As encouragement grows to move away from fast fashion; Brighton has long been at the forefront of promoting sustainable clothing and all things vintage. Indeed, there is more vintage in Brighton than you can shake an ‘80s acid wash denim jacket sleeve at. Whether you are searching for something specific, or you’re craving a slow mooch through the rails; there is no shortage of places to hunt down a statement piece for your wardrobe.
I spent the afternoon making my way around a handful of Brighton’s finest, no doubt there will be some gems that I’ve missed. Spoilt for choice, there are simply too many to review in one article. Whether you are a frequent purchaser, or a vintage virgin; I hope this might inspire you to have a browse too. Firstly, it is worth noting, some of these shops don’t open until late morning. Which means there is time for a delicious coffee from one of the many amazing coffee shops Brighton has to offer. Armed with a filter coffee, I set out towards the North Lanes, which is probably the most concentrated area of pre – loved retro.
First up is To Be Worn Again, there are two locations to choose from, one on Sydney Street and another on Gardner Street. The five pound rails outside host a number of bargains waiting to be snapped up, a small taster of what to expect once you head through the door. Once inside, set out on neat rails, is an impressive array of items of all colours and patterns. If I had something specific on my list, chances are I’d find it in there. Belts, waistcoats, shoes, and a great selection of wind breakers, are to name but a few items waiting to be re-homed. It is helpful to have it laid out in this way, especially for the days when you’re not in the mood to wade through hangers. It is a strong start.
Further along is Flock. Drawn in by it’s beautiful window display, I fell in love with this boutique immediately. The owner Kate, has curated an eclectic mix of handmade items and vintage garments. Each thoughtful collection has its own section, displaying its own unique style. All the items in the shop are either hand made or hand picked by locals, including pottery and jewellery. I spoke to the lovely Lou, who is one half of Reclaimed Roundabout, a mother and daughter duo who repurpose denim jeans into a variety of wonderful clothes.
You can find Flock on Instagram and they have a website you can browse. They also had a sale rail when I popped in, which is always excellent news, and they have previously offered a student discount in September.
Beyond Retro is hard to miss, with its eye-catching, bold yellow exterior. I would definitely recommend taking your time to peruse through this treasure trove. Everywhere you look, your eyes are drawn to something, whether it be clothing or the decor. From cosy jumpers to glitzy pieces for a night out; it’s all here. I could spend an afternoon trying on some handpicked brands, or reinventing my look with some bold choices. They also have a website, which happens to be the largest online store for vintage, preloved and thrift clothing; so you can browse at home too.
Next up is Starfish; reported to be one of the longest standing vintage shops in Brighton. It is a smaller yet lovely store, stocked with items to fall in love with. All the pieces are hand picked in the UK, some originating from all over the world. I really got the sense that for the owners, selecting the pieces to hang in their shop is a labour of love. I immediately felt a warm welcoming vibe, and definitely had my eye on some pieces as I left. Roll on payday!
My last stop was to a newcomer to the city, Stay In Your Lane. I’d heard great things about this place and was keen to take a look. It is noticeably different from the other shops I had visited, with its bold lighting and nostalgic accents. At a first glance you might not have thought it was a second-hand clothing store. The black painted walls perfectly showcase a range of streetwear spanning the ‘70s through to the ‘90s. Hand picked by Becci the founder, new quality pieces come in around every two weeks, keeping things fresh for subsequent visits. All items are gender neutral, ensuring that customers can pick out something that is perfect for them. Deputy Manager, Josie told me it was important to Becci that everyone feels welcome and at ease to be themselves, ‘representing the inclusive city in which we live.’
How could I end this without a mention of Brighton’s beloved Snooper’s Paradise – where you can find anything between weird and wonderful. I never tire of taking a slow meander around the shop and sometimes feel quite happy getting lost in a section I’d not come across before. I did however, manage to make my way up to Snooper’s Attic where there is a vast selection of gorgeous pieces, hand made up-cycles and some fab accessories. It’s an absolute must.
Now you are armed with some go to spots, hopefully this has inspired you to have a bimble, and perhaps invest in some sustainable, one of a kind garments. Josie’s words stayed with me for the rest of the day, along with the friendly conversations I’d had with the people behind each counter. I was reminded of how grateful I am to live in this city; active in paving the way for sustainability, and passionate about inclusivity.