A local’s guide to vintage shopping & sustainable fashion in Edinburgh

Timeless and era-defining with a dash of eccentricity – enhance your shopping experience beyond the high street with our local’s guide to the best vintage shops in town.

Following her desire to live a less wasteful lifestyle, Edinburgh local and vintage fashion enthusiast Annika made the resolution to shop ONLY second hand. Since then, she’s had a blast scoping out Edinburgh’s best vintage boutiques and second-hand shops.

This article is adapted from Annika’s ‘Vintage Shopping & Sustainable Fashion’ audio walking tour, available on Spotify and on our free app!

1. Carnival Vintage

Image by Carnival Vintage

“So classy. Isn’t that the point of vintage, that it is timeless?”

Annika Neilson

Carnival Vintage takes era-defining fashion to it’s the most literal definition, as all the garments in-store are organised by time period, with clothes for both men and women dating back to the Victorian Era. Fear not! The clothes don’t look or feel old, as the quality and care put into preserving these clothes are to the highest standard, and with a particular speciality in evening gowns, you can easily relive the glitz and the glam from your favourite time period (or at least dress like it)!

2. Herman Brown

Image by Vilda Magazine

“Herman Brown has a history of travelling far and wide to collect the best, most uniqueone-off pieces. Where they go however, is a secret.”

Annika Neilson

Herman Brown is a treasure trove of cherry-picked, unique and one-off pieces from all around the world, including an impressive jewellery collection personally selected by the owner. ⁣ There’s a real sense of quality over quantity, as the shop floors are not overcrowded and everything on display looks carefully selected. As one of Annika’s favourite vintage shops, her tip is to look out for their great selection of knitwear and jumpers! ⁣

3. Antiques Curious Cabaret

Image by Antiques Curious Cabaret

“Antiques Curious Cabaret. Aka, Aladdin’s Cave!”

Annika Neilson

Tightly packed with trinkets, ornaments, books and so much more, Antiques Curious Cabaret is any magpie’s dream. Both quirky and enchanting, this is an ideal spot to really take your time and have a good wee gander. Annika’s recommends checking out their vintage jewellery collection. Top tip: If you let the shop assistant know your budget, they will direct you to pieces that fit your requirements.

4. Godiva

“The designers selected for instore normally use brightly coloured fabrics, and so combined with the stylish vintage interiors, it is a really welcoming environment to walk into.”

Annika Neilson

Unconventional and innovative, Godiva is an independent boutique and vintage shop that believes in celebrating fashion without being enslaved by it. ⁣⁣With a strong desire to break the monotony of fast fashion, their front room showcases independent brands and local designers and their backroom is stocked with handpicked, quality vintage clothes. While ethically made garments can sometimes cost more, make sure you keep an eye out for their bargain bin!

5. Armstrong’s

“I don’t think anything could have mentally prepared you for this shop. It’s a bit much. In the best of ways.”

Annika Neilson

Established in 1840, W. Armstrong & Son is one of the most iconic and well-loved vintage shops in Edinburgh, with three branches scattered throughout the city.⁣⁣ Their Grassmarket shop (pictured) specialises in formal wear, tweed, knitwear, 80’s and wigs and boas, and everything in-store is handpicked with love. You can expect to find one of a kind pieces and era-defining garments both men and women! ⁣⁣Brimming with eccentric decor, the interior can best be described as a quirky wardrobe time machine. So even if you’re not looking to buy, Armstrong’s is well worth a visit! ⁣⁣

6. Fabhatrix

“Can you think of anything more surreal than entering a room where everyone is laughing, and wearing a hat? That is the Fabhatrix experience.” ⁣

Annika Neilson

From its first debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Markets in the 80’s to opening up shop in Grassmarket in 2002, Fabhatrix has always stood out because of its outstanding craftsmanship and the ethical sourcing of its materials, and hats. Every hat is made in-store, in a workshop downstairs! ⁣

That concludes Annika’s guide to Edinburgh’s best vintage shops! If you’d like to hear more about vintage shopping from a sustainable perspective, or her hilarious vintage shopping smell test, check out her Trax on Spotify or on our free app.