Conscious shopping is on the rise in Berlin, with people increasingly questioning the origins and materials of their clothing – something that’s more important than ever in the era of fast fashion. Among the many hip cafés and jazzy bars that line the cobblestone streets of Berlin’s Neukölln are numerous vintage shops filled with second-hand finds.
Ask a Berliner where they bought their enviable coat, and chances are that they’ll name a vintage shop or second-hand store in the city. One of the best neighbourhoods for second-hand shopping is Neukölln. Culture Trip speaks with Swedish-born musician and founder of Juno Juno Shop, Juno Francis, for her insight into the best vintage shops in Neukölln, where discerning shoppers will find vintage couture, designer and second-hand clothes to suit any budget.
Juno Juno Shop
Juno Francis carefully curates a collection of men’s and women’s designer items from Prada, Versace, Moschino and more at Juno Juno Shop, making it one of Neukölln’s most popular vintage boutiques. What started as a hobby – she collected unique vintage pieces in Gothenburg from her early teen years – has now transformed into a flourishing vintage shop that has been featured in editorials by Contributor Magazine, KALTBLUT Magazine and i-D Spain. “I began freelance selling my clothes in other shops on commission and online for many years before I decided to open up my first physical store,” says Francis. “Since I am a singer myself, I love to find extravagant pieces for other artists who want to come here and find the perfect stage outfit.” You’ll find modern pieces from every major label and collaborations with up-and-coming brands, including The Black Market, Frances.O, PULVA Jewelry and Atelier Runmarker.
Let Them Eat Cake
On the charming street of Weserstraße is Let Them Eat Cake, which has been a secret haunt for club kids and minimalists for years, and is a favourite of Juno Francis. “I love our neighbour store, Let Them Eat Cake. It has such a great selection of classic vintage pieces, and there’s bound to be something for everyone.” Swedish founder Karin started by selling 1970s chic fashion and then partnered up with Finnish friend Netta’s vintage brand, Oh Mini I am, to offer pieces inspired by 1990s rave culture. Together, this hybrid store has items ranging from Versace wide-legged pants to a denim jacket featuring Backstreet Boys patchwork and Buffalo boots. If your style icons include Cher or Drew Barrymore, look no further.
Neuzwei is one for classier fashions and those shoppers with bigger budgets. Founder Barbara Molnar has been curating her vintage boutique – which is aimed towards women – since it opened in 2016, and it is now full of designer labels, from Jil Sander and Dries Van Noten to Isabel Marant. Having completed her university thesis on the topic of sustainability in the fashion industry, Molnar instils the values she’s learned into her selection process by picking vintage pieces that are minimal and timeless, and made from durable materials such as linen. You can also find elegant shoes by ethical, sustainable brand About Arianne, lingerie by The Nude Label and dazzling jewellery by Laura Lombardi.
Calling all Clueless (1995), Almost Famous (2000) and Sex and the City fans: Sing Blackbird will take you back in time with its eclectic mix of designer and non-designer items. Feast your eyes on 1970s, 1980s and 1990s gems such as Coogi sweaters, snakeskin boots, leather jackets and much more, without having to hurt your wallet. Located in the heart of the hip Kreuzkölln area – the middle of Kreuzberg and Neukölln – Sing Blackbird also has a café that serves vegan breakfasts and cakes. And if you’re a little short on cash, why not bring your used designer pieces to swap for store credit or on a consignment basis.
The Good Store
Founder Gerda Jünemann opened The Good Store back in 2014, during a time of rapid transformation for Pannierstraße, which is now famously known for its hip cafés, burger joints and organic bakeries. As soon as you walk in, you’ll be greeted by beautiful flowers placed in large vintage vases and racks of clothing for men and women. Granted, not everything you’ll find at The Good Store is vintage. You can also expect to see designer clothes from Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci or Berlin designers Lala Berlin and Hien Le, and there are second-hand pieces from fashion chains such as COS and Acne Studios, too.
With two rooms full of American-inspired vintage clothing, you will need a whole afternoon to sift through all the racks at Repeater. Fortunately, it’s within walking distance of several cafés and restaurants, making it perfect for a pre- or post-lunch browse. Vintage classics such as Levi’s denim shorts or jeans, flannel shirts, floral skater dresses, leather jackets, sweatshirts and much more can all be found in any size and colour you desire – all for a pretty nifty price tag.
Humorously named after the Polish word for a poorly dressed, vulgar woman, Wsiura is the creation of Polish fashion designers Grzegorz Matląg and Dawid Mayser. Over two floors the store offers books, zines and reworked vintage clothing from designers such as Lolita Lempicka, Fiorucci and Vava Dudu (who dressed Lady Gaga in a reworked trench coat for a scene in the video for ‘Bad Romance’) upstairs. Venture downstairs to discover a swing in the store’s basement, which resembles one of the darkrooms you could expect to find in a Berlin club. Here, you can find vintage pieces for men by Versace, Yohji Yamamoto, Thierry Mugler and Jil Sander, just to name a few.
Tucked away on the peaceful street of Flughafenstraße is another of Juno Francis’s favourite vintage shops: Ironic Gallery. “It’s a pretty crazy shop where everything is mixed up, but if you look a little closer, you can find some of the coolest designer pieces for great prices,” she says. It’s a treasure trove of every era, from wild prints from the 1970s and vintage couture to fetishwear. As you peruse the marvellous collection, chances are punk rock will be playing in the background, true to Japanese founder Hanako’s fascination with 1980s punk culture.
Calypt is a specialist when it comes to 1990s and 2000s clubwear and athleisure. And if you’re not the kind of shopper who finds pleasure in scavenging through racks of clothing, then the store’s minimal layout of finely curated contemporary vintage will do just the trick. Planning a night out in one of Berlin’s techno nightclubs? Then their pre-selected “club rack” filled with mesh tops, leather gear and rave wear will be the perfect addition to your wardrobe.
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