While high fashion is nothing new to Tel Aviv and its fierce and fabulous Israeli fashion designers have dominated the scene for years, there’s a new kid in town. And rumor has it, he’s cooler, more fashionable, and much friendlier for your wallet. Sometimes he goes by the name ‘vintage’, while other times, he prefers the name ‘secondhand’. Either way, when looking for things to do in Tel Aviv on a budget, these funky shops have got you covered. Dig through a treasure trove of embroidered shirts from the 40s, oggle at the incredibly discounted Versace and Armani brand items, or thumb your nose at those overpriced Israeli wedding dress designers and opt for a Victorian lace wedding dress for just NIS 1800 instead. Here’s our guide to the best vintage and secondhand shopping in Tel Aviv.
The best shopping in Tel Aviv for vintage and secondhand clothing
Aderet has been overlooking Bograshov for over a decade now and became a must- stop shop for lovers of fashion that hang around the Dizengoff Center area. You can spot the store's window from a mile away with its impressive robot display. This place is also a must for anyone looking to get rid of those items gathering dust in the back of your closet. Aderet may not buy everything you want to sell, but they will always welcome you with a smile and patience, as long as you check in advance by phone or the store website for the days and times. Aderet also takes pride in being the most affordable secondhand shop in Tel Aviv with a price range of NIS 35-100 per item.
Lidia Messing’s Jaffa store is a must for any stylist in town. Messing is a real vintage addict; she visits auction houses around the world and finds the most unique items. The store holds rare items that belonged to Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor alongside brands such as Prada, Chanel and Dior, and even unusual items like a military cap from the Napoleon era or Victorian opera gloves. The great diversity allows you to discover less-pricier items that are not necessarily elite brands. Those who still desire a garment or accessory from one of the prestigious brands will get a good deal - the most expensive item in the store is a Chanel bag that costs NIS 6, 000, which isn't even half the average price of a new Chanel handbag.
Buy Kilo opened its doors in 2014, over the ruins of a pharmacy in the Montefiore neighborhood after a well known and loved pharmacist had passed away unexpectedly. Meytal Dror and Gali Lerner got their idea to sell vintage and secondhand clothing by weight from Europe, where the concept is very common. The price range is NIS 100-400 per kilo, according to the category the item belongs to. At the store, you will find a wide range of brands, including high street brands and never-been-worn-before items. Recently, the duo opened another branch in Florentin, and they make sure to match the merch to the crowd of the neighborhood, whose taste, they say, is much bolder.
In a complicated economic reality, in which small businesses close their doors every other day (especially in Tel Aviv with its crazy real estate market), Once Upon A Time has managed to survive over 18 years. What’s the secret? Everything. The owner collects items from private customers, travels all over the world and shops online. At the store, you can find a treasure trove of items in the price range of NIS 10-30. You will also find rare items from Maskit, embroidered shirts from the 40s, secondhand items from Versace and Armani, and even a Victorian wedding dress made out of lace for NIS 1800 - the most expensive item in the store.
Avishai Pais opened his shop five years ago in a small courtyard at the end of Nahalat Binyamin. Avishai is known for his rare taste in vintage fashion, and stresses that the items in the store are actually vintage (not secondhand) - all, without exception, are high quality, and undergo rigorous washing, repairs and ironing. The dresses in the store, most from the 50s and 80s, will bring a smile to the face of any vintage fan. Alongside the dresses, you can find shoes, bags and jewelry. The price range is NIS 70-1000, including an impressive collection of items from Gottex (the famous Israeli luxury swimwear manufacturer) starting at NIS 500.
Obsesia boutique is strategically placed somewhere between the Carmel Market, Shenkin Street and the beaches of Tel Aviv, which perhaps implies its uniqueness. The store owner Gili Elya runs her little kingdom with an iron fist and strong opinions. The most amazing thing about this store is that whatever item you fall in love with on the rack doesn’t have to disappointment you if the fit is not right - every item can be stitched to order – no charge. Most of her vintage items are from markets in Japan and the 70s or earlier, as well as full length handmade faux fur coats and tunic shirts designed by Gili Elya's own two kids.
Conveniently located on the Dizengoff Center outskirts, Flashback is the largest secondhand vintage store in Israel. Here you will find one of a kind, unique items such as vintage dresses, jeans, bags, skirts and plenty more. The order in the store is impeccable, and not typical for this field: the items are arranged on hangers in separate divisions and clearly divided by category, so there's no chance to get lost when looking for a specific item in a wide range of sizes and colors. The quality is surprisingly high and the prices are reasonable. All the clothes and accessories are imported from around the world and cover every period between the 50s and 90s.
It's not uncommon to overhear a Tel Avivian girl say, "I don’t buy vintage, except for that store on Shenkin". Just a second is a must during your rotation in the fashionable city. Unlike many other thrift stores, they don’t have the usual heaping piles of clothes that stress out those non-rummagers. The store is perfectly spacious, well-organized with carefully selected items, so there it's impossible to not stop by its window and drool on a pair of shoes, even if you only stepped out to walk the dog.
The Bigudit is a true meeting between fashion trends and a good cause. It is a relatively small thrift store located on King George street, right after Gan Meir. Most of the clothes are secondhand for the whole family, plus they have vintage items and a variety of old-fashion accessories from all eras as well as toys, shoes, kitchen equipment, books and CDs. The workers of the store are volunteers from the Women's International Zionist Organization and all proceeds go to helping children and women at risk.