With fashion changing faster than a South American government, it can get pretty pricey for young and hip Vancouverites to stay on top of the trends. But with brand named stores rife with faux "pre-worn" clothes, jeans with artificial holes and weathered finishes, faded band t-shirts for acts that never existed, and "authentic vintage shades,” more and more people are heading to the second-hand shops to find their next fashion treasure.
In the interest of giving you a leg up on how to join the ranks of the stylish elite, here are The Vancouver Observer’s list of the top 10 ten vintage stores in Vancouver.
Value Village in Richmond
Spacious aisles, high ceilings, and of course the almost unlimited variety of finds here make the VV Richmond store a first stop for anyone on a bargain hunt. Where else can you buy a leather jacket, a set of precious memory plates and roller skates in the same spot? Another selling point here, is that because it’s situated in Richmond, you might actually beat the other hipster clothes-horses for the hottest finds.
Salvation Army on Kingsway
Right behind the other senior statesman in this category, the Salvation Army thrift store offers much of the same as the Village of Value. But if you would rather have your hard-earned dollar head towards a good cause and not to pad the bottom line of some multi-national conglomerate, this is a definite destination for funky frugal fashionistas. And because it, too, stands proudly off the beaten path, the chances of finding a hidden diamond in the rough are higher here than more centrally located bargain boxes.
With locations on Commercial Drive and in Gastown, Mintage offers a tightly edited selection of hand picked once loved articles. Since '05, the uber-hip staff have been doing the hard work for you, so only the cool stuff makes it out to the racks.
Another Gastown shopping spot, Deluxe Junk offers men and women's clothing, jewelry, and accessories, but what makes it stand out is the consignment service they offer. People who've made enough of their current threads can head down here and drop them off with a chance of turning a buck, while picking up some fresh duds.
Gastown is the destination for second hand shoppers. Woo Vintage stands out with its unique selection and online store. If you can't make it to the location on 321 Hastings, you can always surf over to their website and take a virtual browse through their cyber racks.
Legends Retro Fashion
Setting their sights on offering wicked selections from the '50s and '60s, this shop has anything the aspiring Sandra Dee or greaser could want. If it’s hard to find, it’s here.
Dragon & Phoenix
Specifically for the ladies, Dragon & Phoenix offers a great selection of the highest quality second hand goods. The knowledgeable staff keeps abreast of the latest trends and can help any wayward shopper find their perfect outfit here.
True Value Vintage
With items from as far back as the 1920s, this downstairs shop on the south side of Robson, just west of Granville, makes a great stop for visitors checking out the downtown. With pile upon pile of nifty gear and groovy grabs, this shop has it all.
If it's good enough for the movies, it's good enough for you. Used Vintage not only offer tons of terrific garments for sale, but they also offer up their wares for rent when production crews need hip stuff for film. Your latest grab here might have been in the next big-screen blockbuster, if only you hadn’t gotten to it first.
What makes this Kits shop stand head and shoulders above the rest is not the depth or the breadth of the selection, but rather the country of origin of the fashions. With most of the clothing here coming from Japan or Korea, the styles found at Shine are weeks a head of the curve and are sure to be one of a kind.
Photos by Lauren Martin: Steve Venegas at True Value Vintage on Robson