Vintage Shopping in Barcelona
Move over Milan, Paris and London... and we don't care if you call us biased, but Barcelona is undisputedly the fashion capital of Europe in our not-so-humble opinions. Ok not everyone in this crisis-hit Catalan enclave can afford Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses and Gucci handbags, but with a little less dinero per capita to play with Barcelona's residents are much more willing to be creative about their clothing. Vintage boutiques and second hand shops abound, as do both pop-up and flea markets, and in fact many big-wig costume and wardrobe specialists book flights over to Barna to scour the antique stores for that perfect piece for the latest Hollywood hero or heroine... rumour has it that Kate Winslet's Titanic dress came straight out of a shop in El Gotico!
For retro and street fashion you really can't beat the Barcelona look... and unlike the rather artificial hipster scenes of Shoreditch, East Village and Haight Ashbury the look fits. After all those kids wearing skate fashion really are skateboarders, those surfers really do catch the waves in Barceloneta (at least in winter!), and those dreadlocked, grubby-vest wearing hippies actually do live in a squat. And even if not all of those tattooed rock star lookalikes haven't quite made it big, at least they still live the rock and roll lifestyle!
Perhaps its the city's liberal attitudes, perhaps it's the live and let live policy of the populace, where artists, immigrants, ex-pats, flunkies, junkies live side by side (at least in downtown Barcelona... uptown in Eixample and around Passeig de Gracia things are decidedly more posh!) but everyone in the Catalan capital has their own look - and few stop to condescend or judge one another's. Undoubtedly the cosmopolitan nature of Barcelona and its numerous vintage shops, boutiques and bazaars all help contribute to its sexy status, and if you're determined to spice up your own image you're definitely shopping in the right place!
Above: Racking up the bargains in BCN
The vast majority of Barcelona's vintage shops are located in the trendy and offbeat Raval district (aka Ravalistan, on account of its large Asian and Middle Eastern population). Two streets you should crawl in your hunt for unique clothing and accessories are Carrer Tallers (essentially BCN's version of Camden market!) and Carrer Riera Baixa, whilst other hotspots are dotted around the barrio. Elsewhere, the Gothic Quarter houses many treasures, whilst El Borne tends a bit more towards modern boutiques than old school fashion, but should still attract the attention of avid shoppers. Here's a short list of stores to get you started... we'll update the page with more soon.
In fact with rotating art exhibitions, a bookshop and homemade handicrafts, The Paella Showroom is much more than just a vintage fashion store and cool hunters should plan on calling by. Beautiful dresses, jackets and accessories have been sourced by local fashionistas like Layelfish and Lab Couture and whether you're looking for the perfect pressie, or a piece for yourself you're unlikely to go home empty handed. It's hard to find, so check our map or download our travel app to ensure you don't get lost.
Pl. Vicenc Martorell 2
Les Bambes Del Gatuqui
The Kitten's Trainers is a delightful bolt-hole of a boutique in the Barri Gotico (Gothic Quarter) run by a passionate Catalan from the Balearic Islands. On sale retro sunglasses from the Eastern bloc, funky watches, ancient vinyls and soft-porn playing cards amongst other delights.
C/Comtessa de Sobradiel 1
If you're shopping on a budget, this second hand charity store could save you a few bucks. There's no hipster mark ups here, and although you will have to sort your way through an above average amount of grandmother blouses and dead man's jackets there is the odd sartorial gem to be plucked from Humana's hangers...
C/Ronda Universitat, 19 (and other locations).
There's nothing like market shopping for turning up the unexpected... and luckily Barcelona has got more of its fair share of bizarre bazaars to satisfy the open-minded and curious bargain hunter. We'll add to this list soon!
Les Encants Flea Market
Every Catalan penny-pinchers first point of call for Chinese underwear and knock-down threads, don't expect too many quality items of vintage clothing, but there are some great raw material here - especially for those who want to customise their own clothes later! Apart from garments, you will find loads of weird and wonderful accessories, so if you're looking for something truly unique (and quite possibly stolen) head on over to Glories!
Pl. de les GlÚries Catalanes, 8