Vintage Shopping in Barcelona
Time to pop some tags in the city’s thrift stores
By Duncan Rhodes
Barcelona is hip, not flashy, so we share a few of our favourite vintage shops and markets for nailing the city’s street-chic look.
Move over Milan, Paris and London, when it comes to street fashion Barcelona is the hip kid on the European block. 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!
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.
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
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 are more than a few sartorial gems 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!
Every Catalan penny-pinchers first point of call for Chinese underwear and knock-down threads, there are also plenty of quality items of vintage clothing racked up on stands as well as some great raw materials and accessories for those who want to customise their own clothes later. Apart from garments, you will find loads of weird and wonderful knick-knacks, so if you’re looking for something truly unique (and quite possibly stolen) head on over to Glories!
Pl. de les Glòries Catalanes