Real bargains are waiting to be discovered in London's stores and they are hidden in the city's retro treasure troves. We reveal some key addresses that will add a touch of unique British style to your purchases.
About 100,000 visitors come to Camden Market every weekend. More than merely a market, it has become an iconic London landmark. It started off as just a craft stall on the street, set up by hippies. Now it is gigantic, made up of 3 markets: Union Street, The Lock and The Stables. Clothing, handicraft and food stalls will all compete for your attention. For those who prefer old-fashioned styles, you'll find spaces dedicated to retro clothes, such as Vintage Planet, a specialist in bow ties, or General Eyewear, a glasses shop with a huge collection of antique frames. This market is quintessential for vintage products in UK's capital, with clothing, accessories, furniture and all kinds of items dating from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Old markets and speciality stores are full of great bargains. Simply looking and not just buying can be just as fun. An example is Portobello Market, home to many antique shops. Most are concentrated between the streets Chepstow Villas and Elgin Crescent.
“Nothing looks weird, not even a beard, or the boots made out of feathers” – that's how British singer Cat Stevens, writer of the song ‘Portobello Road,’ defines its eclecticism. In this outdoor space, you can also find jewellery and second-hand clothes. Many people know it from Notting Hill, the 1999 movie starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. But its history goes back to the 19th century when it was a fresh fruit market. The antique shops that currently fill the streets were established in the 1960s.
The third market that must be mentioned in the top vintage list is London's Spitalfields. In the beginning (1682), it was the biggest fruit market in the city. Today, it offers second-hand clothing shops, handicrafts and even DIY products, and yet stays true to its roots with high-quality organic fruit. Sunday is the busiest day, with more visitors, and more stalls. Following renovations in the 1990s, more than 25,000 people visit this market each week. Most have the same goal: bringing home a bargain. It isn't a cheap market, but there's no need to spend any money to enjoy Spitalfields.
In London, vintage shops are thick on the ground. Circa is a mini world of clothing and accessories that clearly understands that fashion is cyclical. Catering to female customers, it offers accessories, jewellery and luxurious clothes, such as a vintage wedding dress by French designer Christian Dior.
There are 3 branches of Beyond Retro shops in London. The shop located in Cheshire Street offers some items with discounts up to 70%. As Donatella Versace said: "Fashion is not necessarily expensive." Beyond Retro offers clothing for both men and women, with a visible affinity for denim.
You are bound to find an irresistible item in the vintage Little Paris store. In case you don’t, you just need to come back another day, as the stock is frequently renewed. Everything comes directly from France. This place promises a trip back in time, with its antique furniture, fashion and home accessories; evidence that classics never go out of style.
Pick something unique and special for your loved ones while exploring the magnificent Britain.