Header image courtesy of Onur Bahçıvancılar (Unsplash)
Originally published by Amanda Sheppard. Last updated by Inés Fung and Nicole Hurip.
The fashion industry is a multibillion-dollar industry, but it also generates millions of tons of waste every year. Constantly buying new clothes contributes to the cycle of pollution and wastage, but the human need for newness and beautiful things still persists.
So far, the best solution we’ve come up with is to shop vintage and second-hand and buy items that last longer to avoid creating unnecessary trash. Hong Kong has quite a few vintage and second-hand shops selling clothing, accessories, and other lifestyle goods hidden in its nooks and crannies. Here are the best ones for you to start your journey to close the loop and live sustainably and fashionably.
Situated on the tail end of the popular tourist attraction Cat Street (known for stocking an eclectic mixture of antiques and knick-knacks), Hipster 9 is a small shopfront filled to the brim with vintage clothing, accessories, and homeware items and furnishings. Head here for a wide range of one-off items as well as statement accessories.
Hipster 9, G/F, 6 Lok Ku Road, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2310 0688
With a carefully curated selection of vintage and antique items, Vintage 1961 highlights ornate items and craftsmanship. The emphasis on classic elegance isn’t coincidental—the “1961” in the shop name refers to the year in which Audrey Hepburn’s iconic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s was released. It sells everything from jewellery and antique handheld mirrors to tea sets and clothing. All pieces date between the late nineteenth century to the 1980s, with new stock arriving on a weekly basis.
Vintage 1961, Room 01, 12/F, Bonham Commercial Centre, 44–46 Bonham Strand West, Sheung Wan | (+852) 5588 8339
A tiny treasure trove filled with knick-knacks and doodahs, thingamajigs, and whatchamacallits. Clocks, cameras, vintage metal ad signs, and stereos line the walls from floor to ceiling. Typewriters, rotary dial desk telephones, figurines, and vintage ashtrays clutter the shelves. You can also find vintage furniture and dinnerware there, and a whole corner of glasses and shades by Mido Glasses. Music is blasted from speakers, playing vinyl records spun on a gramophone.
Select 18, G/F, 14 Tung Street, Sheung Wan
Affectionately known as “the $5 store” by many, Mee & Gee is a unisex clothing store with a vast collection of second-hand and vintage apparel. Contrary to its nickname, prices aren’t capped at $5, but clothes are organised onto racks and separated by price. If you’ve got time on your hands to sift through the store, there are hidden gems to be found in every corner. With its racks on racks of Hawaiian shirts and gaudy silk shirts, it’s also a great place to get pieces for a themed party in a pinch.
Tucked into an alleyway on Graham Street is Beatniks. True to its name, Beatniks stocks a range of apparel and accessories from the 1960s and 1970s, from handmade décor to statement coats. There are also several garments made from repurposed textiles—with frumpy dresses transformed into trendy playsuits, and more. This treasure trove has also been known to stock an array of now-discontinued designer collections, as well as military surplus jackets.
Beatniks, B/F, 31 Staunton Street, Central | (+852) 2881 7153
Whether you’re looking for an authentic costume or a subtle piece in nod to the heyday of disco, BANG! BANG! 70s is likely to have what you’re after. Stocking an assortment of vintage clothing dating back to the 1970s, the store boasts an impressive range of designer brands, including vintage Dior and Chanel, and Harley Davidson leathers.
BANG! BANG! 70s, G/F, 16 Aberdeen Street, Central | (+852) 6461 7448
This second-hand store may not stock exclusively vintage items, but its many branches do hold a treasure trove of fashion items, ranging from clothing to shoes, handbags, and other accessories. You can give them all a second life at Green Ladies via their consignment service, provided your items are in good condition and in style. The social enterprise aims to reduce waste and the environmental impact of the fashion industry through its consignment service, hoping to combat the habits that have led to a whopping 293 tonnes of textiles being disposed of into Hong Kong’s landfills on a daily basis.
This by-appointment-only vintage shop sells stunning pieces of vintage jewellery and other rare finds. You can also find designer pieces from the 1980s and 1990s, courtesy of Chanel, Hermès, and Chloé. Long lace gowns, silk dresses, and embroidered tea frocks line the racks, behind glittering fragments of gold and jewels.
Xiaoshiguang, Room 103, Lam’s Building, 6–10 Kau U Fong, Central | +852 2530 0035
This store feels like a classy grandma’s closet, with low lighting and plenty of lace doilies. Vintage silk slips and floral tops are a mainstay, plus qipaos and kimono-style jackets. There is also a glass cabinet filled with vintage jewellery, designer and otherwise. Shoes are from their in-house brand, also retro-inspired.
Bohemian Artistic, 27 Aberdeen Street, Central | (+852) 2385 8899
The non-profit group operates a second-hand store hidden in the basement of an office tower in Central, selling donated clothing and accessories. You can find high-quality items at a steal—suits, dresses, ties, coats, scarves, and sometimes even mink coats. The store also carries fair trade goods by local organisations and social enterprises. Shop for a good cause!
Oxfam Shop, LG8, Basement, Jardine House, 1 Connaught Place, Central | (+852) 2522 1765
A vintage kitsch lifestyle and clothing shop formed in partnership with the original store in Harajuku, Bunkaya Zakkaten is filled with quirky pieces for the alternative fashionista. Ironically, the original location in Japan is closed down, leaving the Hong Kong outpost with the task of continuing the brand’s legacy as the underground-but-not-really-underground destination for trendy outfits and home décor.
Bunkaya Zakkaten, 22 Kimberley Street, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2721 2227
Frocks, headpieces, and beaded purses line the shelves and racks of this vintage store on Granville Road. An explosion of colour and print, Little DOT Vintage specialises in vintage womenswear from the 1950s to 1980s, sourced from Japan and the US.
Little DOT Vintage, 1/F, 47 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 6356 3049
Located opposite the K11 art mall, Hello Hippie has a great selection of reworked vintage shirts and tops, sourced from all over the world. They started as an online store and recently opened up a physical location. Whether it is a pair of overalls, a beret, or a patchwork summer frock you’re looking for, this store will have you covered. They also stock quirky home goods and retro décor, along with purses and backpacks.
Hello Hippie, Room A3, Block A, 1/F, Friends’ House, 6 Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 6723 7773
If you’re a fan of band tees, you’re in luck. Retrostone has stacks on stacks of vintage band tees, Hawaiian shirts, overalls, vests, and plenty of denim. Oversized, tie-dyed, and distressed, Retrostone is the perfect place for fans of a more menswear-inspired outfit.
Retrostone, Trendy Zone, B04 & B23 Chow Tai Fook Commercial Centre, 580A Nathan Road, Mong Kok | (+852) 2152 9697
For more than 25 years, Midwest has specialised in sourcing one-of-a-kind vintage US fashion accessories and clothing. Their shop in Tin Hau is a slice of absolute Americana, filled with knick-knacks ranging from Hawaiian shirts to old camping Thermos bottles. With quality at the core of its service, Midwest Vintage ensures that all items are professionally dry-cleaned before they are placed for sale.
Midwest Vintage, Shop 58, G/F, Victoria Centre, 15 Watson Road, Tin Hau | (+852) 2802 6886
1ofaKIND is an initiative created by ImpactHK, a charity devoted to helping those in need by providing them with supplies as well as employment opportunities. The store hires homeless citizens in Hong Kong and sells second-hand clothing, shoes, and accessories obtained from donations. 1ofaKIND also has a café that serves snacks and drinks at no cost, but customers can pay it forward so people in need can enjoy a hot drink or snack when they walk into the shop. Sometimes, 1ofaKIND has an in-house busker so you can enjoy some tunes while you contribute to a worthy cause!
1ofaKIND, Shop 8, Man Wai Building, 2–24 Man Wai Street, Yau Ma Tei | (+852) 2448 8848
Shop for a good cause at HULA! The physical location of this beloved online marketplace for pre-loved designer womenswear is filled with pieces from designers like 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alaïa, Balenciaga, Céline, Chanel, Chloé, Isabel Marant, Saint Laurent, and Valentino. Every item is carefully sourced and vetted, so authenticity is guaranteed. 5 percent of their profits go to their partner charities, such as Food Angel, Habitat for Humanity, and Liberty Asia.
HULA, 5A, 12 Yip Fat Street, Evergreen Industrial Mansion, Wong Chuk Hang | (+852) 2544 1511
Hidden inside an industrial building in Tsuen Wan, this vintage select shop’s motto is to fight fast fashion “grannie-style” by selling different types of vintage goods and other eco-friendly products. You can find plenty of long floral dresses in all colours, plus shirts in various states of print and pattern. Vintage earrings and other miscellaneous accessories are also available to complete the stylish grandma look.
Grannie Kiddie, Flat B07, 4/F, 36 Pak Tin Par Street, Goodwill Industrial Building, Tsuen Wan | (+852) 6718 7697
Local environmental charity Redress regularly hosts pop-up shops across town, selling second-hand clothing, shoes, and accessories selected from donations. There is a wide variety of options available, including womenswear, menswear, as well as children’s wear. As plenty of celebrities are involved with the charity, their stock often includes high-end couture wear and designer digs at a fraction of their retail price. Follow their Facebook page for details of their next pop-up.
Promoting conscious consumption and a mindful lifestyle, Jup Yeah is a local platform that facilitates clothing swaps, online and offline. They host an ongoing series of events, flea-market style, which has been taking place around Hong Kong since 2011. Their name in Cantonese means to “take things” or “tidy things,” building upon the notion that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Follow their Facebook page for details of their next pop-up.