Saturday, 8 November 2008

Shop till you rot

C: Some have a strange, dark love for the smell of petrol, others for the aroma of a Starbuck's goat's milk choco-moco-latte, and more than a few for heady testosterone stench of a locker room. Here at Maison Versayce nous adorons the light whiff of rooms packed with rails of rotting clobber, aka vintage stores. On a recent, rare meeting of C&A in London, we went on the sartorial equivalent of a pub crawl getting giddy (and giggly) on London's finest thrift threads...try saying that after you've had 7 Babychams!

21st Century Retro
162 Holloway Rd (Tube: Highbury & Islington)

C: My personal favourite. It's cheap (£5-15), well stocked with high-quality gear, not too many people know about it and they play wonderfully obscure music. They happily ignore you whilst you spend 2 hours rail-raiding. At the moment, they've got the best selection of Scandinavian knits I've seen in any shop. There's no sign outside, so look for the CND logo (see photo above!).

A: A total thrift 'haven' & an absolute must for those of you who get a perverse sensation from the scent of damp, smelly tweeds. It's never overflowing with Peaches/Sienna/Doperty wannadies, it's perfect for last minute weekend outfit tweaking and staff are actually friendly & helpful when needed. Extra points for fantastic scarf selection.

The Brick Lane Thrift Store
68 Sclater Street (off Brick Lane)

C: Don't be put off by the presence of the odd intimidating looking trendo. They're actually really friendly in here. No really! Excellent selection of scarves, ties and belts.

A: I have to disagree on the ties C, unless you like wide ones with Looney Toons characters on them. Amazing for belts though, I dare you to come out without one.

Sam Greenberg Vintage
64-66 Sclater Street (off Brick Lane)

C: If we tell you this place is bargain central, please don't all rush at once. Leave something for us! Greenberg has the vintage concession at the back of Topman Oxford Street, and what doesn't sell there gets heavily reduced and fetches up here. Great jackets to be found for only £10.

A: Some real finds in this store, good jacket/coat and bag selection. The one big problem here though, is the slightly effed up size selection. A beautiful 10 quid blazer is useless with a 46" chest size.

Rokit Vintage
107 Brick Lane

C: Rokit is the M&S of vintage shops in the Brick Lane area. Consistent stock, good basics, no surprises, and lots of ties. It also comes at a bit of a premium compared to other shops.

A: The legendary Brick Lane vintage Momma. Fabulous. Ten years ago. Since then the prices have skyrocketed and all the good stuff is probably on hold for fashion mags and celeb stylists. You are better off going to the Covent Garden/Camden branches which have better selections at more reasonable prices.

Beyond Retro
110-112 Cheshire Street (off Brick Lane)

C: I want to loath Beyond. It rings the cliche bells of retro like a cathedral to old clothes: there's the 80s arcade game in the corner, wonky photocopied flyers for hot new underground club nights, effortlessly cool staff with tattoos, the cabinets of 50s-esque kitsch and acetate jewelry, the wicker hamper of 1000&1 bold-print scarves. It ticks all the boxes, screws up the form and throws it at their mate getting the next round at the bar. But boy they have decent vintage shoes and while most stores are 95% crap 98% of the time, stunning quirky pieces crop up on their rails with almost supernatural frequency. G..ggg..ggggot to love 'em. Gah!

A: I dare any of you to come out of this store empty handed. The prices are pretty average for London vintage and are you always sure to come out with a winning ensemble. It's also pretty good for an eye wank on the weekend, with a swarm of St. Martin's students descending on the store in there finest garbs.

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