Guide to Vintage Shopping In Manchester & London
Manchester vs London
There's no doubt that both Manchester and London have claimed top positions in the fashion industry. London’s long been a melting pot for vintage couture and is rife with choice, whilst Manchester, although not at quite the same scale as London, has evolved a vintage scene at a rapid pace, and is now firmly on the map with the likes of it’s quirky Northern Quarter, known for being THE place for all things edgy.
The Northern Quarter
You don’t have to look twice for vintage clothing, every which way you look there’s another era of fashion lining either a shop window or someone's legs.
We Are Cow and Blue Rinse are definite favourites, they’re pretty similar in price and quality, with garments ranging from big leather jackets and fur coats to sweatshirts and graphic tees.
Their clothing tends to be on the pricier side of thrift stores but still reasonable given you’re paying for a slightly more refined collection of clothing to sift through. They also offer a range of re-worked items which are particularly impressive and my personal favourite.
TOP TIP - keep an eye out for the Weigh & Pay events promoted on Facebook. Whilst you want to get there early to get the best stock, they're a great way to get the most for your money.
A favourite of mine has to be Thrift Shop, located in the corner of Piccadilly Gardens, it really brings home what thrifting is all about. Whilst you might have to rummage through a bit, it's well worth it! The rails are restocked every single day, and the prices can only be described as heavenly, besides who doesn't love a good rummage anyway? Great quality jeans can be found for as low as £4, big coats for a tenner, you can basically pick up a big bag of clothes for under £20 no problem here.
About two minutes around the corner is the infamous Afflecks, describing themselves as an ‘emporium of eclecticism,’ this four story complex is packed with over 50 independent shops. Ranging from skate wear to rows of vintage flannels, this is another one you should really spend time investigating.
Plus, it doesn't stop at clothing! Afflecks sells a massive array of vinyl, posters and prints, has it’s own tattoo parlour and, if chunky rings and chains are your thing, possibly the best selection of jewellery in the city.
Whilst I appreciate Manny’s efforts, it doesn't quite boast the rich diversity and vast fashion subcultures that London does. The sheer scale of London can make it a little overwhelming, so let me break some of the hotspots down for you...
Shoreditch is the prime location for the grittier customer; a magnet for hipsters, it’s rife with independent stores and services.
For a real steal at a fair price, deep in the hustle and bustle of Brick Lane is where you have to be. Although shops remain open every day, Sunday see's the streets lined with market stalls, street performers and a wonderfully chaotic atmosphere.
Coining itself as the first and only vintage department store, Atika (formerly known as Blitz) is one of Brick Lane's best loved shops and a must visit for every end of the vintage clothing spectrum. Spanning across two floors, its hand picked stock draws in customers from across the globe, selling anything from streetwear to designer apparel.
Notting Hill. Made famous by the film, Notting Hill isn't exactly unheard of, but perhaps to the average joe, the Portobello St market is a slightly better kept secret. Comprising of hundreds of stalls, you can happily spend an afternoon perusing the markets, stop for a coffee and then peruse some more! But be sure to go on a Saturday for the biggest selection of vintage gold.
Whilst not being the most bank account friendly venue, Liberty of London is certainly a great place to engage in some good old window shopping at the very least, after all who doesn't enjoy it sometimes?
If you appreciate high end vintage fashion, then you will appreciate Liberty of London. Located just off Oxford Street, Liberty is the department store of all department stores. Offering many designer labels and streetwear outlets including the likes of Acne Studios, if you head to the top of the store you should find their VINTAGE vintage section. We’re talking 1920’s Chanel, the original Louis Vuitton Luggage - honestly, it’s more of an experience than a shop.
In truth, both cities really do spoil us and certainly don’t fall short on quality garments. Ruling as the creative hubs of the north and south, they’re equally worth a visit and won’t disappoint! Ultimately, if I had to chalk it up, I would say to shop in whichever city you are closest to. Nobody likes an unnecessarily long drive.
For more fashion news and updates, stay tuned to OneOff Vintage.
Also, we're an online vintage clothing store running out of Manchester. So whether it's a retro tracksuit top or vintage North Face that you're after, you should checkout our full range. We usually stock a mix of Nike, Ralph Lauren, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger and much much more.