Athens is full of thrift stores, vintage shops, and secondhand retailers for all those hunting for unique fashion finds or environmentally friendly clothing options.
Fashion lovers have long hunted for special clothing items and accessories at vintage, secondhand, and thrift stores, but the practice has only recently become a trend.
In the past, people usually didn’t openly discuss buying secondhand clothes, as there was a perception that it was unhygienic or a sign that one couldn’t afford new togs.
In Greece, this idea is unfortunately still quite prevalent, which has caused many secondhand and thrift stores to hide their true natures, referring to themselves as “Italian outlets” instead, for example. Younger Greeks have embraced thrift shopping, however.
Now, “thrifting” has become a common way to find new clothing that is not only affordable but also trendy and more environmentally friendly.
If you’ve ever taken a look around you and noticed with shock that many of those around you are wearing the exact same outfit from a major fashion retailer, you’ll be delighted to have the opportunity to wear something totally unique that you found at a thrift store or vintage shop.
Even if you’re not into the vintage look, you can find gently-used name-brand items for a surprisingly low price at many thrift and secondhand stores in Athens.
Fast Fashion and the environment
In recent years, many people have turned to vintage and secondhand shops for their clothing not only for reasons pertaining to style and fashion but also for environment reasons.
According to climate researchers, “fast fashion,” or trendy, cheaply made clothing bought in huge chain stores, is one of the leading causes of pollution worldwide.
It’s not often that one thinks of what goes into producing new clothing when they pick something up off the rack in a big retailer.
However, if you think about it, the fabric of the item either had to be grown (which uses water and fertile land that could be used for growing food) or produced, and many synthetic fabrics are made out of plastics that end up in our oceans.
According to data from the United Nations, the fashion industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the aviation and shipping industries combined.
The shockingly low prices at major international retailers also call into question the wages and working conditions for people who make all of the clothes they sell.
With trends moving so quickly that they’re now called “micro trends,” it may come as no surprise that what was “in” a month ago is now already seen as outdated.
The constant trend cycle leads many to purchase huge amounts of clothing from fast fashion brands only to donate or dispose of them a short while later.
But what happens to all those once fashionable items once they’re out of trend? Many of them end up in landfills or secondhand stores.
This has pushed many people to search out more sustainable approaches to fashion, such as buying mainly secondhand or vintage.
Best thrift stores and vintage shops in Athens
The Kilo Shop is an ultimate classic. If you ever ask an Athenian where to “go thrifting” or score some vintage pieces, the first place they’ll probably tell you is the Kilo Shop.
This store is perfect for those looking to invest in a lot of pieces at a time, as you pay by the kilo.
Located past Monastiraki on Ermou Street, the Kilo Shop is a breath of fresh air from the countless major fashion retailers that are found just up the street.
The Kilo Shop is split into two different stores with two different vibes. The first is the one that you encounter if you’re walking up Ermou. It is smaller and features more curated pieces.
Here, you’ll find clothes for men and women that are either designer, true vintage from about the ’50s to 2000s, or simply on trend.
They also offer some vintage pieces that have been “upcycled,” or modified to fit current trends.
Although technically a thrift shop, the clothing here is a bit pricier than one would expect, considering that its offerings were hand-picked.
Designer or particularly noteworthy pieces will have individual prices, but all other items will have a colored tag. This tag correlates to the price of the item per kilo. You can weigh your clothes according to each color to figure out the total price.
The second Kilo Shop is just a few doors down from the first, and it features much more inventory that is not necessarily as curated as the other store.
However, that is not to say that you won’t find amazing clothing there. You can easily find vintage and name-brand items at this location, as well, and bandanas, purses, and other accessories are also available.
This store does feature a lot more pieces from fast fashion brands, though. So if you’re not interested in vintage pieces per se, and you’re looking to reduce your fashion waste, check out the well-stocked thrift store in the center of Athens.
Kilo Shop (both stores) are also great places to find vintage Levis, Doc Marten boots, and leather jackets. Even though these are always the most sought after secondhand items, they always carry these types of items.
Mania Omonia is a true thrift store located in the heart of Athens just off Omonoia Square. Here, you’ll have to sort through a lot of stuff you probably aren’t interested in, so bring some headphones and listen to a podcast while you look through the racks.
If you search well enough, inevitably you’ll find some amazing items from name-brand stores (and even vintage pieces!) at insanely low prices.
While Kilo Shop is usually just a bit lower than big retailers, or even higher if the piece is exceptional, Mania offers really great deals.
Just like at Kilo Shop, clothes are priced by weight here, and items on the first floor have a different price than items on the second floor, so you’ll have to pay for your stuff before you head upstairs where you can find items at the lowest price.
A helpful Mania Omonoia tip would be that they get new inventory every Tuesday, so if you want to have a wide selection go at that time. If you’re looking for even better deals, they offer price markdowns as each day passes, with the biggest steals on Mondays.
Yesterday’s Bread is located in the center of Exarcheia, which is known by some as Athens’ “anarchist district,” on Kallidromiou street.
This is one of Athens’ most well-established thrift stores, and it’s known for offering an eclectic selection of brand-name and vintage pieces at low prices.
The owners carefully select each piece, so you’ll definitely find something unique here, whether it be vintage leather jackets or nearly-new Adidas sneakers.
While items are not organized by size, and there is a huge volume of clothing, making it a little difficult to find things, it’s worth digging through the racks because you can find some true gems at Yesterday’s Bread.
Due to the area’s vibe, you’ll find some interesting and cutting-edge items here, so it’s particularly good for those who like alternative and retro styles.
Yesterday’s Bread also offers incredible sales, with discounts of up to 50 percent off the original price, particularly in the winter.
New Skin Vintage Clothing
New Skin is definitely a vintage shop rather than a thrift store. While you won’t score any major deals here, retro lovers will likely stumble upon some great items at the store.
All items have been carefully curated by the owner, and they range in decade from the ’50s up into the ’90s, but most are from the ’80s and ’90s.
The small store, which is located in a “stoa“ in the center of Athens, is full of vintage pants, dresses, skirts, coats, and bags that are all very high quality.
New Skin’s Instagram account is constantly updated with new styles, so you can check it out to see if anything calls out to you.
Decades, like New Skin, is a vintage store through and through.
Uniquely, though, Decades has a selection that isn’t mainly from the ’90s or 2000s (which are on trend at the moment).
Those looking for styles from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s will rejoice as they peruse the racks at Decades, because the owner has chosen some unique pieces, particularly blouses and dresses.
You can even find designer pieces on the racks here, and vintage lovers with a discerning eye will recognize the incredible selection at Decades.
You can get a picture of the store’s inventory from their Instagram page.
Yes, that’s right. You can go thrifting at your weekly neighborhood fruit and vegetable market.
At most laikis in cities like Athens and Thessaloniki there is a section, usually at the end of the street, that is full of clothing.
Once you pass by the new clothing stands selling pajamas and underwear, you’ll probably encounter mounds of clothing piled on a series of tables.
Although it seems intimidating, you should just dive in and start digging through.
This is the most disorganized method of thrifting in Athens, but you will likely get the best deal here.
It’s not uncommon to snag some clothing for around one euro at the laiki, but it requires a lot more searching than at more curated stores.
You’ll likely look through hundreds of pieces before finding something of interest, but many people swear by it!