At first glance, 194 Local looks like any second-hand store on Brick Lane in London. The graffiti-covered shutters are down and the storefront is sober. But as soon as it opens at 11 a.m., the store is packed with young people dressed in style. The queue for the fitting room is long and the saleswoman is inundated with questions.
Why is everyone here? To get your hands on the latest vintage military overtrousers, a pair of £98 baggy trousers that are on trend for both men and women. Within minutes, most sizes are sold out.
“I’ve been waiting for these for a very long time and when 194 Local posted them online I immediately booked the day off,” said Billy Bingham, 19, who traveled the 40-minute train journey from Essex to get a pair. in black. Got these in white from another place but when it comes to vintage quality and rarity 194 is the best. This is where I go right now.”“
His friend Ellis Taylor, 19, agrees: “I got the brown pair. I really like them and they are fine.
Unlike most retailers who buy in bulk, everything in these stores is hand picked. “Selected vintage” shops are popping up on high streets across the country as online outlets increasingly move to physical premises. Stocks sell out immediately and they dictate fashion trends and bring brands to life. Last week, Avirex, a popular New York-based outerwear brand, opened a pop-up store in London’s Shoreditch after seeing a surge in demand for its vintage items.
“We’re getting busier and busier,” said Ned Membery, founder of Dukes Cupboard in Soho, which started online and with a stand in Portobello Market. “People really like second-hand clothes and it seems like that’s the way the world is. With so many great things from the late 90s and 2000s era, everyone wants one. piece. Alex Powis, artistic director and author of Unboxed sneakers: from studio to street, agreed. “They are having a great time. People love vintage because, when done right, it offers a powerful combination of authenticity and rarity. These aren’t the thoughtless retro boutiques we had growing up. Instead, they are now organized and accounted for.
As well as driving the oversized trouser trend, many attribute Avirex’s recent relaunch to UK vintage stores, with the store stocking pieces from the 80s, 90s and 00s. Labels such as Von Dutch and Ed Hardy are also experiencing a revival, alongside the return of old band t-shirts. “They are bringing brands back and making physical stores successful at a time when the high street is supposed to be struggling. It’s really something,” Powis said.
But it’s expensive and there’s no need to rummage through the shelves to get a bargain. At 194, a tired-looking Lee Scratch Perry t-shirt will set you back £89 and a Robert Plant £72. A Stone Island jacket from Manchester’s Gone Fishing store costs £200. In the Avirex pop-up store, leather jackets sell for hundreds of pounds.
With carefully curated items from around the world, stores say they’re worth it. “We get boot sales and deals from it, but we also get high profile celebrity contacts that we buy things from. We’re getting harder and harder all the time,” Membery said.
Matt Sloane, founder of Jerks, runs an online site and now has a vintage studio by appointment in Bermondsey, south London. He says they try to keep the prices low, but the items are very expensive to find. “You can order 500 plaid shirts and put them on a rail for 20 pounds in a store, but that’s boring and not an exciting deal for anyone. I like the idea of selecting things that have some cultural relevance.
The transition from online stores to physical stores could be more than a matter of fashion. Online sites such as second-hand fashion resale app Depop claim to foster a community, and TikTok’s hashtag #vintagebandtee has nearly four million views.
But with old-fashioned TVs in the windows and rows of 90s band tees, the stores can feel like they’ve stepped back in time.
Fashion commentator Caryn Franklin said vintage is all about making a statement. “We are looking for niche places that we can walk into and experience an all-encompassing vibe and vibe. A space created as an installation is inherently rewarding. It’s a community where you meet like-minded people.
Powis agrees. “For a generation that grew up on Instagram, digital shopping and targeted advertising, these stores offer in-person communities like streetwear pioneers did with their stores in the 90s,” he said.