Five favourite Hong Kong vintage clothing stores, and three online options too
A lot of high-quality second-hand fashion stores have opened recently in Hong Kong, often hidden away in low-rent malls and commercial buildings. We’ve picked out 5 we think you’ll love
High fashion and the high street have been reworking the pseudo-vintage trend over and over. You know what we mean: the worn-out jeans, the overwashed polos, the retro-ripped jackets. For OCD-types who can’t bear the thought of – shock, horror! – someone once having worn your clothes, we kind of get it. Why not actually go for something authentically vintage – it’s often more affordable.
Hong Kong is starting to see a lot of high-quality second-hand stores. You probably haven’t heard of them, hidden away as they are in low-rent malls and random commercial buildings; some are online only. But search no more – we’ve picked our five favourite vintage shops, from retro classics to couture.
Hidden in a sleepy mall north of Tin Hau’s Electric Road, Midwest Vintage claims to have been the city’s first vintage outlet, and in truth it has been going more than 20 years. It is made up of two adjacent stores, one for menswear and the other for women’s clothes. As its name suggests, Midwest is all about Americana, and to emphasise the fact the owner has dotted items from a rather creepy, and dusty, collection of old toys around the store.
Dig deep and there are plenty of gems to be found: hidden among the standard cache of well-worn, cheesy T-shirts and endless pairs of Levi’s we unearthed 1960s-style bomber jackets, ’50s-era pin-up dresses and an honest-to-goodness Hells Angels-style biker jacket. Midwest has branched out into creating clothes itself under its First Edition label, comprising far-gone vintage redesigned in contemporary styles. Prices run from less than HK$100 for a 1980s summer-camp T-shirt to a good HK$5,000 for that leather jacket we’re so desperately coveting.
Shop 58, Victoria Centre, 15 Watson Road, Tin Hau, tel: 2802 6886 midwest-vintage.com
Retrostone is that really cool vintage store – you know, the one all your high-school friends sporting perfectly worn-out Ramones T-shirts would never tell you about, lest your fashion-impaired ways ruin it for everyone. Located deep in the basement of one of those tiny Mong Kok malls, Retrostone sources its clothes straight from Japan’s vintage stores – meaning the majority of it is post-war American-style clothing in, thankfully, smaller Asian sizes.
Owner Thomas Chiu has a seeming obsession with the good old days of rock ’n’ roll – what some dare to call “classic rock”, these days – and the walls are lined with grimy T-shirts emblazoned with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and everyone else your dad still listens to, alongside the requisite collection of washed-out jeans. But there’s more than just nostalgia on offer here; Chiu has recently started collaborating with up-and-coming designers to rework vintage items, including hand-painted clothes and accessories.
B04&B23, B/F, Trendy Zone, Mong Kok, tel: 2152 9697 facebook.com/retrostone-HK-101249849922892
Mademoiselle Chic Boutique
OK, so the showroom is a bit of a trek, located in Stanley, and it’s by appointment only – but a rendezvous with Mademoiselle Chic (otherwise known as Heloise) is worth the effort for her inimitable sense of style. Here, you’ll find DVF dresses for less than HK$1,500, Gucci pumps for as little as HK$2,000, as well as an incredible selection of bags, accessories and jewellery, all with a decidedly French flavour.
Her selection is remarkably affordable considering some of the labels on offer, and her vintage touch has become so popular she’s started hosting pop-ups around Hong Kong. There’s one going on right now at PMQ in Central, with a selection of consigned and vintage items available at the Label Chic Boutique until June 21. If that isn’t good enough, her website makes it super easy to buy items direct. Stanley, Central and online? Now that’s service.
Showroom (by appointment): Stanley Court, House 8, 9 Stanley Mound Road, Stanley, tel: 6254 2010 labelchicboutique.com
Label Chic PopUp Boutique, until June 21: H211, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central
High-end vintage is hit and miss in Hong Kong. Unlike, say, Paris or New York, where you can buy genuine bargains, here you often end up paying close to the ridiculous original price for a worn-out item. Not at OnceStyle, though. Headed up by Tony Wong, a womenswear enthusiast who first got a taste for vintage fashions from seeing his mother’s chic collections, the store is a mix of classic items and “new” vintage (old pieces that have never been worn).
Walking into the small but well-curated shop is like entering a time warp, with everything from full outfits by Chanel, Dior and Christian Lacroix to a shoe collection most tai-tais would kill for. Prices here are as reasonable as high-end vintage gets: items start from HK$500, and we even spotted a gorgeous Prada handbag for HK$2,000.
1/F, 8 On Wo Lane, Central, tel: 2889 3660 oncestyle.com
Satis-Factory Vintage Emporium
Forget the name – the items on sale here are more than just satisfactory. It’s a hidden gem for all things retro. Owner Salina Lam goes to great lengths to source items from the UK and America. Her focus in recent years has strayed beyond the likes of Gucci and Prada dresses and shoes to Roaring Twenties-style jewellery and accessories. She also has an impressive collection of vintage wedding dresses.
It’s the latter that particularly caught our eye, especially considering so many local wedding dress shops swindle brides to be out of hundreds of thousands for what’s really a one-off piece. Here, you’ll find incredible lace affairs, sleek silk numbers and a range of other special-day favourites on offer, many of them priced at no more than HK$10,000. Best of all, you’ll actually look different to everyone else when you come waltzing down the aisle.
2/F, Po Foo Building, 1 Foo Ming Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 9783 5141 facebook.com/Satis-Factory-Vintage-Emporium-232414313436539
Online vintage shopping
Second-hand stores are not all bricks-and-mortar affairs. In fact, some of the best bargains are to be had by collectors going for broke over the internet. These are our three favourite Hong Kong-based online vintage retailers.
Former fashion executive Renee Tang has curated an incredibly impressive collection of accessories covering the period from the 1950s to the ’90s, from handbags to jewellery. Chanel and Givenchy sit alongside more obscure brands. snvs.co
Vintage1961 goes to great lengths to source their items, and they’re all easily accessed through a simple, clean website interface. They even schlep out to markets once in a while, so you can see them for yourself. vintage1961.me
OK, so Mrs Vintage does have an actual store in Sai Ying Pun, but it’s by appointment only, and her site is so well organised, we couldn’t resist including it. Find shoes, dresses, jackets, jewellery and more, all in one easy platform. mrs-vintage.com