We scoured the capital to find the best vintage shops, secondhand boutiques and antique fashion houses, including Camden's rockabilly stockists and east London's thrift warehouses. Here's our comprehensive guide to pre-loved fashion…
Vintage shops by area
Don't think that a central London location means that shopping is limited to high street chains and designer boutiques. Vintage and secondhand shops are there if you know where to find them, like the W1 outpost of Absolute vintage, Lucy in Disguise – the ritzy showcase for Lily Allen's vintage collection – and off-the-radar places like Reign Wear and Peekaboo.
South London might not have the footfall and fashion reputation of the stores north of the river, but that just means there are more vintage bargains for the rest of us. Head to Greenwich, where The Beehive and The Emporium take their vintage buying and selling very seriously, and Crazy Man Crazy caters for the secondhand yearnings of the less fair sex…
The best vintage shops in London
Blackout II was peddling vintage threads long before it became fashionable. For some 25 years, the Covent Garden store has specialised in antique apparel (largely dresses from the '20s and '30s) as well as more wearable men's and women's clothing and accessories from the '40s through to the '80s. The duplex store is heaving with stock, and you'll need a great deal of rummager's enthusiasm to prise through the stuffed rails, but incredibly knowledgeable staff, together with signs on rails indicating era, make the shopping experience a smidge easier. An ideal place to go if you're after a specific item from a specific decade.
Blade Rubber Stamps
A stone’s throw from the British Museum, Blade Rubber Stamps is a shrine to wooden-handled rubber stamps with something for every eventuality and taste. Neatly stacked shelves display arty stamps depicting chandeliers, cityscapes, images of Henry VIII, London buses, Alice in Wonderland characters, cutesy puppies and telephone boxes. Handy potential purchases include homework stamps (‘check spelling’, ‘keep trying’) and adorable love-letter writing kits. Unmounted sheets of rubber stamps, ink pads in every imaginable shade, glitters, glues, stencils, stickers, sticks of sealing wax, and a range of magazines and books complete the stock. Blade also has a made-to-order service for personalised stamps.