1980s Brighton was home to loads of excellent vintage shops. Does anyone remember May’s Clothing on Trafalgar Street? Back then, vintage meant 1920s to 1960s stuff. Now the 1970s and ‘80s have fallen into the retro classification and the 1990s will probably qualify as vintage sooner or later.
After a long spell where new and blingy was the done thing and almost all of the city’s retro shops died a death, second hand style is back. And it’s back with a vengeance. In the past three years a host of vintage fashion and home wares shops have opened up right across town.
Old school vintage survivors
Two survivors from the olden days are To Be Worn Again on Sydney Street and the shop at the end of Kensington Gardens in the North Laine, on your left as you face south. There’s an excellent clothing section at the back and he sometimes even stocks original 1960s winklepickers, pretty rare these days.
New kids on the block
The newer arrivals include several more down Sydney Street, which is rapidly becoming Brighton’s retro style centre. There are more scattered around the North Laine, with new ones springing up all the time. And there’s a vast emporium, Beyond Retro, on Vine Street, stacked with clothes and shoes and particularly excellent for checked shirts / 1980s sparkly frocks with sequins and shoulder pads.
Head for Snooper’s Paradise, also on Kensington Gardens, where there are an increasing number of vintage clothing stalls. Upstairs is amazing, a couture house of a place with some wonderful ladies classics and enough men’s tweed to sink a battleship. There’s another new-ish place just off George Street in Hove, where the old YMCA shop used to be. Brilliant for poking around in and the source of all sorts of retro treasure. Plus a good few in Kemptown.
The Vintage Brighton website
The Vintage Brighton directory has a full list of city outlets including maps, addresses, phone numbers and websites.
Being eclectic – typical Brighton
Going vintage doesn’t mean going the whole hog. You can mix and match. That’s the beauty of the new-look retro scene. Back in the 1980s if you had a Victorian house, you decked it out in Victorian-style furniture and décor. Now it’s much more fun. You can team a set of three Ercol ‘Pebble’ occasional tables with a few semi-antique Persian rugs from Ebay, a contemporary glass vase from habitat, a 1990s leather Chesterfield and a French 1930s bureau if you like. Go create!
Our city has always been about breaking the rules and doing things differently. Which is probably why our vintage scene is so healthy! What’s your favourite vintage store?
PS. A little bird tells me there's a huge new store planned for the city centre, too. Keep your eyes peeled...
(Thanks to Gabriella Fabbri for the beautiful royalty free image)
Member since: 23rd March 2013
News and views from the team at The Best Of Brighton and Hove.