10 London Vintage Stores That NEED To Be On Your Radar

There's no denying London’s status as a utopia for vintage nerds, but let's be honest: For every store crammed with gems, there are countless places peddling overpriced retro blah.
It’s tough keeping on top of the fickle beast that is this city's secondhand scene, but don't fret: we have (selflessly) pounded the streets and narrowed things down to 10 must-know treasure troves, from the stylists’ secret boutiques to real-deal, roll-up-your-sleeves thrift stores.
Whether you’re in the market for mid-century couture or ‘80s polyester, THIS is where you should be heading, come the weekend. We can pretty much guarantee you won't walk away empty-handed.
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The East End Thrift Store — Hidden down a dark alleyway in East London Proper (we’re talking Stepney, not Shoreditch), this is without doubt one of London’s cheapest and best-stocked vintage stores, with rack upon rack of clothes and accessories. Roll up your sleeves, sharpen those elbows, and dive right in.

The East End Thrift Store, Unit 1A, Assembly Passage, E1 4UT; 020 7423 9700.

Photo: Courtesy of The East End Thrift Store
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Deborah Woolf Vintage — Handily located by Alfie’s Antique Market, it’s not hard to understand why hoards of designers and stylists regularly come here to get inspired. Woolf, a stylist herself, has a weakness for vintage costume jewellery from the '50s, '60s, and '70s, making her boutique an ideal habitat for magpies. She also loves rare British boutique clothing from the likes of Biba and Jean Muir, so expect plenty of mint pieces from these labels.

Deborah Woolf Vintage, 28 Church Street, NW8 8EP; no phone.

Photo: Courtesy of Deborah Woolf Vintage
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Blitz — Yeah, yeah, Shoreditch has the highest number of vintage stores per capita in the U.K. (we assume) but Blitz is doing something just a little bit different. Touted as a vintage department store, it offers so much more than just infinite racks of '80s skiwear, Fair Isle jumpers, and customised 501s. You can also get your hands on vintage bicycles and furniture, and even stop in to the coffee shop inside. Think hipster John Lewis and you’ve got the vibe.

Blitz, 55-59 Hanbury Street, Shoreditch, E1 5JP; 020 7377 0730.

Photo: Courtesy of Blitz
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House of Liza — Focusing on avant-garde and experimental labels from the ‘80s and ‘90s, this is definitely not the place for retro darlings in search of a vintage tea dress. Instead, owner Gonçalo Velosa has gathered eye-frazzling creations from the likes of Gianni Versace, JC de Castelbajac, Kansai Yamamoto, Stephen Sprouse, and Walter Van Beirendonck, all served up in a white clinical space just off Kingsland Road.

House of Liza, 9 Pearson Street, E2 8JD; 020 3487 0782.

Photo: Courtesy of House of Liza
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Mishka Vintage — The no man’s land between Alexandra Palace and Crouch End is possibly the last place in London that you’d expect to stumble across a vintage paradise, but Mishka is precisely that. Owner Lizzie Greene has gathered a brilliant selection of pieces from early Victorian lace gowns to Ossie Clark and Alice Pollock pieces, and she's attracted a cult following among film and TV stylists. Even the Downton costume department has paid a visit. Although firmly high-end, prices are not all prohibitively expensive and you can pick up a brocade '60s wiggle dress for around £50. Plus, there’s even a bargain rail (our booty included a 1970s maxi dress that cost us a fiver).

Mishka Vintage, 210-212 Middle Lane, N8 7LA; 020 8341 3853.

Photo: Courtesy of Mishka Vintage
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Blondie — Don’t get us wrong, nothing makes us happier than a headfirst rummage in Absolute Vintage, but we think its sophisticated sister boutique, Blondie, might just have the edge. Arranged by size and colour, the spoils are affordable and of decent quality, with the odd designer gem in the mix.

Blondie, Unit 2, 114-118 Commercial Street, E1 6NF; 020 7247 0050.

Photo: Courtesy of Blondie
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Beyond Retro — When an East London vintage store gets so big that is has outposts across Sweden, you know it’s a high roller. We still love the original, based in a no-longer-used dairy just off Brick Lane. The hand-picked pieces span the 20th Century, and if you like your swag with a hefty dose of rock ’n’ roll, this is the place to head on pay day.

Beyond Retro, 110-112 Cheshire St, E2 6EJ; 020 7613 3636.

Photo: Courtesy of Beyond Retro
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The Merchant Archive Boutique — Founder Sophie Merchant ditched a career in dental hygiene back in 2007 to set up Merchant Archive — and frankly, we couldn’t be more grateful. Merchant Archive recently upgraded to new digs just off Portobello, but the boutique has retained its status as London’s premium dressing-up box. In addition to the '30s dancing-girl headdresses and beaded '20s flapper dresses, Merchant also stocks up-and-coming labels as well as an excellently curated selection of vintage furniture. We love.

The Merchant Archive Boutique, 19 Kensington Park Road, W11 2EU; 020 7229 9006.

Photo: Courtesy of The Merchant Archive Boutique
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Strut — This austere concrete space houses some serious vintage designer labels, including Alaïa, Lanvin, McQueen, Chanel, and Helmut Lang, as well as high-quality no-label pieces. Perhaps it's not utterly bargainous, but it’s definitely good value if you’re looking to get your hands on a piece of fashion art.

Strut, 2b Ada St, Broadway Market, E8 4QU; 020 7254 8121.

Photo: Courtesy of Strut
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The Vintage Emporium Cafe — Brick Lane might be crammed with retro stores, but this place really stands out. Run by two fashion historians, The Vintage Emporium Cafe is the place for rare period clothing from the Victorian era up to the 1950s. The ground floor doubles up as a Victorian parlour, where you can contemplate the state of your bank balance over a decent cuppa.

The Vintage Emporium Cafe, 14 Bacon street, E1 6LF; 020 77390 799.

Photo: Courtesy of The Vintage Emporium Cafe