Vintage & Thrift Stores In Cape Town [A Tourists Guide]
As shoppers become more conscious of the dangers of fast fashion to the environment and delays in the global supply chain, people are looking for new ways to shop.
The rise in demand for fast fashion on the cheap (both in price and quality) has resulted in the destruction of textile production in many countries that previously had stability. South Africa is one country that has suffered from China’s monopoly on textiles.
Once this global pandemic passes, we will all be faced with choices now that we have seen just how reliant we have become on foreign production.
Do we go back to following greedy business models of only worrying about the bottom line and maximising profits? Or do we bring back these industries now that we are all more consciously aware of the danger of being too reliant on others?
We can support local businesses by hunting for festival threads in second-hand shops and thrift stores. So not only are we reusing items instead of polluting, but we can also support our economies. Here is a look at the best thrifting experiences in Cape Town to get your festival fashion on point.
Whether you are thrifting for threads for the South African festival season or a tourist visiting Cape Town on a budget, there are some great places to look in the Mother City.
So, Let’s get into it!
Milnerton Flea Market
Any good thrifter out there knows that car boot sales are where you will find the real gems. It’s where you are most likely to find unique items. If you are willing to put in the work and rummage through endless piles of stuff, there is usually something worth your while. Perfect for random items that make up your festival packing list. You’re also guaranteed to not run into someone else at the festival wearing your exact outfit.
South African women & men are turning their closets into viable businesses. With just a great photo & an easy online platform, sellers & independent designers are turning their new/unworn/barely worn clothes into an extra income, and the shoppers are LOVING it.
Welcome to the digital era of thrifting, where you can shop from the most stylish closets in South Africa. Wisi-Oi Marketplace is the latest startup that makes the process of selling & buying preloved fashion seamless.
You simply sign up, upload great quality images, add your pricing and your product is ready to be bought by our fashion-loving community. Here’s How It Works.
You can find them in the Long Street Antique Arcade. Everything from the ’50s and right up until those glorious 80’s shoulder pads are for sale. The décor is very bold and is worth a visit in its own right.
Second Time Around
It is perhaps the most well-known vintage shop in the city. Recently having undergone a refurb, they strongly emphasise quality goods for sale. As a result, the selection is truly massive. Everything from men’s suits to fur coats covering the 20s to the present day. They pick a large portion of their stock and also receive items from walk-ins.
Afraid Of Mice
Haute culture that’s kind to your wallet. This sibling owned establishment is a pleasure to browse. Featuring uncluttered rails and a must-free aroma. All the items have undergone careful consideration from the owners. If you are after refreshingly attainable name brands, then this is your local.
All the power of thrifting, but from the comfort of your sofa. That’s right, Lehza is 100% online. A carefully curated inventory where the focus is on quality. All items can be delivered nationwide for a nominal fee. That’s maybe even more to the point of giving back to the national economy.
Grand Funk Retro Village
It is a great overall shopping experience with their super friendly staff and upbeat music to get you ready for your festival outing. Their rails are always packed with new stock, and their great tunes will entertain you for ages while you find something from the past.
South Africa is establishing itself in e-Commerce, and Yaga is a fine example of a preloved fashion marketplace. It not only allows you to buy some great pieces but also to sell. So it’s a seamless platform for your cyclical fashion needs.
One of the best things about preloved fashion is that you’re likely to find something higher quality that will still be in great shape to re-sell, should you choose to.
*update: Babette is now permanently closed*
This Cape Town-based clothing boutique has unique fashion, shoes and accessories hand sourced or made. Anything ranging from hats to sweaters, you’re bound to find something no one else has. They occasionally do pop-up events such as the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. It’s a fabulous little boutique that only stocks womenswear.
It opened in 1971 and self-described as a treasure trove for second-hand finds. It’s a great place to find costume jewellery and a designer piece or two. The team have extensive knowledge of fashion through the decades and can offer a wealth of advice for finding great pieces. It’s this kind of eye that’ll help you find a great ensemble for your next festival.
Never New Store
Never New Store is one must-see vintage store in Cape Town. If you’re looking for a fresh coat to wear to Afrikaburn, or Vortex or any other South African music festival – this could be the one.
They also have shoes, costume jewellery, among other great pieces. There’s nothing better than a great coat to keep you warm on those cold festival nights when you can’t seem to leave the dance floor. We know how chilly those nights can get!
Old News Vintage
Old News Vintage is a must for women’s fashion. There are plenty of unique pieces that could not only be adorned at music festivals but also could become part of your everyday wardrobe.
We love their honesty about not having the foggiest idea of which fabrics the pieces are made from. This thrift store in Cape Town is not pretentious, and we appreciate it.
Vintage fashion isn’t meant to be about paying insane prices for designer labels. If it is, then you may be shopping in the wrong place.
Be Mine, By Gones
Another online-only thrift store to make our list, with all pieces being posted directly to you. You won’t get that same browsing experience, but they sell some incredible pieces and are high-quality vintage options. While online shopping isn’t quite the same, it’s great that you can still easily access your vintage fix from the comfort of home.
Vintage and the City
Vintage and the City decided last year to focus entirely online and closed their store. So instead, they’ve channelled their efforts into creating an eCommerce website, and we love their jersey selection.
There are some truly epic pieces from this store. While there’s a lot to be said about having a browse through a physical thrift store, we do have to give props to businesses that have adapted.
*Update: Vintage and the City are open Saturday’s 9AM – 3PM*
Loose Change Thrift
We love that they sell second-hand vintage cameras. Would your Cape Town vintage shopping be complete without one? You’ll also be able to take some great film snaps during your trip to South Africa. It wouldn’t be a whole Cape Town experience without your film camera.
Bangbang Vintage Market
If you are craving a vintage store peruse, we’d recommend Lower Main Road in Observatory. There are loads of vintage stores along the road, including Bangbang Vintage Market.
As far as thrift stores in Cape Town go, this one has to be the most versatile. If you’re going disco, punk, goth, whatever… it’s here! If you’re looking at taking some fashion risks, then check this one out.
Second Coming Vintage
If you’re on the lookout for a tropical shirt or some Doc Martens, this is your place. They have a smaller selection than some of the other stores on this list, but it’s great if you’re looking for something niche.
Nestled near Kloof street is Dreamland Vintage, a great thrift store to find your next festival fashion piece. From leather and suede jackets to vintage sweatshirts, you’ll find some great items for your next boogie (and beyond).
Now, this is the vintage jacket heaven of Cape Town. There are loads to choose from, and it’s tempting to buy all of them. We couldn’t think of anything better than one of their colourful windbreakers at the next festival. We love their quirk, and this has to be a stop during your thrift shopping in Cape Town.
Gracious Daisy Vintage
While you’re browsing other vintage stores on Long Street, we recommend having a look through Gracious Daisy. This is a great spot to find some unique pieces that will inspire your next festival season.
As far thrift stores in Cape Town go, this is an ideal place to look through for some treasures. There’s an art to finding diamonds in the rough, and Gracious Daisy is the perfect vintage store to browse through.