A hub of technology and artisan coffee, East London’s Shoreditch is a world away from what it used to be, with gentrification driving it forward. There are more than a few shops in the neighbourhood, however, that are firmly rooted in the past as purveyors of vintage. The place to find them? Brick Lane.
Starting as a market stall at The Old Truman Brewery’s Vintage Market, Here After expanded to a standalone shop at the top of Brick Lane (next to the Beigel Shop) in 2017. Its founder, Anna Farnham, travels the world in search of rare designer finds such as florescent orange Moschino jeans and Penny Lane-esque coats, along with vintage staples like Levi’s ‘Mom’ jeans and patchwork jackets. The store excels in pieces from the 1970s and 1990s.
Rokit is a London classic, with four stores across the city. Its Brick Lane branch stretches three shopfronts and stocks all the quintessential vintage items you could think up – be it ’70s suede jackets, ’80s windbreakers, ’90s dungarees or Dr Martens from five years ago. Rokit also upcycles its own pieces, such as patchwork skirts, bags and scrunchies. One thing to keep in mind here is that it’s not the cheapest.
Another Brick Lane heavyweight, Serotonin Vintage’s price points are a bit higher than its contemporaries. However, it prides itself on rare designer pieces, so it’s to be expected. You’ll find women’s garments from fashion powerhouses like Dior, Burberry, Versace and John Paul Gaultier lining its rails – usually of the eccentric type. Its newly launched men’s store sits at 194, with Stone Island a recurring theme.
In the same bracket as Rokit, Beyond Retro has a presence across London, with additional spaces in Soho and Dalston. Its Cheshire Street store, which is more of warehouse than a shop, requires a spare hour or so to really explore its rails. Highlights include ’90s sportswear from brands such as Champion and Nike, jumpsuits that have come back around from the 1970s in psychedelic prints and peacoats from way back in the 1940s and ’50s.
Much like Here After, Nordic Poetry first started in a smaller space. The store popped up just off Brick Lane at the BOXPARK complex in 2014 before moving down Bethnal Green Road in 2017, to expand according to founder Ameli Lindgren’s vision. Nordic Poetry brings the vibes – from its men’s and women’s pieces that trace the 1970s right through to the noughties, to the bar that sits at the centre of the store.
Self-proclaimed purveyors of “20th-century frocks and manly modes”, Hunky Dory Vintage is a place of refined style. It occupies a small space on Brick Lane that’s only distinguishable by its wooden exterior and brick-lined walls. However, don’t be fooled as there’s no shortage of vintage finds. Among them are double-breasted coats, pinstripe blazers, faux-fur jackets and pussy-bow blouses.