1. Sing Blackbird
This fine little boutique is in the heart of the newly hip area known as Kreuzkölln, which is located at the border between Kreuzberg and Neukölln along one of the canals of the river Spree. Sing Blackbird combines the pleasures of vintage shopping with a small cafe that caters specifically to vegan tastes. In the shop they have selected vintage clothes, accessories, jewellery and shoes, many of which are designer pieces, hence the price range, which is definitely above the average fleamarket bargain. The shop also organises a monthly fleamarket, as well as classic movie screenings and concerts.
• Sanderstrasse 11, Kreuzkölln, no telephone, singblackbird.com. Open Mon-Sun 10.30am-8pm
An amazing vintage shop in Mitte that shouldn’t be missed. They have everything: from crazy Thierry Mugler vintage avant garde chic to items seemingly plucked from grandma’s attic. XVII is a personal, unconventional fairytale vintage closet scattered with candles and old fleamarket furniture. Look out for beautiful 70s dresses, gothic-style 80s leather, and 60s-era oriental-style items reminiscent of Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent’s Marrakech periods.
• Steinstrasse 17, Mitte, +49 30 5448 2882, XVII-store.com. Open Mon-Fr 11am-7pm, Sat 11am-5pm
A beautifully chic store with a hidden backyard garden filled with flowers, where clothes are separated by moods, colours and styles. There’s an exclusive womenswear selection with some excellent specialities – the sequins section may make your eyes pop out of your head – and there is a wide range of costumes and dresses for special occasions. The price range goes from bargains to bankrupting your credit card – so be careful.
• Linienstrasse 204-205, Mitte, +49 30 2847 7781, garments-vintage.de. Open Mon-Sat noon-7pm
4. Made In Berlin
Among the most popular and established secondhand stores in the city, there are two shops in bustling locations. Both offer a large variety of styles from all decades, ranging from fur coats to leather jackets, via sequined dresses, college sweaters, and hooker boots. The Neue Schönhauser shop is surprisingly well-organised, with numerous sections arranged over two clean, bright floors. Experts will recognise the quality of the ever-changing selections, as the buyers put the emphasis on emerging trends.
•Neue Schönhauser 19, Mitte, +49 30 2123 0601, no website. Open Mon-Sat 12am-8pm. Friedrichstrasse 114A, Mitte, +49 30 2404 8900, no website. Open Mon-Fri noon-7pm, Sat noon-8pm
Even if the attitude of this neighbourhood has changed from punk to LOHAS (Life of Health and Sustainability – it’s a new acronym, look it up) in the last decade, Tragfläche stills shows how cool and alternative Prenzlauer Berg used to be. While the owners are rarely friendly, they have good taste, and the prices are affordable. The interior is decked out in fleamarket furniture from the 60s, and be warned, there is a definite whiff to this place, so keep the scented tissues next to your face when entering. Keep your eyes open for leathergoods such as gloves, belts and boots – they are mostly of a very good quality.
• Pappelallee 10, Prenzlauer Berg, +49 30 4985 3275, tragflaeche.de. Open Mon-Sat noon-7pm
If you can’t unearth a bargain in Humana, there’s something wrong with you. You’ll find the shops, part of a humanitarian organisation (such as Oxfam stores in the UK), spread around the whole city, but the Humana Kaufhaus in Friedrichshain is not a secondhand shop, it’s a secondhand department store. The building is gigantic, and has several floors displaying fashion of all ages and stages of decline. The prices are so low you’ll be double-taking … frequently. And you’ll need to dedicate some serious time here too – because there’s tons of trash such as polyester shirts, plastic shoes, children’s carnival costumes and other monstrosities disguising the genuine vintage gems.
• Frankfurter Tor 3, Friedrichshain, +49 30 422 2018, humana-second-hand.de. Open Mon-Sat 10am-8pm
7. Trash Schick
This Friedrichshain shop has the punk attitude of the former squatter community who lived (and, partially, are still living) in this neighbourhood. The whole store is falling apart – in a good way – and everything has a touch of old eastern nostalgia (“ostalgie”), persevering against western capitalism. Even the mannequin in the window seems to emanate a “fuck you” attitude. But the goods are worth it, and you’ll find some excellent designer wares in among the thrift rail.
• Wühlischstrasse 31, Friedrichshain, +49 30 2005 3526, trashschick.de. Open Mon-Sat 12am-8pm
8. Alex Vintage
From outside, Alex Vintage looks like a tourist trap and the kind of place that real Berliners would never go to. But that’s a mistake. In fact, this is an underground paradise of beautiful vintage clothes and accessories. The interior is a colourful clash of 60s and 90s styles, with a very distinctive Californian atmosphere: you half expect to see the shop assistants whizzing through the aisles on rollerskates, in between the rummaging visitors scooping up dresses, jeans, overalls and plastic jewellery.
• Rosa-Luxemburg Strasse 17, Mitte, +49 30 8471 2008, vintage-alex.com. Open Mon-Sat noon-8pm
Garage is one of those huge secondhand markets where you buy clothes by the kilogram. Obviously, with quantity like this you will end up digging through piles of trash, but it’s worth it. The store is hidden in the west Berlin district of Schöneberg, far away from all the hip boutiques in Mitte, but once you enter you’ll find a giant industrial hall full of possibilities. Look out for the colourful 80s polyester tracksuits, 60s flower skirts, and baroque-style velvet dresses.
• Ahornstrasse 2, Schöneberg, +49 30 211 2760, kleidermarkt.de. Open Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 11am-6pm
10. Das neue Schwarz
Found right on one of Berlin’s most important fashion streets, Das neue Schwarz is surrounded by the stores and studios of some of the best avant garde designers in the city. The selection of clothes, accessories and shoes mostly consists of exclusive vintage designer pieces and new-vintage from big-name designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Raf Simons, Bernhard Willhelm and Martin Margiela. They seem to have a really good eye for gorgeous designer shoes and bags, and the store also offers home and decor items. Handily, there’s also a webshop with worldwide shipping.
• Mulackstrasse 37, Mitte, +49 30 2787 4467, dasneueschwarz.de. Open Mon Thu-Sat noon-8pm
Source: Claudio Rimmele and Frank R Schroeder write for iHeartBerlin.de 10 of the best vintage fashion stores in Berlin | Travel | The Guardian