book market held on Thursdays and Fridays. Set apart from this enclave is the Costumier and Furrier; a little vintage and taxidermy shop set in Chapel Market just west of the Angel tube station. It’s another practitioner of haphazard retailing but this just adds to the fun. Georgian dresses can be found nestled amongst stuffed reptiles, ancient tomes and the odd Burberry mac. Spend a little time here and you would be able to pick up a bargain for your wardrobe or home.
2 White Conduit Street, Islington London, N19EL (no website) http://www.camdenpassageislington.co.uk/
5 Sunbury Antiques
Just on the outskirts of south west London, is not only one of the biggest, but the the best vintage market there is. Sunbury Antiques Market is a twice-monthly indoor and outdoor market nestled in the grounds of the famous Kempton Racecourse. Now in its 36th year, and still going strong, it hosts over 700 stalls, exhibiting a vast range of antique goods on offer including retro furniture, vintage fur & frocks, eclectic prints, jewellery, taxidermy, paintings, cameras books and much, much more. It’s a fantastic place to get inspired and get your creative juices going. Getting there early is a must as most vintage retailers pick up their bargains here for re-sale. Doors open at 6.30am and admission is free.
Kempton Park Racecourse
Staines Road East, Sunbury on Thames
Middlesex TW16 5AQ