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There’s an art to vintage shopping and it takes real grit to traipse between store after store and rummage through heaps of ancient clothing in search of that perfect item. To help speed up this process we’ve put together a guide to Amsterdam’s best second-hand clothes shops.
Episode is quickly becoming a global brand. Recently, the chain opened its first stores outside of the Netherlands, launching outlets in Paris, Copenhagen, and Brussels. Nonetheless, it all began in Amsterdam, and Episode’s discount collection still continues to amaze locals. Its stores change their stock by season, and Episode’s management keeps a discerning eye on trends, buying up large assemblages of fashionable items. The chain unanimously runs a tight ship, and in each Episode, clothes are divided intuitively, meaning that finding high-class brands is exceptionally easy. While there are five Episodes in Amsterdam, its biggest location is inside de Negen Straatjes.
Kilo Shop is another big name in Amsterdam and has four stores spread across the city. Its stock is divided by weight and each item’s price is calculated by a set of scales. Kilo Shop is stuffed full of army surplus, including stripped navy jumpers and large rainproof parkas. Most of its clothes are legitimate antiques and Kilo Shop has the best collection of second-hand leather jackets in Amsterdam, many of which are decades old. Kilo shop imports their clothes from all over the world and sells brands from London, Paris, and Tokyo.
Zipper is a small vintage shop inside de Negen Straatjes. Its stock is amazingly curated and spread over two narrow floors. While Zipper is much smaller than its bigger cousins, it is exceptionally well designed and makes impressive use of its limited floor space. Zipper keeps its winter clothes downstairs and has a great selection of pea jackets and trench coats — and there’s a rack dedicated to a true, Dutch necessity: waterproofs. Although vintage clothing is Zipper’s main draw, the shop also sells brand new Cheap Monday and Levi jeans.
Het Kaufhaus has a deliberately small collection and only sells clothes that have been hand-picked by its staff. Nonetheless, it keeps its stock affordable and actually donates a significant portion of its profits to charity. Kaufhaus also sells vintage furniture and its own brand of tee shirts designed by local artists. During sales the store transforms into a venue complete with DJs and drinks, and spreads its shop floor out into the street.
As the biggest flea market in Europe it’s no surprise that Ijhallen is a great place to pick up some vintage treasures. The market covers two industrial-sized warehouses (and the courtyard between them). Every month many people attend Ijahallen to downsize their wardrobes, and sell their old clothes from one of the market’s stalls. Several of Amsterdam’s larger vintages stores actually set up temporary outlets inside Ijhallen, selling their clothes at discounted prices.
Bis has three stores situated next to each other, lined down one long street in Nieuwemarkt. Each location is solely dedicated to either men’s, women’s, or military clothing. The male and female stores have some impressive brands, including Lacoste and Ralph Lauren, that are in almost pristine condition, while its third location has military surplus by the bulk. The shop arranges overalls, pea coats, and sailor’s outfits inside of four industrial-sized cupboards that contain one specific military item in different sizes.
Unlike Ijhallen, Waterloopleinmarkt is open every day and probably has the cheapest clothes available inside of Amsterdam. The market consists of several stalls spread over a large square in the Jewish district. Some vendors sell their clothes bundled up into massive mounds, turning shopping into a frenzied rummage through hundreds of items. Others arrange theirs relatively neatly, on top of trestle tables or hanging from racks. There’re 1000s of items on sale at Waterloopleinmarkt, ranging from hand knitted jumpers to Hugo Boss dress shirts.