Lifestyle & Culture

Charlotte Laborie: My Top 5 thrift stores in London

London is a city renowned for its vibrant culture, eclectic fashion and unique shopping experiences. While high-end boutiques and flagship stores dominate the streets, true bargain hunters know that the real treasures can often be found in thrift stores.

Needless to mention you’ll do the planet a favour by going vintage, whilst looking cool – if that isn’t the best deal ever I don’t know what is.

London is also freaking huge, which is why the selection of charity shops I’ll talk about are scattered arond the city … I got you, boo.

Anyways, I’m not trying to flex, but I’m writing this article wearing the comfiest jumper I bought for 2 quid in a thrift shop, and my coffee mug is resting on the coolest vintage coffee table I thrifted and upcycled a few months ago.

Vintage is a lifestyle baby, and it’s a swell one. Hop on 🙂

Paper Dress Vintage

Hackney

Paper Dress is not only a great shop for unique vintage pieces, but also doubles up as a small but trendy bar. Last October, they moved from their Shoreditch hub over to Hackney Central.

Hackney is probably one of the edgiest neighbourhood in London (read: skinny pale-ass dudes with tiny beanies and ear piercings taking over the streets). They regularly host great events there, so if you want to shop by day and dance by night, Paper Dress is the place to visit.

Address: 352a Mare Street, London, E8 1HR

FARA Charity Shops

Nottinghill

FARA Charity Shops in London are like hidden treasure chests packed with top-notch goodies donated by their amazing supporters.

From stylish clothes to books, knick-knacks, and tiny furniture, it’s a shopping adventure like no other. Plus, the super-friendly shop teams are on a mission to fund FARA’s essential programs for vulnerable kids in Romania.

They’re so dedicated they even keep their doors open seven days a week! So, if you’ve got something awesome to donate or just want to embark on a retail adventure, FARA’s your go-to spot!

Address: 10 Elgin Crescent Notting Hill W11 2HX

There are 40 shops across London, and you can see them all here.

Octavia Foundation Charity Shop

South Kensington, Chelsea, Kensington and Pimlico

If you’re an experienced thrifter, you know that heading to the poshest neighbourhoods is the golden highway to finding high-end brands, if not couture, for super cheap in charity shops. If you’re not an experienced thrifter, I probably just blew your mind because it sounds so evident, yet you’d never thought of it click.

Anyways, Octavia Foundation Charity Shops are in South Ken, Kensington, Chelsea and Pimlico – need I say more, or do the Jimmy Choos in the shop window speak for themselves?

Addresses:

• 3 Bute Street London SW7 3EY
• 211 Brompton Rd, London SW3 2EJ
• 303 King’s Rd, London SW3 5EP
• 58 Wilton Rd, Pimlico, London SW1V 1DE
• 266 Kensington High St, London W8 6ND

Shop from Crisis

Shoreditch, Hackney and Dalston

I used to live on Quaker Street, so might be biased, but these charity shops are cool as hell. You can find them in Shoreditch, Hackney and Dalston (if you go to the one on Mare Street don’t forget to check out Paper Vintage Dress, it’s on the same street!

If you can’t be a**** to get out of your couch, you can even shop online. Told you these shops were hella cool. Crisis is a charity that aims to end homelessness, for good – try and buy your clothes there rather than at Zara, restore your karmic balance, dude.

Addresses:

• 78 Quaker St, London E1 6SW
• 330 Mare St, London E8 1HA
• 74 Kingsland High St, London E8 2NS

Stromboli’s Circus

Marylebone

Remember the coffee table I placed my mug on to write this article? Stromboli’s Circus is like a time-traveling adventure, complete with quirky ’70s dresses, fabulous accessories, and an art deco wonderland of homestuffs.

It’s a vintage haven where even the furniture and fittings join the nostalgia party. You’ll get lost in rows of swirly ’60s curtains that scream Austin Powers chic. Plus, the window display is a masterpiece, drawing you into this charming museum of retro wonders.

Furniture, housewares, and accessories steal the show, all in great condition and easy on the wallet.

Address: 1 5 Kingly Court Carnaby Street W1B 5PW

All in all, London’s quirky thrift stores offer a fascinating escape from the mainstream shopping experience. From time-traveling back to retro fashion to delving into the edgy and exploring your creative side, these hidden gems have something, somewhere, for everyone.

I don’t want to get into this topic too much, but we really need to shift from an extractive to a regenerative economy, and it starts with seemingly small acts like buying second-hand clothes.

You go girl!!

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Read more about London here in Dispatches’ archives.

Read more from Charlotte here.

Charlotte Laborie grew up in England, Belgium and Switzerland. Charlotte then moved to Paris and graduated from Sciences Po Paris. She is still based in Paris, where she works in marketing.

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