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October 16, 2014

How to… city vintage

Everything old is new again, and here's where to find it on your lunch break.

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  • Words: Ying-Di Yin
  • Pictures: Ryan Cantwell

The resurgence of vintage shopping this past decade has created a new and competitive market that we can all benefit greatly from. We scouted the city for four vintage shops and one worthy online shop that any avid thrift shopper should check out.

284 Rundle Street, Adelaide

Red Cross was one of the first charities to really catch on to the vintage trend, with many stores in Australia re-styling their layouts of recycled goods. A now cemented resident of Rundle Street, this vintage/op shop opened four years ago and is one of our must-visit destinations in the CBD. On entry, the store is visually bright, with clothing categorised by colour. Downstairs you will find modern bargains with items sourced to fit current styles, whilst upstairs is completely dedicated to retro and vintage lovers. You can find a daring frock, old knitting booklets with matching needles or that kids’ book your tiny-self adored.


35 York Street, Adelaide

Once located on Twin Street, Irving Baby’s new home is nestled behind The Austral Hotel on York Street. In operation since 1992, Irving Baby is owned by sisters Briar Petersen and Trenna Oelsnik and is a vintage institution. Clothes range from the 1960s to now and focus primarily on fashion trends and modernity within the selection of vintage finds, rather than peddling purely authentic items. This makes Irving Baby a perfect stop-off if you’re looking for that unique twist on something contemporary. Everything is reasonably priced and there are some definite gems here, including some classic sneakers and boots!


32 Grote Street, Adelaide

Couple Kathy and Dean Donovan are the proud owners of this treasure trove. Opened for 33 years, their experience in all things vintage and nostalgia is evident the moment you walk in. There’s no limit to what they stock and they draw from more than 20 dealers, so there’s something almost every bygone era. Amongst their array of choices you will find kitchenalia, vintage fashion, old furniture and a library of classic books. Antique Market is just as good for serious collectors as it for fashion designers and those just dabbling in finding a bargain.


Level 2, Myer Centre, Rundle Mall

Opened three years ago, Relax Vintage has gained a faithful following. Focusing mainly on vintage clothes that are on trend (currently, they are ’90s inspired), Relax Vintage is a destination more than a hole in the wall you stumble upon. What sets it apart is you can shop and have a coffee and nibble whilst lounging on (of course) vintage armchairs and couches. Snacks from the classic and dated kitchen are homemade, naturally. With a shared love for all things vintage, the three owners, Nikohl Amaryah, Greg Sowerby and Nelya Valamanesh handpick all their pieces overseas. Most recently, a trip to Los Angeles and New York sees that 90’s street and beach vibe restored on their clothes racks.


Under their “Our Story” section, it is clear can laugh about themselves (did she, or did she not once fire Anna Wintour? Who knows?) But one statement that rings true: Claire is vintage NOT vintage. True, they are labeled as a vintage store for they sell pre-loved gems but they also steer clear from that retro/vintage stereotype. Instead, sells classics – that once expensive clothing your Mum owns, which was and still is so chic you can only hope to one day inherit it. High-end, inaccessible designer vintage clothing is’s bread and butter. Labels such as Comme Des Garçons, Moschino, Chanel and Kenzo Paris are just a few designers they stock. With an interactive website done by the guys at MASH, is a great online alternative for those who can afford that bigger price point. Definitely worth a look (or three long, yearning stares interspersed with checking your bank balance to see if money had magically appeared there).

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