Thrift shopping and vintage-everything is a major trend these days, with nostalgia blogs and perfectly coordinated second-hand outfits dominating the likes of Tumblr and similar sites. While at first it might not seem that second-hand goods are chic in Athens, where fashion is top priority and the young ladies always embody the perfect hipster-girl cool, look closer; vintage shopping, especially in fashion, is a boutique-sized industry that finds lots of love from the young, artsy, and cool. Today, we’ll look at several little stores in downtown Athens and other hipster neighborhoods that are well worth your time and perusal.
Vintage Clothes and Thrift Shopping
Although second-hand fashion isn’t widely mentioned among the youth of the city, used luxury goods stores are every cool Greek girl’s secret weapon. Mostly clustered right in the city and in upscale neighborhoods like Kolonaki, these cashmere-and-silk treasure chests are bursting with Louis Vuitton bags, fur coats, and leather pumps that are nearly new and cost a fraction of their original value. Other stores specialize in vintage fashion, and a bit of digging will reveal stunning pieces, such as a breathtaking evening dress from the 50’s or that perfect, 80’s leather jacket. Below are some of the most beloved and best quality second-hand clothes stores around (Warning: be prepared to walk out with armfuls more than you expected, and an unstoppable craving to Instagram all of your finds!).
The famous Bohbo sits on the high end of used-fashion stores, stocking clothing and accessories from hundreds of designer labels, from legendary names such as Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Saint Laurent, and Burberry to more quirky brands like Charlotte Olympia and Ed Hardy. Second-hand luxury is a popular, albeit boutique business in Athens, and though Bohbo’s price range is a tad on the high end, it’s more reasonable than that of its competitors. Each piece is one of a kind, and they often have fantastic discounts on-ground and in their e-store. Bohbo will also buy your used designer pieces.
Established in 1979 by sisters Fotini and Vasiliki who still run the shop to this day, Troc is the oldest and most well-established vintage fashion store in Athens. Troc has a stunning selection of earlier pieces; you can unearth great finds dating from the 70’s to the 20’s, and even earlier (not to mention an impressive selection of swanky hats). Along with clothes, bags, and jewelry, you can also find traditionally Greek objects, such as folk costumes, plates, glasses, icons, and much more. Here you can also sell your vintage pieces, or trade them in for pieces of equal value in-store. Reminiscent of yiayia’s attic, Troc is the place to go when you don’t just want to buy trinkets, but stories as well.
Kilo Shop is a must-stop hub for finding amazing pieces at ridiculously low prices. This mecca for the thrift shopper boasts over 9,000 unique pieces in excellent condition, including clothes, shoes, knick-knacks, and even wedding dresses, all imported from France (where the original Kilo Shop sits pretty in Paris). Clothes and other items can be bought by the kilo (e.g. €5.60 for a kilo of t-shirts, give or take 160g), or individually at prices that will make your wallet cry with joy (think €15 for a pair of designer-label jeans, €5 for an embroidered bag circa 1974, etc.). Kilo Shop is the kind of place that makes you go wide-eyed and giddy with the one-of-a-kind wonders you can unearth, and the kind of place that you can easily spend an hour lost in. Even better, there’s one in the northern suburb of Halandri as well as one in Monastiraki, so no matter if you’re a city-lurker or suburb-dweller, you can still get your [affordable] vintage fix!
This tiny treasure trove is jam-packed with more jackets, shoes, dresses, pants, shirts, and other fashion items than you can ever imagine. Mildly legendary in the vintage-shopping scene, this store exudes an anti-establishment air, from the hot pink walls to trunks on the floor overflowing with brightly printed dresses and skirts (their pink shelves stuffed with 50 or so pairs of Converse sneakers are always included in press features). All of their pieces are imported, mostly from the Netherlands but also from the likes of France, England, etc. You’ll need to jot down a note in your diary to set some time aside to thoroughly dig through this closet of dreams, but trust me, your efforts will be well rewarded!
These famous four are all you’ll need for your every vintage desire. In the next installment of The Vintage Brigade we’ll look at some of the best vinyl stores in Athens, where you can find top-condition LPs and record players at cut-rate prices. Stay tuned!