London puts the ‘C’ in creative when it comes to lifestyle and fashion. We have countless vintage/second-hand/re-sale boutiques. Places where you can buy clothing, hats, bags, jewellery and furniture that will mirror and illuminate your individuality.
As well as having the sweetest smelling second-hand clothing in London, these boutiques make excellent economic and ecological fashion sense.
Read on and you can thank me later….
The Dresser’s owner Sally Ormsby‘s previous careers in the music industry and as a stylist placed her in good stead when she opened this Connaught Village boutique in 1986, just a stone’s throw from the historic landmark - Marble Arch. Her keen eye and quest for quality pieces at competitive prices has made her a trailblazer in designer resale. The Dresser has stood the test of time. I often wonder, how many recessions must she have seen! The gorgeous pieces displayed are illustrations to The Dresser’s longevity in this line of business.
The unworn or hardly worn clothing/accessories of the rich and famous can be found here. One in particular sends her unwanted pieces via private jet! Sally also has one of the best and largest menswear selections in London. It’s a welcoming place full of bargains - you will not leave empty handed.
This boutique was born out of a bedroom, grew into a cool shop in Queens Park where I discovered it, to its current home; a two-floor luxury emporium in Notting Hill. Progress is a beautiful thing as is the owner Sophie Merchant’s vision. Sophie curates modern art exhibitions in the space alongside selling designs from Central St Martin’s graduates and vintage finds dating back to 1910. It’s hard to imagine in this age of ‘fast-clothes’ for clothing to last a year much less 100 years!
Will Broome’s pop art is currently being exhibited and is a fitting accent to the store. You’ll also see that Merchant Archive’s marrying of stunning vintage and ultra-modern designs are a perfect reflection to how we dress today – that is their focus. It is the perfect place to be inspired.
Paper Dress Vintage
Located in Shoreditch. Paper Dress’ owner Hannah Turner Voakes came to London from West Yorkshire to study fine art in 2004 and ended up launching Paper Dress. It is vintage heaven for one of a kind pieces from the 1900s-1980s. Hannah’s huge collection of 50s day and evening dresses are especially spectacular and have distinct character. Paper Dress encompasses all aspects of vintage culture including hair and make up sessions.
By night, this boutique turns into a Berlin style arts space. Regular music events are held here, acts like Adam Ant, Jukebox Collective and AutoKratz have graced the Paper Dress stage.
As you shop you can have coffee and cake or a glass of wine. I love to browse carefully with a glass of Merlot in hand. Especially as shopping is part and parcel of my day job. It elevates the experience – in an extremely good way.
Carmen Haid, founder of Atelier-Mayer took inspiration from her grandmother, Austrian haute couture tailor Klaudia Mayer who opened her Atelier in 1927 and dressed royalty, aristocrats and socialites of the time. The high society theme has been given a modern update to form Atelier-Mayer.com. Located in Connaught Village, this high-end showroom is run by private appointment (you can also walk in and buy) catering for the luxury client, who I see as a modern-day Elizabeth Taylor or Audrey Hepburn - young and old.
Such attention to detail is given when purchasing. All packaging is biodegradable and every vintage item is Feng-Shui’d and tailored to fit if needed. The beauty of vintage couture is that it becomes truly unique to you. If you are looking for sublime couture, exquisite accessories and eveningwear for a special occasion you won’t be disappointed.
Pandora is a rather large Pandora’s box of sartorial gems. Founded in 1947 and bought by the Hutchcroft family in 1988, who have gone on to build the ‘superstore’ designer re-sale women’s boutique it is today. This Knightsbridge boutique is the largest in the UK and is a short walk from the iconic Harrods store.
What makes Pandora really special is their extensive bag and shoe collection. At present they have 500 designer bags in stock – It’s a veritable wonderland!
Another useful thing to know is their stock is arranged by size and type, which makes it much easier to find the perfect bargain to suit and fit, especially when there is so much choice. Most of the stock isn’t over two years old unless it’s a special piece.
This long-standing family business maintains exceptional quality, which in turn has maintained the success of their business and kept a very loyal worldwide clientele from all walks of life.
After the recent celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, I am proud to celebrate these London businesses also. You’ll get an alternative British experience that isn’t on the high street, where you can create London, Paris, Milan designer looks and more from your own interpretation.
Don’t pop into these places that would be pointless - make time and take time when you visit. We are in a new financial dawn and there is no better place right now than London to take advantage of that. You’ll also be doing something very positive for the environment and our planet. On that note...
Welcome to Luxury London.
Written by Camille Adomakoh – Karma-Style