Not only is thrifting rapidly becoming the trendy pastime of the moment, it’s also incredibly sustainable and beneficial for the environment. And what better place to try it out than in Berlin, arguably one of the most fashionable cities in the world? By Erica Smith
Berlin, June 13th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) – Despite all the talk of the treasures that await in the depths of the city’s numerous thrift and vintage stores, it can be hard to know where to begin. Sometimes, there really can be such a thing as too much choice! Follow our handy Top 10 guide of the best places to buy second hand clothes in Berlin that hopefully makes the task a little less daunting.
10. Humana – Mitte, Alexanderstrasse 7
Let’s start off easy – Humana is undoubtedly your best bet for second-hand clothes shopping in Berlin. With 37 stores across the city (3 of which appear in this list!), there’s a huge range of selection. Humana prides itself in being a leader in sustainability, sell stock at very reasonable expense, and even takes card (a rarity in Berlin!). Their commitment to colour-sorting is very impressive, and makes it easy to find anything you’re looking for. The Alexanderplatz store is easily reachable by public transport from anywhere in the city, and notably has a great range of plus-sized options.
9. The Laden – Kreuzberg, Adalbertstrasse 92
This little shop is situated very near to Kottbusser Tor, the bustling centre of Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighbourhood. Slightly hidden away, you have to descend below street level to enter this cellar that’s arguably Adalbertstrasse’s best-kept secret! Watch out for their opening times so you don’t miss them (Tues-Sat, generally from 1pm onwards – check out their Instagram for more details).
8. V Vintage Fashion – Friedrichshain, Kopernikusstrasse 18
With calming wooden exteriors and a huge selection of loudly patterned woollen jumpers, this store can feel more Scandinavian than German! V Vintage Fashion are particularly good at 80s fashion (shell suits, anyone?) and have some of the most unique statement pieces I’ve come across in the whole city.
7. Second Hand Paradies – Kreuzberg, Adalbertstrasse 17
This quirky little shop is also a stone’s throw away from Kottbusser Tor. Expect to find a vast selection of classy furs and grungy leathers, perfect for winter. If you’re looking for a new pair of boots or shoes, this is the place – as you can see from the countless pairs lined up in their window.
6. Sing Blackbird – Neukölln, Sanderstrasse 11
Ever feel the sudden urge to have a coffee when on a shopping spree? Well if you visit Sing Blackbird, you’re in the perfect place to satisfy these needs. The sign above the door advertises ‘Vintage Coffee & Clothes’ and, well, there’s not much more to it than that. Pro: if you can’t make up your mind about what to choose from their stylish retro collection, you can sit and mull it over whilst enjoying something delicious from their vegetarian-friendly menu.
5. Humana – Friedrichshain, Warschauer Strasse 55
This was the fist second-hand shop I visited as a newcomer to Berlin – and boy, was I in for a treat. I was already impressed with the selection of casual and work wear on the ground floor, but as soon as you descend the stairs into their vintage section, you enter an Aladdin’s cave of pieces from days gone by. This is the perfect place if you’re looking for a new Berlin-style winter jacket – or for a last minute outfit if you decide to attempt the doors of Friedrichshain’s nearby clubs and forgot to pack your all-black attire.
4. Vintage Revivals – Mitte, Münzstrasse 5
If you’re looking for style, this is the right place to choose. This up-and-coming contemporary second-hand brand is now opening locations all around Germany. Unique clothing and accessories are in abundance in their futuristically designed store space – and there’s a great big mirror by the dressing rooms to try on your new attire.
3. Made in Berlin – Mitte, Neue Schönhauser Strasse 19
The glittering gem of this shop is undoubtedly its cellar – I’ve never seen so much old school party wear in one place! This shop has two floors and caters for all genders and sizes, and funky little mannequins and wacky figures are dotted around, making for a weird and wonderful shopping experience.
2. Picknweight – Mitte, Münzstrasse 19
Again – an absolutely amazing location in terms of all that’s on offer. The concept of this store is that prices of clothes depend on their weight. Each item will have a coloured tag according to their price bracket, and once you’ve chosen your new clothes, simply take them to the counter to be weighed.
1. Humana – Friedrichshain, Frankfurter Tor 3
We couldn’t write an article about thrifting in Berlin without including Humana’s flagship store at Frankfurter Tor. The biggest second-hand shop in Europe, there are 5 floors of excellent quality pre-loved and vintage clothes to choose from. The best thing is that you can go in with a shopping list and come out with everything you’re after – I’ve even seen wedding dresses inside! Personally, I find shopping here a better experience than in the vast majority of Berlin’s high-street stores.