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SHOPPING

Entering a new-old world: 15 Stockholm vintage shops to lose yourself in

Stockholm is not only a great shopping spot – it also has a large and addictive second hand and vintage scene. The Local's contributor Miriam Bade guides you to 15 gems in the capital.

Entering a new-old world: 15 Stockholm vintage shops to lose yourself in
Judits second hand on Södermalm. Photos: Miriam Bade
It is typical for many who move to Stockholm, after you see all the stylish Swedes, to feel like swapping out your entire wardrobe: spend your money on beautiful stuff, equip a home you don't own and buy expensive clothes you can wear barely twice a year because the rest of the time it's simply too cold.
 
But there's a way out. Stockholm also has a great second hand and vintage scene, where you can grab unique bargains. Every store is its own little universe made up of the store owners’ own fashion sense and the memories left behind of the people who wore these dresses and those coats before you did.
 
Lisa Larssons Second Hand

It may seem a bit chaotic when you walk into the store – the owner Lisa Larsson is sorting the new arrivals in the entrance area. The current stack is about half a metre high – clothes that came in only today. Lisa started her business in 1986 and sells only women’s clothes – men can find their stuff in the store next door, she says. Behind the entrance room there is a second and even a third room where you can find everything from coats to dresses, hats, shoes, shirts, trousers and accessories, while listening to French chansons played in the store. Many are vintage style, mixed with some modern second hand items.

Address: Bondegatan 48
nearest station: T Medborgarplatsen | Bus Klippgatan
Tue-Fri: 13-18 | Sat: 11-15 | Sun-Mon: closed
www.lisalarssonsecondhand.com

59 Vintage

This one is a tiny store with great fashion. It has existed since the 70s, but got a new owner two years ago. Walking inside your gaze is drawn to the high ceiling. Two rows of long dresses, most vintage from the 20s to 70s, make the store look like a ballroom dancing and proms outfitter. Girls and women of any age come here, says the owner. “There are old ladies, young girls, drag queens…” she laughs. Paradise for fashionable women searching for a special outfit. The 59 in the name alludes to the building's number.

Address: Hantverkargatan 59
nearest station: T Rådhuset
Mon-Fri: 11-18 | Sat: 11-15
www.59vintagestore.se

Humana

A hip and modern store for younger customers. Humana collects clothes from all over Sweden. By reselling them they support different projects, especially in Africa. Buying clothes for a good reason – you can’t say that's not even more fun. The store looks a bit industrial in style, but is perfect for all the hipster shoppers among you.

Address: Götgatan 105 | Timmermansgatan 23
nearest station: T Skanstull | T Mariatorget
Mon-Fri: 10-18.30 | Sat: 11-17 | Sun: 12-16
www.humanasecondhand.com

A. Marchesan

Refusing to go out in sweatpants? Even casual jeans wouldn’t suit you enough? Love wearing hats and a moustache? Welcome to A. Marchesan! Alexander (the A. in the name) Marchesan has a passion for everything special, classy and vintage. His store at Odengatan is the perfect spot for gentlemen to go and have a pair of new shoes like Allen Edmonds or a vintage suit. Shirts are not real vintage because it is hard to find those, but are tailored after old patterns. In the store you can also find cufflinks, braces and wrist watches. Prices are decent enough considering the brands and quality. 

Address: Odengatan 74
nearest station: Odengatan
Mon-Fri: 11-18 | Sat: 11-17 | Sun: 12-16
www.amarchesan.se


Photo: A. Marchesan

A bit of the Old Touch

Wow! This gorgeous store looks like a wonderful museum of your fashionable grandmother’s younger days. But unlike a museum you can buy everything from dresses to tablewear. Silk gloves hang from the ceiling next to old-fashioned hats and lace underwear. The owner collects and sells women’s vintage clothes from 1800 to 1970 from dissolved households and relatives of elderly ladies who have passed away. “I am in the middle of those who don’t know what to do with these clothes and those who want them. It’s a great job! I love to imagine who has worn these pieces, who she was, how she looked like.”

Address: Upplandsgatan 43
nearest station: T Odenplan
Mon-Fri: 11-18 | Sat: 11-15
www.oldtouch.se

Herr Judit

With rustic wooden charm the store has a stylish masculine look. Perfect for fashion-conscious men, searching for high-class individual clothing. From casual and hipster to business and even western style this store offers everything that fashionable men could wish for, of course with all corresponding affairs like bow-ties, hats and beard pomade which – by the way – is not second hand. All the clothes come from customers, Herr Judit buys high-quality and good-looking fashion on commission.

To find some more accessories like watches and jewellery as well as the fitting house-decoration just follow the street a few hundred meters in the direction of Slussen: Brandstationen belongs to the same owner and the style is similar to Herr Judit (which means literally “Mr Judit”, translated from Swedish).

Address: Hornsgatan 65
nearest station: T Zinkendamm
Mon-Fri: 11-18 | Sat: 11-17 | Sun: 12-15
www.herrjudit.se

Judits second hand

This has nothing to do with its neighbour “Herr Judit”, even if it sounds like that. Judits looks rather like a high-class fashion boutique than a second-hand store. But as the owner has a passion for vintage clothes she combines 50s to 70s stuff with new clothing in her shop. Women will find beautiful casual, business and chic clothes as well as accessories, bags and shoes. Still, it’s definitely not the cheapest store in town!

Address: Hornsgatan 75
nearest station: T Zinkendamm
Mon-Fri: 11-18.30 | Sat: 11-16.30 | Sun: 12-16
www.judits.se

Smiley Vintage

Yes, it’s really second hand, even if that’s not what it looks like. All of the clothes are vintage fabric but have been given a new design and own label. Granted, these pieces are not exactly cheap but if you are looking for something unique this is the right address for women to go. Smiley Vintage offers mostly dresses and blouses but you can find accessories and jackets as well.

Address: Södermannagatan 14
nearest station: T Medborgarplatsen
Mon-Fri: 11-18 | Sat: 11.30-17 | Sun: 12-16
www.smileyvintage.com

Siv & Åke …

… are the names of Anni’s and Joel’s grandparents. For two years it has also been the name of the siblings’ own vintage store in Södermalm. Anni is a perfectionist, so every piece has its special place in the little store. To widen the assortment brother and sister travel to Italy from time to time. Everything is hand-picked and carefully selected. You can find dresses, tops, a range of Levi’s jeans and sunglasses, as well as other accessories and hats. The flowered knickers, however, are not for sale! They belonged to grandmother Siv and are now part of the store's furniture.

Address: Sankt Paulsgatan 20
nearest station: T Mariatorget
Mon-Fri: 11-18 | Sat: 11-17 | Sun: 12-16
www.sivake.se

Modern Retro

If you turn the two corners ahead you will find the complete opposite of well sorted arrangements. Modern Retro is a crazy and chaotic collection of everything from vintage household items such as vacuum cleaners and rotary dial telephones to a wide range of leather jackets and shoes to fancy 50s and 70s dresses. Next to known Swedish brands you can also find clothing from the European market. Thomas, or ‘Totte’, has run this store for 14 years. With his round glasses and the back-combed hair he fits perfectly into his store.

Don’t be deterred by first appearances – the store is both crazy and lovely at the same time and if you have enough time you can get perfectly lost in here.

Address: Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 9
nearest station: T Mariatorget
Mon-Fri: 12-18 | Sat: 12-16
www.modernretro.se

Beyond Retro Vintage Clothing

You will feel the American vibes immediately when you walk in. Beyond Retro is a huge store with loads of US and Canadian fashion, mostly casual but also a couple of wedding dresses and glittery party outfits. You can also find a lot of upcycled and remade stuff here, not only clothing, carefully crafted in their factory in India. This store differs greatly from other second-hand-collections and prices are more like common fashion prices. There are more stores in Malmö, Gothenburg and in the UK.

Address: Brännkyrkagatan 82 | Drottninggatan 77
nearest station: T Zinkensdamm | T Hötorget
Mon-Fri: 11-19 | Sat: 11-17 | Sun: 12-16
www.beyondretro.com

Zak secondhand

The owner is a cheerful man who smiles all the time. He buys clothes for men and women from Belgium, Italy, France and Germany. Nicely selected and well sorted you can find casual, chic and business clothing as well as bags, accessories and shoes on high quality for everyday wear. Prices are good.

Address: Upplandsgatan 19A
nearest station: T Rådmansgatan
Mon-Fri: 11-18 | Sat: 12-15
no homepage

The larger retail chains…

All over Stockholm city you will frequently come up upon three brands, namely “Röda Korset”, “Stadsmissionen” and “Myrorna”. The three retail chains sell not only everyday clothes for both, men and women, but also loads of furniture, tablewear, accessories, lamps, electronics, books, CDs, DVDs – yes, you’re right, they’ve got everything you need to arrange your household in Sweden at low prices.

Röda Korset (Red Cross)

The red cross is a humanitarian movement all around the world as well as in Sweden. They support disadvantaged people or people caught up in disaster situations – e.g. by selling clothes everybody can afford. But don’t think these are not fashionable. I’ve found a bunch of nice and modern pieces for a really good price. In Stockholm you can find several Röda Korset stores. I especially recommend that one in Östgötagatan, Södermalm, where there is also a nice and cosy café so you can have a little (and also cheap) break on your shopping tour. 

Find all stores and opening times on www.redcross.se/secondhand

Myrorna

Myrorna – which means 'ants' in English – is also one of the bigger retail chains in Stockholm. Everything you buy here is donated, and Myrorna themselves gives most of their profit to the Salvation Army.

Find all stores and opening times on www.myrorna.se

Stockholm's Stadsmissionen

Stadsmissionen is active in several issues such as working integration, migration and homelessness. Beyond their stores in Stockholm they also have their own design label named “Remake” which is based on durability and sustainability. Maybe not the cheapest but very special fashion.

Find all stores and opening times on www.stadsmissionen.se

Remake

Address: Klarabergsgatan 33
Nearest station: T-Centralen
Mon-Fri: 10-18 | Sat: 10-16
www.stadsmissionen.se/remake

SHOPPING

The unmanned supermarkets rescuing Sweden’s rural areas

One after another, grocery stores are shutting down in rural Sweden, leaving villagers to travel miles to buy food. But a new type of shop has sprung up in their wake: unmanned supermarkets in mobile containers.

The unmanned supermarkets rescuing Sweden's rural areas
Store manager Domenica Gerlach enters the Lifvs unmanned supermarket store in Veckholm, 80km outside Stockholm. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand /AFP

In Veckholm, a village of a few hundred people 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Stockholm, the last grocery store closed more than a decade ago. Then, a year-and-a-half ago, even the little convenience store at the only petrol station locked its doors.

Villagers were left with no choice but to travel a half-hour by car to the closest supermarket.

But in July 2020, an automated, unmanned grocery store came to town. In a container dropped in the middle of a field, open 24 hours a day, the 20-square-metre (215-square-foot) supermarket sells hundreds of items — and there’s no cashier in sight.

“Since a while back, there has been nothing in this area and I think most of us living here have really missed that,” said Giulia Ray, a beekeeper in
Veckholm. 

“It’s so convenient to have this in the area,” she told AFP, doing her own shopping and restocking the shop’s shelves with her honey at the same time.

Shoppers unlock the supermarket’s door with an app on their smartphone. “We come here three times a week and buy stuff we need,” Lucas Edman, a technician working in the region for a few weeks, told AFP. “It’s a little bit more expensive but it’s fine. It’s a price I can pay to not go to another store.”

He scanned his pizzas and soda on the app on his phone, which is linked to his bank account and a national identification system — an added anti-theft security, according to the store. And it’s all done under the watchful eye of a single security camera.

Keeping costs down

In Sweden, the number of grocery stores — everything from superstores to small convenience stores — has dropped from 7,169 in 1996 to 5,180 in 2020, according to official statistics.

While the number of superstores has almost tripled in 24 years, many rural shops have closed down, often due, like elsewhere in Europe, to a lack of
profitability.

Daniel Lundh, who co-founded the Lifvs, has opened almost 30 unmanned stores in rural Sweden and in urban areas with no shops in the past two years.

“To be able to keep low prices for the customer, we have to be able to control our operation costs. So that means controlling the rent — that’s why
the stores are quite small — but also controlling the staffing cost,” Lundh said.

He plans to open his first unstaffed supermarkets outside Sweden early next year.

Domenica Gerlach, who manages the Veckholm store, only comes by once a week to receive deliveries. She also manages three other shops, all of them mobile containers.

Peter Book, the mayor of Enkoping, the municipality to which Veckholm belongs, has only good things to say about the three container stores that
have opened in his patch. And he’d like to see more.

“It makes it easier to take a step to move there if you know you have this facility,” he said.

Meeting place and ‘salvation’

In Sweden, one of the most digitalised countries in the world, Lifvs, like its Swedish rivals AutoMat and 24Food which have also popped up in rural
areas, benefits from a very wired population.

In 2019, 92 percent of Swedes had a smartphone. Ironically, the unmanned shops — plopped down in the middle of nowhere — also play a role as a “meeting place” for locals.

“You come here, you get some gas and you go inside and get something, and maybe someone else is here and you can have a chat,” Ray said.
Mayor Book echoed the notion, saying the stores make it possible to connect society”.

The pandemic has also proven the stores’ usefulness, since no contact with other people inside the shop is necessary.

Because of Covid-19, only one person at a time is allowed inside the Veckholm store.

“My mother lives nearby as well and … this has been a shop she could actually enter during all this time. She hasn’t been (able to go) anywhere,”
Ray said of her 75-year-old mother. “This has been a salvation for her.”

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