Every time that I go to London I almost do it for two main connected reasons: visit my friends and see what's new on the vintage side in my favorite vintage town! The connection between these two things is that my friends are fierce Londoners vintage and charity shops lovers so we organize real "shop until you drop weekends" visiting fairs, vintage and charity shops!
I thought that I should dedicate more time to this town and introduce you to my favorite vintage fairs and shops in London as well as my favorite charity shops. So let's start with these ones and if you keep an eye on this blog you will find soon more posts on the two others so that you will be ready for a full vintage experience in London!
There are hundreds charity shops spread across London and you can find many in one area (like in Hampstead, my favorite area for charity shopping, most of them are on the same street!). Actually I read that the first charity shop was opened in 1941 in London during the war by the Red Cross to help people in difficulty during those hard times. No surprise then that, in new recession times, their business is one of the healthiest of the country. Which is a good news for the causes that they support: from cancer research to children's hospices or animal charity.
Hampstead is definitely the first place where I go to find charity shops: there are so many, one next door to the other and you can find everything: books, clothes, accessories, music, kitchen tools, new or vintage for a third (or less!) of their price.
You can easily find a list of the best charity shops in London, but I advise you to look at the less popular, where maybe the most interesting treasures are waiting for you! Just a quick mention to one of the best-kept shopping secrets in town: the Salvation Army in Oxford Circus (9, Prince Street). Being located near the Vogue offices in London, it seems that the magazine takes all their unwanted clothes there. Can you imagine what it means?
But my real "Disneyland in London" of charity shops is Retromania in Victoria, off Vauxhall Bridge Road. Retromania is a charity shop that sells only wonderful vintage items! It is part of the FARA Charity Project which helps disabled and unfortunate kids in Romania, but instead of selling thrift items they specialize in vintage, second hand designer clothing and accessories, avant-garde pieces, retro and paraphernalia from the Victorian era to the early 90s. All of the vintage items are donated by the public and this is one of the most acclaimed places for happy customers and vintage enthusiasts who can find incredibly rare gems at reasonable prices. Retromania is two floors of vintage amazingness; from clothing to accessories for men and women, and I was dying for their beautiful dresses and coats and the incredible hats.
Also if you get a chance try the Trinity Hospice charity shop in Vicotria: as Retromania it is a bit pricey compared to others but you can find real gems, vintage and second hand.
Last but not least, look for Mary Portas (Mary's Living and Giving) charity shops in London for Save the Children. Filled with designer donations these charity boutiques are a fantastic place to shop. There are many in London but I only visited a couple (in Hampstead of course, Islington and Fulham) but if you are passionate of designer bargains the Islington one is really packed with them!
See you next month with a new story of The Vintage Series!
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