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.
A 'concept' designer store in Aldgate selling clothing, jewellery, homeware, art and tech. And the concept? To create a 'community for creativity'. So while you can pick up a trendy watch here, you can also mill around taking in the visual delights at your own leisure. Set in stark white minimalist surrounds, with exposed wooden floorboards, Laboratory S gives the impression of an art gallery, which it is in a way. The 'pieces' on sale have been made by contemporary fashion designers, artists and scientists – yes, real life scientists come up with the innovative tech you can purchase here, such as the Resound No.2 oak and ceramic iPhone amplifier. Laboratory S also hosts pop-up shops and fashion workshops in the space. See their website for further details.