Whether you’re more Ferris Bueller than Fresh Prince, Jenessa Williams guides thrifters to the city's vintage hotspots
When it comes to vintage shopping in Leeds, it pays to know exactly where to look. Without a distinct ‘alternative’ area such as Manchester’s Northern Quarter, the high street can seem scant of vintage wares until you realise just how many are right under your nose in the city centre.
With summer coming up and many of us wanting to adding a little more uniqueness to our wardrobe, vintage is the perfect alternative to your run-of-the-mill trends. We never need an excuse to get rummaging, so we took it upon ourselves to collate a guide of all the best treasure troves to snap up that retro look. Whether you’re more Ferris Bueller or Fresh Prince, Hepburn or Horowitz, these six stops have the answer…
With stores also in Liverpool, London and Manchester, Pop’s well-priced and diverse offering makes for a pleasant shopping experience that won’t intimidate those who are only just dipping their toe into vintage wear.
With friendly staff and an often-killer playlist, their mix of retro-inspired own brand pieces and true vintage is impressive and well-balanced, featuring trend led shapes and styles that would be gladly worn by those more used to the likes of Topshop and Urban Outfitters.
Don’t forget to head to their basement – there lies a strong selection of brightly patterned shirts and quirky dresses, perfect for wanting to achieve some 80’s cool.
Pop Boutique, 12-14 Central Road, City Centre, Leeds LS1 6DE
Situated in a prime student position on Headingley High Street, Sue Ryder Vintage is a charitable fiesta of yesteryear – colour-coordinated and hung by era, you couldn’t ask for a neater second-hand shopping experience.
A tad pricier than the average charity shop, the stock is highly-curated and reminiscent of days past in Leeds – pieces from M&S’s heritage collection St Michaels feature heavily alongside a keen sense of community spirit – the walls are coated with flyers promoting creative events in the area and regular fashion design and knitting clubs operate from its upstairs floor. It’s also a great spot to pick up some classic vinyl – record prices start at just £3.
Sue Ryder Vintage Fair , 57 Otley Road, Leeds LS6 3AB
The real OG of Leeds’ vintage offering would have to be Blue Rinse. Step inside that cobalt building and you’ll find everything that a style-conscious shopper could possibly want across its four floors.
Insta-worthy tie-dye, floral dresses and dungarees are all in abundance ahead of the summer season, but it’s also great for accessories – bum bags, belts and scrunchies can all be snapped up here for a reasonable price. For something a little extra, their Remade in England concession is well worth a gander – making use of damaged fabrics by turning them into quirky new lines, we were especially taken by their pastel pink overdyed denim and t-shirt style tops made from silky offcuts.
Blue Rinse , 9-11 Call Lane, Leeds, LS1 7D
Housed within the stunning surrounds of the Corn Exchange, the newly instated Twit-Woo Vintage Boutique offers a more classical approach to retro dressing. Tweedy suits mingle with floaty frocks and kitsch memorabilia to create a vibe befitting traditional assumptions of what vintage is –perfect for those who prefer 50s/60s styles or perhaps have a fancy event coming up.
Twit-woo , Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, LS1 7BR
It would be rude to compile this list without mention a vintage shop that is literally called ‘Best’. Luckily, it lives up pretty close to its name – despite its innocuous awnings, what lies inside is a serious range of well-curated sportswear names for both guys and gals.
Best also provides the highest attention to detail when it comes to re-work stock. For those who know the lure of festival season, their polo-shirt-turned-90-co-ord is a must-have, as are the slubby 90s sweaters cropped at the waist. With an average piece rocking in at the £30-£40 mark it’s not the cheapest of shopping experiences but proves that vintage has come a long way since car boot sales and Nana’s fusty cast-offs.
BEST vintage, 22-24 New Market Street, Leeds, LS1 6DG
Born in Leeds over ten years ago, Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair has earnt its name as the country’s largest travelling vintage market.
Boasting a collection of highly curated and diverse traders, these guys know their stuff and can be trusted when it comes to making an investment in that perfect retro piece. We’re not just talking clothes either – homewares and accessories will also be on offer when it returns to Leeds Corn Exchange on 23 April.
If thrift hunting is more your thing, Judy’s little sister The Vintage Kilo Sale is a savvy alternative. The process is simple – roll up those sleeves, rummage the rails and bales and pay just £15 per kilo for whatever you find.
A surefire way to refill your wardrobe, the best part of kilo shopping is not knowing what bargains you may find – past visits have turned up everything from a Moschino jacket to authentic Levis all for a snip of their likely retail price elsewhere. The Vintage Kilo Sale makes it’s well-awaited return on the 21 May, taking place for the first time at Left Bank Leeds, boasting street food and a live DJ – what’s not to love?
Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair, Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, LS1 7BR