In a few short days, it’s possible to conquer the best vintage shopping in London while also checking out the top European fashion brands. I recommend breaking down your itinerary into two separate days based on location, divided between East and Central London.
DAY 1: East London
East London is home to the best affordable vintage clothing and accessory stores and all are within walking distance of one another, with Brick Lane being the main hub. Most of the vintage stores in this area are really big! But, they are merchandised by category and color and it somehow makes vintage shopping less daunting than it can be in the states. The 80’s and 90’s are favorable fashion decades in the UK and therefore, you’ll find an abundance of denim, leather bags and baby doll dresses.
While shopping in this area I also decided that the coffee scene in London has San Francisco one-upped! There were so many cute cafes, make sure add these to your list- Nude Roasters, Craft Coffee and of course you can’t go into Blitz London without trying their in store coffee bar! And if you’re a dark chocolate connoisseur like me, you must stock up at Dark Sugars on Brick Lane. They even have vegan options!
While you’re in the area, walk over to Spitafield Market and check out the UK brand, Whistles. Think, a highly edited and more luxurious Topshop. Also, take a stop into The Mercantile for a UK spin on Anthropologie. And lastly, you have to check out the newest brand under the H&M group, COS; it's an even more refined Zara.
DAY 2: Central London
Oxford street is home to the best fashion shopping in London. You can easily hit the following European stores quickly, Massimo Dutti, River Island, Dorothy Perkins, Zara and Topshop. I also recommend taking your time in Selfridge’s, which is an amp-ed up Bloomingdale’s and features a bunch of really cool UK brands, such as Miss Selfridge, Karen Millen and Ted Baker, all under one roof.
From there I recommend grabbing lunch or a snack on Marlyeborne High Street and heading over to Alfies (about a 15 minute walk) for a dose of vintage inspiration. Important to note, they are not open on Sundays or Mondays. Alfies antique mall houses about 50 vintage dealers under one roof and is one of London’s only antique malls, a concept they say has not quite made it over from America yet. Alfies has been featured in many home interior publications as well as Vogue and Vanity Fair. With a vast range of art, furniture, home décor, fashion and jewelry, I could spend hours browsing! In all of my Spark Huntin’ travels, I’ve never seen so much art deco furniture all in one place.
In addition to these two areas of London, there are outdoor markets happening every day in different neighborhoods around the city. Each day of the week, the markets tend to focus around different wares. I recommend the following for vintage shopping; Covent Garden on Monday, Greenwich on Tuesday & Thursday and Bermondsey on Friday. Happy Shopping!