Each month we ask a London expert to give us their Top 5 – bringing you the best in London's shopping, dining, nightlife and more. This month: Lena Weber-Reed, founder, The Vintage Guide To London.
Top notch vintage off the beaten track
What's it like? North London’s Crouch End isn't typically a must-visit shopping destination, but it's home to one of London’s best vintage shops, Scarlet Rage Vintage. Owner Jade Stavri has a real talent for unearthing spectacular pieces such as mint condition 50s circle dresses, silky 30s coats and delicate 40s blouses. There’s also a fantastic range of accessories from handbags to jewellery, hats and gloves. Set out in a bright boutique style, it’s easy to browse the rails and neatly set out tables, while the cheerful shop assistants are happy to help.
Who goes there? Anyone from the local mummies to fashion stylists and buyers as well as the London vintage crowd.
Why I love it: Many of London’s vintage shops only sell low quality 80s tat. Scarlet Rage is the perfect antidote: beautiful, hand-picked items in incredible condition.
How to find it: Scarlet Rage Vintage, 11 Topsfield Parade, Crouch End, N8 8PR. 020 8347 5280
Cool mid-century fashion for him and her
What's it like? Brick Lane has a huge range of vintage shops, some good, some bad and one outstanding: Hunky Dory Vintage. Specialising in women's and menswear from the 40s to the early 80s, the shop is known for items you won’t find anywhere else. Menswear features items fit for the cast of Mad Men, such as hand-picked 50s jackets and sharply-tailored French mod suits. The women’s section is just as outstanding with its great selection of 60s mini dresses, 70s maxis and interesting range of jackets and coats.
Who goes there? Mods, Brick Lane hipsters, tourists and one Jarvis Cocker
Why I love it: The perfect vintage shopping experience: a wide range of eras and sizes, all pieces are unique and interesting, the quality is excellent and the price range is always reasonable.
How to find it: Hunky Dory Vintage, 226 Brick Lane, E1 6SA. 020 7729 7387
Affordable vintage furniture and homewares
What's it like? The Vintage Furniture Flea comes to London several times a year at town halls from Bethnal Green to Marylebone featuring a fine selection of vintage and retro furniture and homewares from the 1950s onwards. The hand-picked dealers only ever bring top notch items, think: fully restored 60s telephones, 70s lamps and British designer pieces from Ercol or G-Plan. Alongside furniture there are home deco items like vintage film posters and retro cushions and practical yet beautiful kitchenalia from brands like Hornsea Pottery or Alfred Meakin.
Who goes there? Students, young families, hipsters, mid-century fans and serious vintage collectors.
Why I love it: Vintage pieces are often more affordable than new ones. Better prices, better quality and unique design -– ditch the high street and go second-hand.
How to find it: Various locations and dates -– see website for more info
London’s hippest shopping and dining arcade
What's it like? Brixton Village is just great for one-off pieces. Take Brixi: this little shop stocks lovely vintage bits and bobs such as 1950s cushions and old 70s milk bottles. Then Leftovers specialises in incredible Victoriana and pre-50s clothing – imagine little boxes filled with gloves, Victorian blouses and 30s shirts. Circus sells art, jewellery, textiles and homewares, some new, some vintage – , all really interesting. If vintage china is your thing, you will love Collectibles, which is full of amazing tea sets and tableware from the 20s to the 80s.
Who goes there? Locals, foodies, hipsters
Why I love it: The excellent vintage market that takes place just outside the village on the third Saturday of each month is great for a rummage followed by lunch in one of the local cafes.
How to find it: Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton. SW9 8PS
Vintage-inspired clothing for 40s and 50s pin-ups
What's it like? Collectif have boutiques in Camden, Old Spitalfields Market, Covent Garden and Stoke Newington. They create vintage-inspired clothing and accessories based on original 40s and 50s designs -– handy if you’re struggling to find vintage clothing to fit,in your size as clothes come in a wide range of UK sizes. From slinky wriggle dresses in summer prints to big full-skirted gingham skirts, or nautical tops to bamboo clutch bags, Collectif is a one-stop-shop to unleash your inner pin-up. They also stock other repro brands like Miss L Fire shoes and What Katie Did vintage-inspired lingerie, so you can put together a head-to-toe outfit right there.
Who goes there? Roackabillies, pin-ups, your regular highstreet shopper
Why I love it: Vintage styles with a modern fit that don't look too clichéd. Top tip: watch out for the regular end of season sales for real bargains!
How to find it: Various locations - see website for more info
Follow @myvintagelondon on Twitter for more vintage London ideas.
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