Wellington’s shopping scene is as eclectic as the city’s cultural vibes. New Zealand’s cool little capital is always a great place to get thrifty, with Cuba Street being the main gateway to vintage fashion. Flea markets are scarcer, but you’ve got a handful of must-watch and must-visits to look into. To help you make the most out of your secondhand expedition, here are some of the best places to find some trendy retro threads.
Thrift is a sustainable vintage shop that opened its doors in 2015. It sells pre-loved clothing on behalf of Wellingtonians who need to spring clean their closets, giving them an even split of all profit made. Retro and vintage labels fill the store’s stylish racks on a daily basis and unique handmade garments are usually hiding in the midst. Along with helping people recycle and update their wardrobe in an eco-friendly manner, Thrift also uses its proceeds to support a local animal shelter.
This vibrant indoor market has earned a strong reputation for its exotic stalls. Unique fashion finds, various nick-knacks, artisan foodstuffs and a melting pot of ready-to-eat goodies are some of the things that attract people to the Wellington Underground Market 10am to 4pm every Saturday. Along with being a good place to scour for some vintage garments, you’ll also be able to get a glimpse of what emerging local designers have been up to.
From the glamorous to the most outlandish, Hunters and Collectors knows how to captivate all fashionistas who marvel at its compelling window displays and walk through its doors. The shop is well-established in the Cuba Street op-shopping scene, selling a trove of new and used threads for all styles and affinities. They buy, sell and trade an assortment of vintage clothing, such as skate wear, jewellery, accessories, footwear, punk clothing and modern apparel.
A relatively new addition to Wellington’s bustling market scene. Inspired by vintage market scene in Christchurch, and the prevailing alternative flair of Wellington’s Newtown suburb, Kate Peters decided to establish the Newtown Vintage Market in late 2016. Peters had been involved in several markets in her hometown of Littelton and hoped to create a space that would support local artists and creative stallholders of all backgrounds and interests. From plants to vintage clothing and antiques, this is definitely a cool community initiative to keep on your radar. The market is held on the first Saturday of every month, from 10am to 2:30pm.
If you’ve got a taste for classic and contemporary designer labels, Ziggurat is the place to visit. This effortlessly-cool secondhand outlet has been in the business of selling genuinely vintage pieces since the 1980s. Their clothes are pricier than many other shops, but the quality and timelessness of each garment makes the investment well and truly worth it.
An even newer community initiative and definitely one to watch. The Wellington Flea Market and Car Boot Sale began its operations in May 2017, with plans to run on the first Sunday of every month thereafter. The market is open from 10am to 2pm and relies on more than 30 different stalls covering all the market must-sees, from foods to vintage fashion and everything else in between.
Emporium specialises in hand-picked, US-native vintage items. Every season they travel to California to source the finest threads, from high fashion classics to chic 1960s threads and epic street-style pieces. The shop is originally from Christchurch, relocating to Wellington’s Cuba Mall a few years ago. Notable contemporary brands you’ll find on Emporium’s shelves include Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein.
Spacesuit is a trendy vintage shop that likes to keep away from the mainstream. It stocks hard-to-find retro imports from the USA, Europe, Japan and Korea, with a particular focus on 1990s menswear. Everything is personally handpicked to ensure quality prevails and alternative fashion and accessories are always a strong suit (no pun intended) for this budget-friendly boutique.