It’s time we start paying attention to what we are consuming and how; this also includes fashion! Now more than ever, we need to think about how we can live more sustainably without causing any harm to our environment.
With the fashion industry responsible for so much waste globally, these London thrift stores offer a chance to avoid fast fashion brands that are predominantly responsible for said waste. This creates a circular approach and in turn, reduces the amount of waste that will end up at landfills and incinerators, two polluters of the planet! It also does not hurt that these options are more affordable and provide a chance to be playful with your wardrobe.
Our top picks for the best thrift shops in London
If you are new to thrifting, these thrifting tips will make you a pro in no time!
1. Atika London
Formerly known as Blitz, Atika is one of the biggest thrift stores in London! With over 200,000 items that range from clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, swimwear, homeware, art books, and magazines, you are bound to find something. With a zero-waste approach, their in-house brand, REMIX by ATIKA, saves and repurposes vintage garments that do not make it to the shop floor.
Born in London’s iconic Camden Market in 1986, Rokit sells a wide array of vintage clothes and accessories for men and women. Known as one of London’s best thrift stores, they have recycled “millions of tonnes of discarded clothing, accessories and textile, making a significant contribution to the reduction in fashion waste and proudly flying the flag for closed loop consumerism.” Although their items are not as cheap, their clothing is priced to ensure fair wages for all their employees.
“Fara has 40 vibrant charity shops in the heart of 26 London communities.” This is also one of London’s staple thrift stores. Under its umbrella is also Retromania, which is “an emporium of all vintage and retro pieces donated throughout FARA shops and collected together in one fabulous space.” This London Charity thrift store provides “support for vulnerable children and adults with learning disabilities, youth at risk and community-based programs tackling poverty through education for Romania’s poorest families.”
4. Beyond Retro
Beyond Retro holds vintage clothes, sportswear, and denim for both men and women. They also have an online marketplace and an in-store exchange program where you can swap your preloved clothes for store credit. Instead of focusing on vintage items that are specific to one location, they have employees scour the globe to source the ever-changing selection of on-trend and unique vintage.
Having numerous locations, TRAID was founded in 1999 and is a thrift store in London and a charity shop combined. Each week, their warehouse works through over 11,000 donated items to offer quality stock for their stores. You can also choose to shop online at TRAID’s Depop and eBay. This London thrift store turns waste into funds and resources to reduce clothes’ environmental and social impacts and has a circular and sustainable approach. They divert around 3,000 tonnes of clothes from landfill and incineration every year!
With a range of vintage items from the 1920s to the 1980s, this thrift shop in London carries a spread of clothing, shoes, and accessories. This East London thrift store also morphs into an event/music venue and bar by night.
Based in London and Oxford, Reign Vintage hosts a range of products from clothing and accessories for both men and women. Created in 2002, its goal is to offer a credible and affordable alternative to mass-manufactured high street offerings. Instead of “pilling it high with non-inspirational filler… (it is) more about stocking (their) online stores with healthy volumes of well-curated premium grade vintage where plenty of exciting new items are added daily.”
Having nine locations, this London thrift store not only offers a range of affordable products but also raises proceeds to help combat homelessness. They have a wide range of outerwear for both men and women, footwear, accessories, and more. “Crisis is the national charity for people experiencing homelessness. We work directly with thousands of people who are homeless, and provide vital help so that people can rebuild their lives and move out of homelessness for good.”
Tucked in an alley off Mile End Road, this London thrift shop is the go-to for good-value vintage. This old warehouse is stacked with rows of pre-loved and vintage clothing and accessories, this is definitely the place to go for costume seekers! Most of their products are under £10, what a bargain! They also have higher-end items as well.
10. Oxfam Boutique
The Oxfam Boutique is one of the high-end thrift stores in London. Located a few minutes from Portobello Road Market, they sell high-end, designer, and high-street clothes and accessories for men and women at a more affordable price. They also sell homewares and collectibles. If you are looking to declutter your wardrobe, Oxfam Boutique accepts donations of unwanted items. Their mission is to end global poverty!
As the name of this PicknWeight suggests, they sell unique, vintage clothes by the kilo! They hold an eclectic collection of clothes from the 1950s to the 2000s. “A varied range of one-off items and accessories from past decades is a key element of (this) store concept.”
With over 10 locations in London only and almost 100 charity stores across the UK, Shelter holds a range of products from men’s and women’s clothes, shoes and accessories, children’s clothes, books, and homeware. All proceeds and donations support the homeless, improve their poor living conditions and provide legal guidance. In about a year, from April 2021 to March 2022, 17,281 households received support from their emergency helpline, 5.1 million visits were made to their online advice and service pages and 3.598 cases were handled by their justice services!
13. Camden Market
This iconic London market had to make it to the list! This market features a range of goods; from clothes to food. Grab a bite and head to the Stables market for vintage clothes!
Why visit a thrift store in London?
As much as it is fun to experiment with new clothes and the cheapest options are fast fashion if you are opting for new clothes instead of pre-owned ones, it is not fun for the future of the planet. Not to mention the synthetic material and toxic chemicals fast fashion brands usually opt for which will take decades to disintegrate and are highly polluting!
With our increasing consumption rate, we are also creating more demand. We can offset this by opting for pre-owned items from these thrift stores which are along the same price range of fast fashion brands. Choosing slow fashion and ethical and sustainable fashion brands not only helps the planet but also helps you save money. Thrift shopping also allows for more creativity while keeping the items in circulation for as long as possible.
A final word on London Thrift Stores
With the wide range of items that these London thrift stores have to offer, there will be something there that fits the taste of everyone. Along with keeping a minimalist wardrobe, it is time to break the cycle of consumerism and how this is affecting our planet.
Without compromising on your sense of style, you can have some retail therapy while being eco-conscious and sustainable.
While this is a non-exhaustive list of the best thrift stores in London, do you have any other recommendations? Share it with us and share this article to help your friends pin down these awesome stores for their next shopping spree!