The flea-markets London fashion editors love
With more and more people swerving the shops in a bid to help the climate crisis, we round up the best vintage fashion markets London has to offer, when to visit and what to buy.
Whether you already love vintage clothing, are looking for a more sustainable way to shop or just want something a bit different from the norm, then London's many fashion markets could soon become your new favourite hangouts. Be sure to follow our tips in order to get the best bargain you can.
Don't be afraid to haggle
We're not suggesting you go in with an aggressively low bid here, but gently enquiring what the trader's 'best price' is can be a good place to start. Or if you're good at mental arithmetic try offering them 80% of the ticket price and take it from there. Remember that traders are there to earn a living though and keep your bids respectful.
Comfy shoes are a given. Changing rooms are often non-existent so you may end up trying something on over your own clothes, so opt for leggings and a slimline top for the best fit. Layers will get tiresome by the third time you've had to disrobe.
Chat to the stallholder
A little bit of chit-chat can reveal all sorts of hidden wonders they might not have put out yet and if you're serious can even lead to them sourcing stuff just for you. Ask for a business card or note down their Instagram handle if you'd like to see where else they might sell.
Get there early or late
Some markets can get painfully crowded, but early mornings are usually the quietest time and mean you can scour the rails alongside serious collectors without worrying what might have already gone. If you're looking for a bargain then arriving fashionably late could pay off too as some dealers will cut prices in order to clear stock.
When is a bargain not a bargain?
If something really doesn't fit or if it's got a noticeable stain that looks older than you then it's better to step away. Check armpits and inside collars for staining, smells and general wear and tear. But keep in mind that most dry cleaners can do simple alterations: taking up hems or repairing ripped seams, for example, but you'd need a professional dressmaker to drastically refit a too-large garment.
This is the big one but it needn't be scary. Tourists, bargain-hunters and fashion buyers flock to Portobello for some of the best vintage finds in the capital, often at unbelievably low prices. From a bargain vintage Gucci blazer to perfectly worn-in denim, fashion editors and influencers swear by Portobello.
Wondering when to go? Friday is the second busiest day, and best for vintage clothing and accessories (head to Portobello Green, North Portobello) as well as new clothing (middle of the market). Saturday is the busiest day and can be filled with crowds of tourists and timewasters, you'll find less vintage on Portobello Green, more new fashion. The Portobello Sunday Flea Market takes over Portobello Green with vintage clothing and bric-à-brac.Read more ...
Located in the cobbled courtyard of St Marylebone Parish Church, markets don't get much more quaint and well-mannered than Cabbages & Frocks. That's not to say there aren't wonderful gems to discover with a strong offering of contemporary jewellery and independent designer clothing. There are vintage pieces too – worth hunting out. Plenty of snacks and food stalls make this the ideal spot for a lazy Saturday mooch.
The Cabbage and Frocks market is currently closed due to construction work – check the website for a reopening date.Read more ...
Buying vintage is one of the most sustainable ways to update your wardrobe, means you won't end up in the same outfit as anyone else and can be even cheaper than the high street. If these brilliant reasons to shop pre-loved don't convince you then maybe a visit to Hackney Flea Market will. As well as rails of well-chosen retro finds there's mid-century furniture, records and art to tempt.
Held every few months, this is one for serious collectors and dedicated fans of vintage treasures, with stall-holders each having their own specialism. Looking for a vintage Ossie Clark maxidress or a Chanel bouclé jacket? This is the place. Expect to pay investment-piece prices, but there are still some bargains to be had among the less rare finds.Read more ...
This east London offshoot has grown and changed over the years, but is always worth a visit for a fun day out with food, drinks and music. Expect everything from vintage 90s-wear to upcycled and customised pieces.
It's worth scheduling time for a visit to London vintage stalwarts Rokit and Beyond Retro, both of which are nearby.Read more ...
This all-encompassing retro market rotates through venues in north and east London throughout the year, with a summer session by the East Sussex seaside. Vast in scale, there's something for everyone who aspires to a vintage way of life.Read more ...
Something of a makers' market inside the industrial chic of Spitalfields Market, you'll find London fashion students plying their wares alongside independent accessories brands. Magpies and nostalgia-lovers will be drawn to the vintage jewellery and ephemera.
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