Shopping for fashion ideas & second-hand clothes in Paris
By Leontien Aarnoudse
High healed woman, stylish dressed men – the streets of the fashion capital of Europe are like a catwalk. Glossy magazines like Elle and Avantgarde seem to come to life in the fashion capital Paris. This city breathes fashion. But this isn’t always good for your wallet or the society, certainly not when you think of the poor labour conditions for the workers who make most of these clothes. Fortunately, there are more sustainable options for people like, who like shopping but don’t want to have a bad impact. Shopping for ideas and inspiration for example. This cost you nothing! Paris also has some nice second-hand shops to offer.
Retro & Vintage: History repeats itself
The funny thing is that fashion nowadays is mainly copied from the previous decades. Vintage clothing and retro style that are hip these days, are often a copy of pieces from the 60s, 70s and 80s. For example: the head that Madonna was wearing in her video clip ‘Like a virgin’ (1983) is now a big hit for young people. Since history repeats itself in fashion terms you’ll find a mass of fashion inspiration at second-hand stores and flew markets.
What is fashion?
Is it haute couture a la Jean Paul Gautierre, a watch designed by Rolex od a fancy dress of H&M? Every designer believes he or she contributes to fashion. As you consumer, you can follow this trend. It’s easy, just buy what they sell. But – in my opinion – this lacks of creativity. Why should you follow their trend? Why don’t you pioneer with your own fashion! Don’t copy the fashion, be the fashion!
If you’d like either to see what’s happening in fashion world in Paris, but you are uninspired by the big and famous brands, or if you’d like to pioneer with your own fashion, go and visit Le Marais. In this area, you’ll find smaller stores of young, cool designers and other creative minds. There are also some nice second-hand stores in this area. There is a lot to explore. Take your time to visit the stores, and don´t forget to take a look in the smaller streets, you might actually find the best shops over there.
Second-hand shops in and around Le Marais, some of my all time favourites:
- Violette & Léonie: Shoes, bags, clothes for men, women and children… Address: 27 Rue de poitou, 75003 Paris. Metro: St Sebastien Froissart.
- Aux Comptoirs du Chineurs: Located in the trendy Marais, Aux Comptoirs du Chineurs is a real mess, perhaps, but it‘s also a treasure cavern for second-hand goods, clothes and furniture. You can find everything you can think of (even if you don‘t need it), from a billiard ball that can predict future to a vintage dress you’ve always dreamed of. Address: 49, rue Saint Paul 75004 Phone: +33142724739 Tues – Sun: 14:00 – 20:00
- Kiliwatch: The temple for vintage lovers. It has a large selection of clothes. Kiliwatch also offers some new clothing and a fashion bookshop. Address: 64 rue Tiquetonne, 75002 Metro: Étienne Marcel; Tel: 0142211737. Open Mon 2-7pm; Tue-Sat, 11am-7pm
- Hippy Market: Located in the Etienne Marcel area, near the vintage temple Kiliwatch, Hippy Market offers a large selection of clothes from the 60s. Address: 3 rue de Turbigo, 75001 Paris. Metro: Etienne Marcel;
- Iglaine: A nice second-hand shop, full of designer clothes. Address: 12 rue de la Grande Truanderie Metro: Etienne Marcel.
- Free ‘P’star: Late-night shopping is fun at this Aladdin’s cave of retro glitz, ex-army wear and glad rags, which has provided fancy dresses for many Parisian parties. Address: 8 rue Ste-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie, Paris. Metro: St-Paul Tel: 01 42.76.03.72. Open: Mon-Sa noon-11pm; Sun 2-10pm.
- Plus que parfait: This dépôt vente, where pristine, second-hand designer clothing is sold on commission, is a veritable treasure trove for men’s fashion finds. Address: 23 rue des Blancs-Manteaux, Paris. Metro: Hôtel de Ville or St-Paul; Tel: 01 42.71.09.05. Open: Mon 3-8pm; Tue-Sat noon-8pm; Sun 3-7pm. Clothes deposit: Mon-Friday.
Also worth a visit are the Flee markets
- Recommended article in the Guardian: Paris Shopping tips