From north to south, east to west, London’s vintage scene knows no boundaries. Whether it’s British department stores or hidden underground vintage gems, Londoners can take their pick from many plentiful vintage hunting grounds.
The cosmopolitan city known for its creativity and bustling commercial scene boasts an impressive sartorial landscape, with fashion alumni like Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, not to mention world-class institutions like Central Saint-Martins and London College of Fashion, it No wonder then that when it comes to finding a mix of old and new vintage, the swarming fashion center will spoil you rotten.
We use clothes to build our identities and show who we really are. In a city as expensive as London, young city dwellers are turning to the safe havens of vintage stores to build their wardrobes and showcase their quirky flair and creativity. The act of physically rummaging through shelves and shelves is an exhilarating experience, with the feeling of discovering an affordable diamond in the rust, to say the least.
In the mid-1980s, London’s independent retail fashion scene plunged and never fully recovered, which spawned more and more vintage stores, especially in the south and east of London. With clothing ranging from the 1930s to the 2000s, stylish and daring suburban Londoners are no strangers to mixing and matching items from all eras and movements. Top that off with UK TV shows like I May Destroy You, Peaky Blinders and Crashing, all of which offer endless vintage-inspired looks from different decades. With the rise of musical and cultural movements like Britpop and Grunge in the early 90s, sturdy vintage clothing became increasingly sought after, and this is where acquired brands like Woolrich came into play.
After almost 200 years in the game, it’s fair to say that the American brand has released some seriously sick parts. All about authenticity, good design and the pursuit of beauty in simplicity, Woolrich has secured its position as a clothing brand that can stand the test of time – elevating it to vintage status in the past, the present and future. Woolrich pieces can be found almost everywhere with their unbridled quality shining through. As a brand that stands out for its detailed and technical construction, you can guarantee that any Woolrich piece you own will serve you well for years to come.
We took a trip with a born and raised Londoner Miquita Olivier, and culture enthusiast Sam Trotman for some of the best places to get your hands on some of the city’s most fashionable Woolrich pieces. Trotman is an expert in his field, with his Instagram account Samutaro bringing together over 128,000 dedicated subscribers. Oliver has hosted a multitude of television and radio shows throughout his career, known throughout Britain for his knowledge of contemporary culture. Watch them both in the video below exploring vintage London hotspots and finding classic Woolrich clothing from all time.
14 Ingestre Pl, London W1F 0JQ
Duke’s Wardrobe, located in the heart of Westminster, mainly offers designer pieces and handpicked vintage sportswear from around the world. Led by Milo Harley and his business partner Ned Membery, Duke’s Wardrobe started as a market stall on Berwick Street in Soho in 2012. âWe also traded in the Portobello market until we opened our first store in 2017,â says Harley. âAt Duke’s we specialize in a mix of rare and unique vintage pieces, from a variety of brands and also interesting unbranded pieces. As for stock sourcing, we try to do about five or six. a year shopping trips to America and other parts of Europe to unearth the good bits. “
A real pro when it comes to vintage stores and clothing is the moral and environmental aspect of it. âPeople are more aware than ever of the way they shop today, as well as the impact of buying clothes on our planet. We believe that vintage shopping allows people to shop from sustainable and responsible way, âsays Harley.
Regarding one of her all-time favorite purchases, Harley explains how âa few years ago, on a shopping trip to Italy, I found a nice Woolrich parka that I kept for me and I had a few good winters! This is probably my favorite Woolrich track that I have ever owned. “
226 Brick Ln, London E1 6SA
Located on Brick Lane in east London you will find Hunky-dory. Led by Ian Bodenham and Ian Johns (sometimes referred to as the Ians), Hunky-dory have been researching and selling vintage clothing since the mid-1980s. âWe opened our first store in Greenwich in 1990 called The Observatory,â they explain, âbut we sold pieces all over London, first in Greenwich, then to Covent Garden and Portobello Market. “
Bodenham and Johns mainly sold items from the 1940s, 50s and 60s, as they were plentiful and cheap at the time. âWe started going to the United States to get denim, checked workwear and flannels from brands like Woolrich, which were huge thanks to Grunge. Styles from the 70s became increasingly popular in the early 90s, with scenes like Rare Groove and Acid Jazz and many bands such as Brand New Heavies and Young Disciples were our clients. “
The store, whose name is a nod to one of Ian’s greatest inspirations, David Bowie, still carries the same types of items as it did back then. âSome things never go out of style, like a pea coat or a mackinaw. There are always particularly hot fashions and items, but the core remains unchanged and classic,â they explain. âOver the decades, we have built strong and lasting relationships with various suppliers around the world, as different countries have styles specific to them, such as French work wear, US casual and utility wear or dressier styles from Italy, France and UK, so we cover a lot of bases in one small store! “
âVintage is perhaps even more relevant now than it was over 40 years ago when we first started, with the element of recycling being a big concern, so more people have an increased appreciation for it. ‘invest in clothes that can be worn for years to come. Therefore, we return to timeless and iconic styles with a utilitarian heritage in their design, like Woolrich – always relevant, endlessly versatile and adopted by successive generations as the rockers, beatniks, grunges and hip-hop. “
Asked about his favorite Woolrich piece, Bodenham explains that it is a purchase in 1991 that he cannot forget. âI bought a mackinaw with a Sherpa fleece collar from an Army and Navy store in New York on our first trip there in ’91. It spoke to me and I couldn’t tell. go! I guess that would be my motto for vintage shopping, ideally a personal connection to a piece, fit is important but it can vary from style to style, the oversize is (literally) huge now, and if you can, consider spending a little more – this is something with longevity. Finally, of course always double – check the condition, although in some cases a little wear can add character! “
In collaboration with Hunky Dory and Duke’s Cupboard, Woolrich offers five iconic vintage pieces. This giveaway will take place on Highsnobiety’s social media, so stay tuned. Check Woolrich site for more.