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Photo by Maia Schoenfelder
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vin·tage (adj) denoting something from the past of high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind.
Vintage does not equal ‘used’. While second-hand stores abound in Berlin, most of the stock is comprised of last season’s ratty, threadbare and sometimes suspicious smelling H&M garb. True vintage must be exceptional in quality, at least 20 years old and in original condition.
Despite Berlin’s reputation for retro, real vintage fashion is surprisingly hard to find here. Luckily, you don’t have to spend days on end sifting through the dross – we’ve done it for you. Here are the 27 shops you should know about.
Pick your decade and your need:
- 1880s-1940s: Old world elegance Turn up the decadence and glamour. Whether you’re more of a corseted Belle Époque contessa, a silent-era diva, a roaring flapper or a 1940s urbanite, these vintage troves will get you ready for your close-up.
- 1950s-1960s Greasers and pin-ups Rev your engines, backcomb that beehive and head to one of these reservoirs of retro-cool and glamour. From 1950s baby doll dresses and petty coats to 1960s leather jackets to saddle shoes and pink chiffon, there’s plenty to satisfy any modern-day Marlon or Marilyn.
- 1960s-1970s Radical chic Fringed suede, floral peasant dresses, GDR Olympic dancing skirts: from mod to détente, these shops will leave you feelin’ groovy and dressed for the revolution.
- 1980s-1990s Neon and grunge This is where Berlin’s Nina Hagen acolytes and Kate Moss clones go to get their nostalgic fashion fix. Sequined colour-blocked sweaters, new wave bangles and perfectly acid washed denim at these shops will take you all the way from “Material Girl” to “Miss World”.
- Original sin Though some stock a normal range of vintage items, these shops specialise in original designs and big-name labels, from collectors’ kicks to haute couture.
- Finishing touches From fin-de-siècle brooches and Art Deco earrings to leopard-print pumps and weaved leather handbags, these shops are the best of the best when it comes to vintage accessories.