A Scientific Study into Vintage Nottingham

For this column, I am tasked with writing about my experiences in the wonderful city of Nottingham. Sometimes, though, when there are no Drag Queen festivals or quaint Christmas markets, I can feel at a bit of a loss at what to write about. So, this month, I’m writing about something Nottingham has in abundance all year round – vintage shops.

I conducted a very scientific, very rigorous field study of my favourite spots, and checked out a couple of new places too. As an extremely scientific measure of what to expect, I picked the most basic component of a hipster wardrobe – the plaid shirt – and got an average price in each shop, with the help of a lovely assistant. (Am I a scientist or a magician, who knows?). Here they are, rated totally impartially and not at all based on my personal preference, from average to absolute fave.

6. White Rose

Average price of a plaid shirt: £4.50

White Rose is the most affordable place on my list, let me preface with that. The teeny tiny shop floor isn’t overstuffed, but unfortunately that means there isn’t much of a selection. The interior is well designed, with a very kitsch but aesthetic feel. But something is a little bit lacking, hence it hasn’t made the top of the list.

“We wrote down the price of the single plaid shirt on display and ran away”

On the other hand, you could get a great bargain in here if you know what you’re looking for! Plus, everything is ‘recycled fashion’ unlike some vintage stores, who sell reproduction items alongside one-offs – which can be a little misleading. Points for White Rose! My assistant and I weren’t particularly grabbed by anything, so we wrote down the price of the single plaid shirt on display and ran away.

Find White Rose on Broad Street for Women’s fashion, or Goosegate for Men’s.

5. Cow

Average price of a plaid shirt: £24

Now here is a vintage store with some crazy street cred. Cow is most certainly famous for its vintage wear here in Notts. But, despite following their Instagram – which makes me want to burn all of my clothes – I’ve never bought anything from Cow. Why? I don’t have the budget to be spending £30 for a two-piece made from an old sarong. I made my own version of that summer outfit for £3. That being said, the vibe of the shop is very conducive to buying everything inside, just so you feel like a better-looking person. I can see why someone would shop at Cow, even though financially I wouldn’t recommend it. That being said, they do stock a lot of brands, so if you’re looking for vintage AND designer, Cow is the place to go.

Find Cow on Broad Street.

4. Braderie

Average price of a plaid shirt: £14

This was one of the new places we visited in our search for the perfect vintage store. Some of the prices are reasonable, especially for a store with the aesthetic of Braderie. Trust me, there were frescos on the ceiling, this place is classy. (They were only printed, but still). There was a fair amount of choice too, and the whole place felt very…hipster.

“If you’re looking for something typically student-y and trendy,

It wasn’t all sunshine and high tops, though, because I did spot a couple of mass-produced items, which isn’t really what you want if you buy second-hand clothing for ethical reasons. But Braderie is still definitely a boutique, and if you’re looking for something typically student-y and trendy, but still affordable, Braderie is your place.

Braderie is at Pelham Street in Notts, and online at ASOS marketplace.

3. Wild

Average price of a plaid shirt: £11.99

Wild is one of the first vintage shops I went to in Notts in first year, and it never fails to disappoint. They have a huge selection of casual wear – their collection of oversized jumpers is especially impressive. Again, there are some reproduction pieces, but these are easily avoided. There are two floors in this boutique, and while Wild is a little rougher around the edges than the previous shops, the aesthetic is still cute. My assistant and I have bought many a baggy sweatshirt from this fine establishment.

Wild is on Broad Street.

2. Relic

Average price of a plaid shirt: £10

Tucked away in a small corner of Nottingham is one of my highest rated vintage shops, ever (Beating both Beasley’s in Hull and East End Thrift Store in London). This tiny shop is packed full of affordable goodies, including racks stuffed with plaid and a table full of Levi’s. I must stress, the shop is so small, but if you’re a true connoisseur of a bargain, you won’t pass this one up. The owner is also really friendly, so if you’re reading this, I’m the girl who came in and made her boyfriend try on like 10 shirts. Hi.

Relic is in West End Arcade on Angel Row, probably with a massive rack of coats outside. You can’t miss it.

1. Hopkinson Vintage

Average price of a plaid shirt: 1 for £15, 2 for £25

And at the top of my list, Hopkinson Vintage. I bet you all feel uncool now, not knowing about this absolute gem of a vintage store. If you do know about Hopkinson, then yes, you are a certified ‘Cool’.

“Never before have I been in a shop where I could buy massive 80s platform boots, a giant Winnie the Pooh and choose from a selection of scrunchies”

Okay I’m just kidding, Hopkinson is pretty out of the way so it’s a bit of a hidden treasure, but I could honestly gush for hours about this four-story hurricane of vintage-y things. While it’s probably not top of this list for actual clothes you would wear, it tops both aesthetic and experience, so it wins. I’m telling you, it’s an experience – rickety stairs, piles of random antiques, art and jewellery. Never before have I been in a shop where I could buy massive 80s platform boots, a giant Winnie the Pooh and choose from a selection of scrunchies. And if you are actually looking for clothes, Hopkinson does have clothes in various places, and two boutiques – Lulu’s Vintage and Studio 6 – whose prices are actually pretty affordable. It features various independent stockists, and apparently a tearoom and gallery, although I was in there for hours and I didn’t come across these. Overall, an amazing place!

Find Hopkinson Vintage on Station Street.

Jo Ralphs

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