• thelittleboy

a novice's guide to thrifting in London

if you live in London (or a part of London where there happens to be nothing around, just like me), you will know that thrifting is near impossible.


we, unlike the Americans, don't benefit from stadium - sized Goodwill stores, and I would die to be able to go to a Goodwill just ONCE in my life. (considering I've been to the US on three separate occasions, I can't really defend why I've never been to one ... but let's not dwell on the past).


despite the cultural and geographical set backs, we do have a few hidden gems of our own on this side of the pond, and I'm not talking about Rokit and Beyond Vintage - which I don't like because I feel that a good majority of their items are way too overpriced for what they actually are, but that's an issue for another day.

 

the East End Thrift Store

London's very own dingy warehouse, tucked away in the backstreets of Stepney Green, is the closest we will ever get to a modest - sized Goodwill store in London.


walking into the shop - which is more of a hall that probably takes its interior inspiration from an abandoned warehouse used to hold illegal squats - you're met with the classic smell of aged clothes, spread across rails and in heaps on the floor. it's a good workout, rummaging through the piles, and you are guaranteed to find something unique.


for the most part, you can go to the East End Thrift Store and buy a big bag of any clothes that'll fit in said bag, for £10, in addition to individually priced pieces. I would say that some of the individual pieces can be quite expensive depending on what they are, and so would definitely stick with the £10 bag of whatever you want - you get so much more for your money.

definitely worth the hours you'll spend in there, and be prepared to fight people for the one-of-a-kind designer pieces you find.


I would recommend getting there early - stock isn't replenished often and when you find yourself stumbling onto the industrial sized bags filled with more clothes at the back of the room (if you've been, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about), you'll be told that you can't choose items from there.

Emmaus

Emmaus was founded originally in 1949 in Paris by a Catholic priest to combat homelessness and poverty, and the charity had its inception as an international solidarity movement.


Emmaus has become a favourite around Europe for not only vintage clothing, but for amazing vintage furniture too.

unfortunately for us, we have only been afforded a handful of small Emmaus stores in London, which include: Lambeth and Greenwich.


however, there are multiple locations across the UK, including: Hertfordshire, Brighton & Hove, Colchester, Coventry, and Sheffield. there are also a number of Emmaus stores, warehouses and open spaces dotted around continental Europe, and you're most likely to find them in the suburbs of Paris (which are a favourite of American YouTuber and expat, Damon Dominique) and around Köln (Cologne) in Germany.


The Vintage Kilo Sale

only coming to London a few times a year (although they have events in various locations around the country), The Vintage Kilo Sale is easily one of the best thrifting ideas I've seen so far. similar to the East End Thrift Store, in that you pay a set price (£15) for each kilo of clothes, it's a cost effective way to thrift.


it's where I picked up a pair of authentic 1985 Tommy Hilfiger jeans, which, despite the fact that they were a men's size 36,

became my favourite piece in my wardrobe - paired with a belt with extra holes to ensure they don't fall down. if you knew me in sixth form - you know exactly what jeans I'm talking about and I will not apologise for them.


I wouldn't recommend a certain time to get there. stock is continually replenished throughout the day (I believe on an hourly cycle) so you're always guaranteed to find something that you'll like.


their next London dates and locations (depending on Miss Coronavirus) are:

1. Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road SW9 8PQ - July 4th + 5th and August 1st + 2nd

2. Peckham Springs, 22A Blenheim Grove SE15 4QN - July 18th, August 15th and September 19th

3. Shoreditch, 22 Hanbury Street E1 6QR - July 25th + 26th, August 29th + 30th and September 26th + 27th



Depop

you have to be careful when thrifting on Depop. in a sea of Brandy Melville girls selling "super rare, not available anywhere, highly sought after✨" Brandy tops for £100 and the other ones raiding their mum's wardrobes and selling "cute y2k" clothes for 10 times the price their mums bought it for, you may find something special.


keep in mind: you will see "the price reflects the authenticity" plastered on 'vintage Dior monogram' bikinis, scrunchies, skirts and whatever else you can make out of a stretchy monogram print - it's basically code for "this is fake but it looks suuuper cute and I'm selling it for three times more than it's actually worth because I "customised" it by changing the buttons!🤩"


Depop sellers can be really sneaky, so I would do as much research and digging as possible to make sure you're getting exactly what you pay for.


some of my favourite Depop sellers are: Cool as Kim Deal, y2kdreamz, VINTAGE RAIL, vintage fizz and Rebranding Vintage.


your local charity shop

you've probably overlooked your local charity shop in your search for a good place to thrift.


i'm here to tell you: always go to your local charity shop first!


not only can you find good second - hand clothes there, you can also find decent shoes, furniture, books, vinyls, and my personal favourite - bags.

my local always stocks the best bags, and if you know me, bags are my kryptonite, and there's nothing I wouldn't do to get my hands on one that I really like. I feel an emotional connect to all of my bags and I'm not ashamed of it.


not only is shopping from charity shops a lot more (environmentally and economically) ethical than buying from big chains and brands, you are lending a helping hand in supporting a small business who's function is to help those in need. it's always a win - win!


-thelittleboy xo

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