High-end vintage designer threads, rare vinyl records, antiques for the home or funky second-hand finds, Sydney has it all. | Courtesy of Potts Point Vintage
Whether it’s all about taking a trip down retro lane or hunting for unique mementos of time spent in Sydney, there’s plenty of vintage shopping in the Habour City. From rare vinyl to antique decor and ’70s and ’80s fashion that’ll have most parents reminiscing (or questioning) their styles, here are the best stores to score some true treasures.
There’s no doubt Sydney is a fabulous city for shopping. While first-time visitors are more likely to make their way to Pitt Street Mall and Queen Victoria Building, a short journey out of the centre of town can reward tourists with some truly unique shopping experiences. Sydney’s vintage and secondhand stores are the places to go for one-off treasures and some seriously quirky souvenirs. Whether they’re high-end vintage designer threads, rare vinyl records, antiques for the home or funky second-hand threads, these are the spots to add to any Sydney shopping list.
Mitchell Road Antiques
Courtesy of Mitchell Road Antiques
This place is as much a museum as it is an antiques store. Mitchell Road Antiques is just a short stroll from Green Square Station (and actually on Bourke Road, despite its name). Stepping into the warehouse easily feels like walking head-first into a Narnia-like world celebrating the quirky and nostalgic. “We try very hard to be quite diverse when it comes to what we have on offer, covering many eras and styles including antiques, industrial, mid-century and retro,” Lyn, the manager, says. It’s worth dedicating an hour or two to exploring as much of the (very Instagram-worthy) space as possible; among the array of antique furnishings and brilliant neon lights and signs it can be easy to overlook the hidden treasures and oddities buried among them, be it vintage bags, antique medicine bottles, tin toys and more.
Enter a time machine back to the 1970s and ’80s at this quirky Campbell St favourite, brimming with two floors of affordable fashion that your mum would’ve worn back in the day. Scour the shelves of retro handbags, second-hand heels, kitschy-chic accessories, and dresses that glitter with sequins – lots and lots of sequins. Shopping for a disco dress-up party? You’ll be sorted.
With its surf scene and laidback living, Manly isn’t where you’d expect to find a designer vintage store, but that’s exactly where Sammy & Sid has been operating for almost a decade. Owner Doriana has a background in fashion, and believes her love for beautifully made things harks back to watching her seamstress mother growing up. “I’ve always been around beautiful fabrics – it’s more the fabrics, rather than the labels or cuts, that catch my eye,” she says. “I appreciate the finer details and the time that goes into something really well made.” Sammy & Sid is a consignment store with items from acclaimed local and international labels. Each piece is carefully sourced by Doriana herself. “I do focus on designer stuff, but pieces that are a little bit different and that you wouldn’t normally find in Australia, that’s why I feature international labels too.”
It’s unusual for a second-hand store to be a franchise, but such is the popularity of UTurn. This haven to vintage wares can be found in Surry Hills, Bondi, Newtown, Marrickville and Rozelle. Here, the aim of the game is promoting sustainable shopping, so prices are reasonable for those shopping for a new wardrobe on a budget. Clothes and accessories are carefully sourced from local and international suppliers, so the quality is guaranteed to be good. Whether it’s something fun and fabulous (hello, ’80s windbreaker) or something more subtle and timeless on the cards, UTurn is bound to have it.
Located just off Oxford St, this is one of Sydney’s most eccentric second-hand stores. Storeroom buys, sells and trades clothes to cultivate a colourful collection of old-school kit that looks like it’s been lifted straight out of the 1990s. The huge range of oversized graphic tees channel every corner of ’90s pop culture from hip-hop and rock’n’roll to sportswear and surf style.
Of course, vintage shopping isn’t always about retro slogan tees and ’80s ball gowns. For music lovers, Mojo Record Bar is a basement-level shop in which to easily wile away time browsing through the collection of pre-loved rare and classic vinyls covering almost all music genres. But Mojo is far more than meets the eye, with a secret that makes it well worth a visit even if vinyl isn’t your thing. Make the most of a visit to Mojo by arriving in the evening, when the adjoining small bar opens. Once there, sit back in the dimly-lit but inviting space with an Australian beer or music-themed cocktail in hand (the Pink Floyd is a mix of Mezcal, watermelon and citrus, while the Bob Dill-On combines vodka with kiwi fruit, peach bitters, egg white, fresh dill and citrus). And if visiting on a Saturday, there’ll be live music thrown in to add to the ambience.
There are several things Newtown does well: tattoo parlours, vegetarian restaurants and bookstores. For bibliophiles after a souvenir they can read on the plane ride home, Elizabeth’s Bookshop is the place to go. This staple of King Street is a haven of pre-loved literature – and visitors are welcome to spend as much time as they like checking it all out. Find it hard to decide on a title? Try a ‘Blind Date with a Book’ – books wrapped in brown paper lie in wait on a shelf just at the entrance to the shop, their storylines revealed by a series of simple clues written on the outside.