An Insider’s Guide To Shopping Vintage In London

From eclectic finds to designer goods, it’s all covered.

Written by Rio Viera-Newton
Courtesy of Rio Viera-Newton
Rio in a headscarf and yellow quilted jacket

Say what you want about the perpetually dreary weather, London's rich fashion history, made up of centuries of sartorial innovation and rebellion, makes it one of the very best places to spend an afternoon vintage shopping — so long as you have an umbrella in tow. Within a few minutes of rifling through the racks of Brick Lane’s latest vintage pop-ups or wandering down Portobello Road, you'll quickly spot the unmistakable influence of Vivienne Westwood's trailblazing creations, Burberry's timeless staples, and Savile Row's bespoke tailoring, offering you the opportunity to take home the perfect kilt, trench coat, or cozy cable-knit jumper.

Since I lived in New York for so long, when I first moved to London, I was overwhelmed by the city’s sheer size (“what do you mean it takes an hour and change to get from East to West?”). But I quickly discovered that this vastness was precisely what made it so extraordinary, especially in regards to vintage shopping; each neighborhood boasts its own distinct style and atmosphere, reflected in the eclectic array of unique stores scattered throughout the city.

Because of this diversity, there are tons of hotspots to explore when embarking on your London vintage shopping adventure, whether you're in search of the perfect dress for a summer wedding or hunting down the ultimate vintage cargo pants. Below is a list of my five favorites in East and West London.

Courtesy of Rio Viera-Newton

All Around Best: Found And Vision

Nestled along the iconic Portobello Road, Found and Vision stands as one of London’s premier vintage havens, offering a blend of meticulously curated luxury gowns, reasonably priced designer tops, and handpicked sunglasses and footwear. This is where I've snagged my favorite pair of Chanel sunglasses and my go-to Saint Laurent button-down — they certainly weren't bargain-bin finds, but they didn't break the bank either. Despite the abundance of vintage treasures in the store, it feels spacious and inviting, complete with a generous sofa for moments of respite, unlike many cramped vintage shops that leave you feeling drained. With items ranging from $100 shoes to $500 dresses, it's the kind of place where, once you step inside, you instantly find something to obsess over. It’s no wonder why it’s a favorite amongst so many It-girls like Bella Hadid, Kate Moss, and FKA Twigs. Found and Vision extends its reach to enthusiasts worldwide through its online store, catering to vintage aficionados beyond the borders of the UK.

Found and Vision 318 Portobello Rd, London W10 5RU; +44 20 8964 5656

For Unusual Gems: Rellik

Rellik, beloved by West London celebs like Suki Waterhouse and Sienna Miller, is only a short walk away from Found and Vision and is almost like its more eccentric sister. Rellik's racks are tightly packed and take up most of the store, creating slightly labyrinth-like pathways you’ll need to navigate to walk around the shop. But if you take some deep breaths and trust the process, you'll uncover unique finds amidst the maze of vintage treasures. Here, you’ll discover a beacon of playful, whimsical, one-of-a-kind pieces — chunky Dolce and Gabbana earrings, a Halston tunic, and a pair of Margiela trousers are just a few things I found myself obsessing over during my last visit there. It’s one of those shops you can spend hours scouring and find something brand new and exciting at every turn. Rellik also has an online shop that includes international shipping.

Rellik 8 Golborne Rd, London W10 5NW; : +44 20 8962 0089

For The Perfect Blazer: 282 Portobello

If you’re in the market for a Burberry trench coat, tweed blazer, or Barbour knit, this tiny hole-in-the-wall shop on Portobello is a treasure trove packed floor-to-ceiling with classically elegant clothing. What sets this tiny, cozy shop apart from other Portobello stores is its commitment to English craftsmanship — all their offerings are proudly made in England, creating a seamless collection of high-quality pieces. It’s a favorite of former Vogue Editor-In-Chief Edward Enninful as well as Naomi Campbell. Here you can find all things leather, tweed, wool, and fur, where every item exudes timeless elegance and is destined to become a cherished closet essential.

282 Portobello 282 Portobello Rd, London W10 5TE; +44 20 8962 5625

For Vintage T-shirts & Parachute Pants: 194 Local

Unlike the West London vintage stores, which predominantly feature fashion from London's more conventionally celebrated eras like the 1960s and ‘70s, 194 Local specializes in men's fashion from the ‘90s to early aughts, offering items such as Japanese utility jackets, vintage band and museum t-shirts from New York, and Maharishi parachute pants reminiscent of London’s rave scene. They also have a small selection of women’s clothing, which includes baby tees and cargo skirts. Despite its location on Brick Lane’s crowded, bustling streets, 194 Local’s clothing is carefully curated, so sorting through the racks isn’t nearly as overwhelming as other vintage shops in the area. While 194 Local isn’t available to shop online, in the last year they opened up a Los Angeles location in Hollywood.

194 Local 178D Brick Ln, London E1 6SA

For Eccentric, One-Of-A-Kind Designer Vintage: Nordic Poetry

If you’re a vintage lover, Nordic Poetry’s selection of unparalleled vintage designer treasures will blow you away. From Tom Ford x Gucci pants to early 2000s Jean Paul Gaultier tops and delicate Miu Miu kitten heels, each piece tells a story. Its bright pink walls and highly Instagrammable curations make it a haven for those with an eye for distinctive fashion finds. It’s also located in Bethnal Green, which makes it the perfect thing to do before or after visiting Columbia Road’s iconic flower market on a Sunday.

Nordic Poetry 141 Bethnal Grn Rd, London E2 7DG; +44 7795 292654