As sustainability becomes increasingly important in all areas of our lives, it can be hard to reconcile our love of fashion with our desire to be more environmentally conscious. The easiest way to dress is sustainably is, of course, to “shop your wardrobe” and start wearing the clothes you already own, but sometimes, you just need to scratch the itch for something new. Or, not so new.
Vintage shopping might not seem an easy option when you don’t have the iconic boutiques of Notting Hill or the flea markets of Paris on your doorstep, but thanks to a slew of Instagram stores, getting your vintage fix is now as easy as adding-to-basket and Apple-paying on the Zara app. As much as we love a charity shop, you’ve got to be in the mood to trawl the rails for treasure (plus, lockdown has put the kibosh on rummaging opportunities). These vintage sellers do the hard work for you, presenting carefully curated edits of timeless styles and nods to current season trends. Meet our faves and give them a follow, asap.
Newcastle-based Helen – helped by her sister and mam (a Geordie mum) – set up Found & Curated as a destination to discover “vintage pieces that fit seamlessly into your modern day wardrobe”. Expect fashion blogger catnip like oversized blazers and oversized collar blouses alongside rare Laura Ashley dresses and limited edition handmade collections created with fabric from the 1940’s-1960’s. Brides-to-be looking for a little something different for their big day should check out the selection of lovingly restored gowns – the ultimate sustainable wardrobe statement.
Galina, aka Gigi, is the Walthamstow-based boutique owner on a mission to make people smile and feel good. Step foot in her bricks and mortar store Gigi’s Dressing Room – a riot of pattern and colour – and it’s mission accomplished. Gigi’s Insta feed is no less smile-inducing, featuring happy customers dancing around the changing room in their latest purchase alongside her perfectly-styled latest arrivals. True vintage from every decade and designer names sit alongside pre-loved high street numbers, and Gigi’s styling skills provide some serious outfit inspo. Something caught your eye? The link in bio will take you straight to Gigi’s e-shop, but if you can make it to her Wood Street boutique, you’ll also find wow-factor frocks and jumpsuits you can rent for special occasions.
The brainchild of four London creatives and stylists, Anu Odugbesan, Caitlin Moriarty, Londiwe Ncube and Safiya Yekwai, Atijo’s editorial-esque Instagram shots elevate the vintage shopping experience. The aesthetic is minimal – think masculine suiting, chic separates, luxurious leather and classic accessories – and the price points accessible, even when it comes to covetable names like Celine and Saint Laurent. Seen something you like? Just drop them a DM to buy.
If punchy prints, bold colours and next-level knitwear float your vintage boat then Darling & Vintage is the account you need to follow, ASAP. Founder Cassie spent 10 years working in fashion retail before turning her love for vintage into a way to make a living. She handpicks every piece, lovingly mending and laundering before they hit her Insta feed and online shop. Cassie doesn’t just have a great eye, but a sharp wit too – quirky style names like Flip It and Reverse It (for a reversible checked coat) are guaranteed to make you smile as you scroll.
Wardrobe minimalists, this one’s for you. Retold’s MO is to “curate vintage pieces for today’s fashion conscious women who love a modern aesthetic but want to shop sustainably without compromising their style and time.” Founder Claire Lewis’ handpicked edit of pristine pieces nails the oversized tailoring, clean lines, timeless cuts and muted shades loved by the Insta style brigade right now. Label lovers, look out for seriously affordable styles from the likes of Prada, Pierre Cardin and Aquascutum. Searching for a sustainable but chic gift option? Retold offers gift cards starting from £25.
Totally unique and 100% sustainable – she sends pieces out in compostable packaging – vintage lover Selena’s Insta and online store is home to wedding guest-worthy dresses, Almost Famous-esque coats and so.much.colour. Whether you’re a 70s gal or a 90s child, a piece from Selena’s Shop should come with a feel-good guarantee.
One Scoop Store’s founder Holly Watkins caught the vintage bug after finding a 20p sheepskin coat back in 1995. After a 15 year career in the fashion industry, she decided to turn her side-hustle of buying and selling vintage pieces into a full-time job and, in 2017, One Scoop Store was born. Now, it’s a pre-loved destination with something of a cult following – you’ve no doubt seen many an Instagram influencer show off their One Scoop steals. Vintage buys from decades gone by sit alongside high street styles and designer delights, with price points starting from as little as a tenner. As well as One Scoop’s insta account, the brand has an online shop and real-life store in London’s East End, all full of pieces that tick Holly’s perfect vintage credentials – beautiful and wearable. Whether you’re a #GanniGirl looking for the on that got away or after a vintage sheepskin coat of your own, you’ll find it at One Scoop Store.
Brought to our attention by fellow vintage lover and blogger Erica Davies, Second Stories is a treasure trove of pieces owned by ex-fashion buyer Nicci Fletcher. With a keen eye for outfit-elevating design details, Nicci hones in on the pieces that will fit seamlessly into a modern wardrobe, from intricately embroidered and exaggerated collar blouses to quilted jackets and the kind of dresses that will have everyone asking “where did you get that?”.
Peony is the Margate-based boutique worth taking a trip to the seaside for. Affordable styles in mood-boosting colours and prints are Peony’s calling card, reflecting founder Georgie Roberton’s love for pieces that people can feel and look great in. As well as championing sustainability, Georgie believes “there’s no ‘one size all’ when it comes to vintage clothing and that’s important when celebrating womanhood” – basically, everyone should be able to find their perfect pre-loved piece at Peony and if you can’t, tell Georgie what you’re looking for and she’ll be more than happy to track it down.
You know the oversized collar trend that blew up Insta last year and shows no sign of waning? You could say Lola Alba Vintage is to blame. Founder Abbie Smith reworks vintage offcuts into outfit-transforming collars decorated with velvet ribbons, scalloped details, ric-rac stitching and, well, pretty much anything you like. Collars are made-to-order and Abbie works with you on the process, crafting your dreams into a reality or offering suggestions if you’re overwhelmed by the extensive fabric and finish options. The excitement levels on opening your finished product are up there with how your five-year-old self felt finding a shiny new bike in the living room on Christmas morning. As well as her Insta-famous collars, Abbie makes technicolour patchwork jackets to rival Joseph’s, patchwork knits, scrunchies and more, which she sells alongside original vintage handily grouped into trends like “Harvest Meadow” and “Lady Macbeth”.
‘Vintage curated with love’ declares The Pansy Garden’s Instagram bio, and the painstakingly put together edits of beautiful vintage pieces that fill the feed are testament to that. Pansy’s business model is unique and enticing – selling via weekly ‘drops’ that make bagging that amazing piece you’ve had your eye on even more of a thrill. This process has saved more than 800 dresses from landfill, and the brand tries to source as many pieces as possible in the UK to minimise it’s carbon footprint. The drops are categorised by theme or style – think ‘Western Prairie, Summer Blues, Heirloom or Pansy Prairie’ – and, whether it’s an amazing maxi dress, frilled blouse or intricately embroidered cardi, every Pansy offering oozes the drama and romanticism that defines a brilliant vintage piece. With a 13k strong following of #pansygirls, it’s no wonder the covetable collections sell out quicker than you can double tap their latest grid pic.
Another vintage venture from Peony’s Georgie, this time in collaboration with fellow pre-loved champion Emily Sturgess, owner of Medley Vintage. Bonding over a shared passion to encourage more people to shop vintage and support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the duo launched their innovative Virtual Vintage Market platform despite having never actually met in person. Their mission is to make vintage shopping accessible for everyone while giving sellers a platform to grow their brand and show off their pieces via monthly Instagram markets. Exactly like an IRL marketplace, vendors have their own virtual stall and customers can browse their shop window before heading to their pages to browse for treasures. Check out Reworked, their monthly sister market too – it showcases traders makers specialising in re-worked and reclaimed vintage fashion and fabrics.
It’s impossible to miss Helen Berry’s stall as you stroll through the North East’s Tynemouth Market. From pretty prairie dresses to attention-grabbing 70s and 80s (her personal fave) prints and colour-pop accessories all individually sourced by Helen, the edit is vintage at its best – fun and affordable. When she’s not at the market, you can peruse the rails at her chic Darlington studio or, if you’re not planning a vintage pilgrimage to the North East anytime soon, scroll through her online shop where you’ll find the aforementioned styles alongside snazzy blazers, blouses and some seriously chic outerwear with prices starting from just £10.