The best thing about shopping vintage or second-hand is that it's one of a kind. You'll never have to worry about someone wearing that same dress as you, or shoes and bags – plus you get to say "It's vintage" to anyone who asks where your clothes are from, like the sophisticated person you are. Here's where to start shopping.
Where else but Golden Mile Complex would be home to Singapore’s first Japanese-American inspired vintage and streetwear thrift store. What started as a passion project between Ryo Yamamoto and Paul Low, is now a physical store offering the dopest vintage streetwear like classic polo tees, colourful sports windbreakers and Hawaiian shirts.
It all started as a hobby of collecting vintage memorabilia when a trip to Japan inspired two youths, FJ Sai and Isaac Ang to open a physical store in Singapore. Experience a blast from the past as you peruse its curated collection of ’80s and ’90s apparel like plaid shirts (and pants), graphic tees and sports jackets from your favourite sports brands like Nike, Adidas, Fila and more. Prices start from $15 for caps and t-shirts – also look out for special edition threads available in-store.
Orchard Plaza might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of cool stores but give it chance, especially when you have a place like Exit, which stocks a fusion of vintage and trendy streetwear from popular labels like Supreme and Champion. Exit was born out of the lack of vintage clothing stores in Singapore by three friends, Aloyston Eng, Darren Yang and Charmaine Lim who have been retro fashion enthusiasts since they were 17. With the opening of several vintage stores in Singapore, they hope to create a community for like-minded people to get together.
Head on down to Queensway Shopping Centre to visit Mamastore's first-ever physical pop-up store which opens from February 8 to April 8, 2020. The store was initially set to be a one-time event, planned by two friends Ryan Sim and Lionel Chien, who wanted to sell their old vintage pieces online. However, with clothes being cleared out seconds after release, they soon decided to run it on a regular basis.
Since then, Mamastore has conducted eight clothing drops on Instagram, stocking various vintage and streetwear items from well-known labels like Hard Rock Cafe and Nike. With Mamastore's continued success, Ryan hopes to one day open a boutique and café concept, creating a space to dine as well as shop for vintage streetwear, increasing the accessibility of sustainable fashion and pushing his store to be part of something bigger one day.
Opened in 2016, Vintagewknd has set out on a mission to make vintage items accessible, affordable, and wearable, through their careful and meticulous curation of reworked vintage pieces. Prices range from $20 for a simple blouse to $60 for a pair of eye-catching checkered pants, and it doesn't stop there – Vintagewknd stocks a great collection of dresses, skirts, blazers, and even windbreakers.
Fun fact: Almost every item created by Vintagewknd is a one-of-a-kind piece, so here's to walking around town feeling special in clothes no one else owns. Most of their apparel can be bought online on their Instagram store, but occasionally, they do host warehouse sales where you get to go down and comb their racks for their limited edition pieces, coupled with a cosy fitting room to try them on.
Another store taking part in the new wave of sustainable fashion, Empire carries reworked pieces of iconic brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren and Fred Perry, adding a twinge of modern flair to its vintage apparel. On its racks, you can also find a vast selection of other vintage clothing items from the Y2K era inspired by the likes of fashion icons Paris Hilton and Sarah Jessica Parker. Besides clothes, Empire stocks a modest collection of handbags.
If you think vintage shopping is about second-hand duds and 80s clothes, A Vintage Tale will prove you wrong. This little gem in Joo Chiat stocks genuine vintage threads, some from way back in the '50s. Dig up brands like Gucci, Valentino, Moschino, pick from accessories and clothes and also bring home your collection of treasures at the end of it all.
Haji Lane is definitely known for its independent and under-the-radar fashion boutiques, and this one is no different. Live out your craziest Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly fantasies with vintage dresses that look like they came straight out of a 1950s pin-up fashion catalogue. Come through dainty sweetheart necklines and midi pleated skirts. However, it doesn't stop there – on top of old-timey favourites, Grammah also stocks more trendy items with a vibrant 90s feel with everything from colourful windbreakers, jackets, and even denim overalls.
Swap and shop vintage
With the sustainable movement growing in Singapore, it's nice to see that clothes swapping is becoming a thing in Singapore. Opened in July 2018, The Fashion Pulpit is a physical store where you can swap preloved clothes and accessories, and even buy them. Their collection is vast – you can find both high street and designer pieces in the mix and prices are kept affordable. But if you sign up to be a 'swapper' there's also many benefits to reap like racking up those swap points for an incredible item and joining in on fun events.
Rare luxury bags and vintage dresses
Since 2003, Dustbunny Vintage has been selling vintage clothing and accessories alongside retro-inspired dresses designed under its own label. Favouring fresh floral patterns and feminine designs, the brand carries clothing from the ’50s to ’90s that include vintage kimonos, ’60s scooter dresses and ’80s batik shifts. Those with more expensive tastes will adore Dustbunny’s collection of rare designer handbags by Chanel, Hermès, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo and Bottega Veneta. Clothes and accessories start from $45, while luxury bags costs between $950 and $9,000.
Dresses for casual and formal occasions
Comb the racks of this boutique for pre-loved clothes, bags and accessories that are imported from the US and Europe – they include coveted couture pieces from Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta and other luxury fashion houses. Prices range from $35 for a pair of earrings to under $500 for a formal ball gown, while designer pieces go for up to 80% off their original retail prices. Besides clothes, Deja Vu Vintage stocks a modest collection of quirky tchotchkes for the dresser, such as earring and ring holders.
Vintage furniture and antiques
It’s a crate-digger’s wet dream: more than 10,000 vintage vinyl stack up at this out-of-the-way joint. Red Point is known among music geeks for its varied selection – you’ll find records from ’50s Chinese divas to the golden age of rock ’n’ roll to contemporary indie to bygone Singaporean hits. There’s no question here: if you own a player, you owe it to yourself to check Red Point out.
With attitudes loosening around lounging around on second-hand furniture, stores like Hock Siong and Co are suddenly top-of-mind to score home goods at a steal. No one at the sprawling Tai Seng store is actually named Hock Siong – the name was coined by the company’s old-school towkay. Yet, floor manager Brillyn Toh and the shop’s sales team do a brilliant job of infusing their cheery personalities and a good eye for products into Instagram and Facebook updates, which send customers flocking to the space. In reality, though, the goods – tightly and neatly packed into three units – cover a wide range of styles, from vintage rosewood to mid-century to the downright opulent.
The products are hand-me-downs from hotels and show flats, furniture shops that have closed down, and the occasional beautifully appointed home. Prices range from $15 for a minimalist desk lamp to $3,000 for a 3-metre-tall plaster statue of Stamford Raffles, and the 'tens of thousands' for two bronze sculptures by Chinese artist Liu Ruo Wang. Oh, and make sure to bargain – the staff will happily knock down prices. Talk about retail therapy.
First, a warning: it’s incredibly tough to look through the stacks upon stacks of vintage records in this hole-in-the-wall. It’s haphazard, claustrophobic, and albums aren’t sorted by any reasonable order here. But when you do find a diamond in the mess of rock, jazz, blues and soul releases, they’re extremely cheap by local standards. We picked out an (admittedly weathered) Aussie first-press of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here for a mere $10 – can’t beat that.
Nestled in the quiet old Telok Blangah Rise neighbourhood, the part vintage boutique and part café channels the same nostalgic vibe as many new cafés of late with big boxy old television sets and walls of vintage advertisements, rusted signs, and gate frames greeting café-goers on arrival. Inside, you’ll find typewriters, gramophones, vinyl records and old video game sets (yes, Sega and Super Nintendo) on sale that make up to only about a third of the owner-collectors’ stockpile.
Owner Willy Ong set up his this vintage store, stashed away in a forgotten mall, 21 years ago and hasn’t looked back since. His stock arrives weekly from places like Hong Kong, London and cities in the US and Australia, which keeps things moving and never boring. The tiny space is crammed full of antique vinyl records, china sets and, of course, toys. Among the highlights we found were a 1949 Popeye wind-up toy ($2,000), a 1975 Charlie Brown jigsaw puzzle ($20) and Homer Simpson robot ($60). Feel free to browse and fire any questions at the knowledgeable Ong. Our only grouse? It doesn’t stay open for long during the day, so make sure you get there before closing time.
This long, three-storey shophouse on Craig Road is the only one on the block that’s not been refurbished, and for good reason. It is lined and packed with trinkets and treasures – from jade cabbages in cabinets, porcelain plates on the walls and typewriters lining the stairwells, to old Chinese dressing tables and an ancient music player that looks like an oversized, numberless grandfather clock with the functions of a pianola.
Listen up, all you hipsters and Hemingway devotees. Vintage Empire is the only brick-and-mortar store in Singapore that specialises in pre-loved typewriters. Owned and managed by Jason Chong, the shop offers fully serviced vintage typewriters ($150-$450) sourced from the US and Germany. Chong also provides repair and servicing, ensuring all the ‘clicks’ and ‘clacks’ on your unit are up to scratch.
Started in 1995, Journey East has become known as the go-to place for beautifully restored art deco and retro wood furniture sourced from Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. Dating between the ’20s and ’60s, the pieces on offer all bear European design flair, from art deco to mid-century modern to Dutch colonial. For environmentally conscious folk, rest assured that every piece is either old or built from FSC-certified recycled wood. Besides its vintage offerings, the brand carries eco-friendly reclaimed teak, industrial-styled furnishings made from iron and wood, and modern furniture pieces. Journey East also stocks a range of new collections, including its very own PLAYplay, as well as international brands such as d-Bodhi, District Eight, Drugeot Labo and Qeeboo. International shipping services are available if you cannot bear to part with your beloved piece of furniture.
Equipped with technical training from Switzerland, Henry Lim founded Chuan Watch in 1995 selling pre-owned luxury watches. The company grew to become a family business as Lim’s sons, Nicholas and Shaun, joined forces with their father to groom the store to one of the city’s foremost when it comes to vintage timepieces. Chuan Watch carries brands such as Rolex, Hublot, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Patek Philippe, with price tags of $1,000 and above. Each watch undergoes scrupulous checks by the trio to ensure their authenticity. The watches all carry a one-year in-house warranty as well as a buyback scheme at depreciated prices.
Second Charm will take you down memory lane with its vintage furniture and homeware that range from mid-century modern, art deco, Scandinavian and decorative French styles. Most of its vintage chairs, ottomans, coffee tables and chests (from about $150) have been refurbished – some have even been re-upholstered – as have its home accessories such as lamps, doors, windows and other salvages. Second Charm takes custom orders, too, perfect for if you want a reproduction done.
Pre-loved tops, bottoms, outerwear, shoes (some with tags still attached) from high street stores and local labels such as Topshop, ZARA and Love, Bonito are sold at a fraction of their retail prices, starting from $5. If your wardrobe’s spilling with unwanted clothes, consider selling them within this space, where you pay a $20 registration fee, and a weekly rental of $40 to sell up to 100 pieces of clothing to fellow bargain hunters in store.
Do good while you shop at Minds Shop. 'Minds' stand for Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore and these shops are where the organisation provide pre-vocational retail and customer service training. The store is neatly organised into different sections: fashion, accessories, home decor items, large furniture and so on. Minds also accepts donations from the public.
SOSN, which has five locations island-wide, is abundant with pre-owned clothes, bags, shoes, household items, and other bric-a-brac. Prices begin at $1, and you’ll be doing good, too – supported by the Singapore Anglican Community Services, SOSN employs and trains those recovering from psychiatric conditions.
New2U is stocked with clothing, accessories, household items and books, among other items, that have been lovingly donated and now go for as low as $1. Pro tip: visit on the last two working days of every month – all items will be sold for a 50% discount.
As the biggest thrift store in Singapore, Praisehaven is stocked to the brim with second-hand furniture, clothes, books, household accessories and more. Prices vary, and are not as dirt-cheap as the other stores on this list – a scooter, for example, costs $80 while a furniture set sells for $1,000.