Secondhand and Vintage London
This is a little out of our jurisdiction, but we're going to attempt a book review today, so bare with us! Ordinarily we use this blog to showcase some of our most treasured finds as vintage shop owners, a way of documenting things for our own pleasure, as well as a venue for turning you onto them.
We were recently asked to review a couple of vintage related books on here, and as the publishers were kind enough to post them to us from the UK, how could we refuse?
First up is 'Secondhand and Vintage London' written by Andrew Whittaker, and published by Vivays Publishing. It's great timing for us to receive this book, as we happen to be heading to London next week. As former residents and frequent visitors to the city, we were eager to see what new gems it might unearth for us...
Vintage shopping is our favorite way to explore a city, in-fact it's how Meika (co-owner) explored London when she first moved there, and it's a great way to get off the beaten track and discover the 'real' city, if you're into that kind of thing. London is quite a sprawling mass though, so 'Secondhand and Vintage London' could be the handy purse-sized guide you need to navigate it. It's a nicely put together 'insiders guide' to all the vintage/antique/collectible shops and markets in London, and apart from a couple of notable omissions (no place for the vintage behemoth that is Beyond Retro, or Lilly Allen's Lucy in Disguise) it's quite a comprehensive collection of all the top spots in town.
The guide is neatly organized, and categorizes its subject with four sub-sections, Clothes and Accessories, Books Music and Memorabilia, Home and Garden and Only In London, making it easy to home in on your personal vintage vice. Each shop or venue gets a tidy little write up with all the relevant info you'd need, like hours of business, address, telephone number, the nearest tube or train station, and the all important price guide. London is generally an expensive city, and there is plenty of high-end vintage to mirror that, but there's also lots of bargains to be had amongst the city's wealth of boutiques, clothing fairs, and flea markets. The book caters to all budgets, even going as far as to detail the weekly and monthly London auctions and car boot sales (I grew up on these) and some charity shops for all you die-hard thrifters out there.
'Only In London' section
At the back of the book there's a series of maps, these have all the shops and markets located on them, color coded with their sub-section, which helps put their proximity to one another into perspective. Each map also has a QR code to connect you to specially created interactive maps on Google, if you into all that stuff. Personally I'd skip this part, as getting a bit lost is all part of the fun when you're traveling, right? All in all though, it's a pretty slick guide to everything used and vintage in this charming old city, practical and compact (about the size of a Time Out guide), thoughtfully designed, and with just enough pictures to wet your appetite for the hunt.
Handy maps to help you find your way
Here are some of our personal must-see spots if you're planning a jaunt to London any time soon..
Vintage Modes - Higher-end ladies vintage boutique with some hard to find 60's/70's boutique/designer labels, and older treasures.
The Vintage Showroom - Excellent selection of classic pre 1960's English, French and American men's vintage, pricey but worth it.
Blackout II - Stuffed to the rafters with great stuff for women and men, particularly nice selection of ladies shoes, and older dresses.
Emporium - A classic English vintage shop that's been around for 25 years, great tailored pieces, and formal wear.
Camden and Portobello Road markets - just to breathe in the history if nothing else :)
Vintage Magazine Shop - Great for NME and Melody Maker back issues
Vintage and Rare Guitars - An old hangout of mine, great place to drool over exquisite guitars (and spot a rock star or two)
Hanway Street - Best little alley in London, a couple of killer record shops, and Bradley's Spanish bar if you get thirsty after all the vinyl digging (complete with a great 7'' single juke box)