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I have lived in Spain for over four years now, though I’m originally from Portland, Oregon. In my native city, secondhand and vintage clothing boutiques are as common as rainy days.
When I lived in Portland, it was all the rage to shop secondhand. From frocks to socks to records and costume jewelry, purchases were almost cooler if used. This trend has caught on slowly in Barcelona. When I first arrived I knew of just one secondhand place in the center called Humana which carried a pretty good selection of seasonal fashions.
Here’s a quick guide to secondhand shopping success in Barcelona.
Over time, it seems like vintage and secondhand have become hip, though only among certain crowds. The store I mentioned before, Humana, has become a success, and now has shops all over the city. I’ve been in to it a few times, and it seems to draw folks who are trying to save a few euros rather than hipsters trying to look unique.
There are some good bargains to be had at Humana, however, provided you have the patience and the talent to spot fashion gold from worn-out junk. (I like to think that I have this gift.)
Eclectic finds on Calle Tallers
Calle Tallers and the area surrounding it also has quite a bit to offer in the secondhand and vintage department. Stroll Tallers from La Rambla to Plaza Universitat and you will find that, interspersed with all the music stores and bakeries, there are three or four used clothing shops with eccentrically dressed clerks. Retro City is one on Tallers to look out for.
Specialty Shops in El Raval and the Gothic Quarter
Heading deeper into El Raval from Calle Tallers, you’ll come upon Wilde Vintage on Joaquin Costa. The specialty here is vintage sunglasses, and with all the sunny days in Barcelona, who couldn’t use pair of sweet vintage shades?
Another area known for its secondhand shopping options is Riera Baixa. Look out for Le Swing along this Gothic Quarter calle.
Back before secondhand was cool, there were people in Barcelona buying used goods at the city’s many outdoor markets. There are two which are especially famous for their wide selection of used merchandise: Encants Market and San Antonti Market (on Sunday).
At Sant Antoni you’ll mostly find used books, CDs and videos. Encants, on the other hand, has pretty much a little bit of everything. As is the case with almost all markets in Europe, go early. The pickings are slim the closer you get to noon. The early bird catches the worm, or in this case, the vintage 1950’s cocktail dress… Happy hunting!