Conversations on Studying Abroad

Why I Love Thrifting in London

Nov 21, 2019 9:19:00 AM / by Makenna Sturgeon

If you love to shop and you're on a budget, London blogger Makenna recommends checking out the city's impressive thrift shop scene. Read more to find out some of her favorite shops for vintage treasures in London!

While in London, I’ve become much more aware of the impact shopping has on our environment, the importance of personal style in London, and that Londoners have fairly impressive taste. If you combine all of those lessons together, you’ll find yourself standing in front of a London charity shop off Oxford Street or a recycled Levi’s store in Camden. Making a map of your favorite thrift shops is a great way to keep up with the desire to shop in London, earn your purchase, and be more environmentally friendly.

During my adventures in London, I’ve found three areas that I go to again and again to search for new finds. While I might not buy something every time I go, the habit has gotten me out of the house on days that I didn’t know what to do. It’s also given me a fun activity to try with friends.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2019_London_MakennaSturgeon_WhyILoveThriftingInLondon_photo1I am wearing my favorite London thrifted sweater and jeans: Levi’s and a cozy cashmere.


Camden is a great area to explore for a number of reasons, the first being Koo Style. I found my perfect pair of Levi’s here, and another for good measure. My roommate and I found this place while we were exploring the market it’s located in during a field study. We came back the following weekend and were disappointed that we hadn’t started visiting the area earlier. So, if you’re in the market for a new pair of jeans, look out for Koo Style’s 15 pound denim. And if you’re not, go to Camden anyway because it has a contagious energy you won’t want to miss.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2019_London_MakennaSturgeon_WhyILoveThriftingInLondon_photo2Koo Style in Camden with 15 pound Denim.


CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2019_London_MakennaSturgeon_WhyILoveThriftingInLondon_photo4Delilah found some treasures in the jeans section.

Oxford Street/Bond Street … But Really Marylebone

One of my favorite characteristics of London is how walkable it is. There’s a charity shop right off the Bond Street tube station called Barnardo's. I found a really nice cashmere sweater here and have seen brands like Ted Baker and The Kooples while searching the racks for treasures. The high quality items help make this shop one of my favorites, but the area helps too. Its proximity to Oxford Street and Marylebone makes it the perfect “take a day to explore shop” because it’s not a single destination to get to. Once you’ve gone here, you can look for other charity shops or walk around the massive shopping world you enter when you turn onto Oxford Street.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2019_London_MakennaSturgeon_WhyILoveThriftingInLondon_photo5I am posed outside of Barnardo’s in my perfect pair of thrifted jeans.

East End/Brick Lane

There are a few different Rokits in London. My favorite happens to be on Brick Lane. Rokit is a huge vintage thrift store with lots of cool finds. It tends to be a bit more pricey than the charity shops, but attracts a younger clientele to hang out with. This shop is right across the street from the Brick Lane Bookshop and close to every other sight you could see in this area. Brick Lane is another day trip kind of area. You can go search the market on the weekends, or scout for street art on any given day. This neighborhood is filled with history and is a great place to take a tour of after you’ve scoured Rokit and the other thrift shops near it.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2019_London_MakennaSturgeon_WhyILoveThriftingInLondon_photo6Rokit on Brick Lane gets crowded during the weekends and is a great place to hang out and people watch when you’re finished.


London is a hugely influential city in the fashion industry, and that cultural capital shows far past the runways. Finding ways to seem a little more “Londoner” can be difficult, but thrifting new clothes make it affordable and a bit more fun. If you’re thinking about thrifting in London, make sure to make a map, but leave enough time in your day to wander because stumbling into new places in the variety of neighborhoods in London will always ensure an interesting afternoon. 

Thanks, Makenna!

Makenna Sturgeon


Makenna Sturgeon is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2019, sharing her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A Journalism major at University of Colorado Boulder, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

Makenna's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

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Topics: London, England, Local Culture