TLDR? Medellin is a stylish city where you can find used brand-name items at local second-hand stores!
Nobody has a trendier closet than your grandparents. If you don’t believe me, just head to one of Medellin’s popular vintage or second-hand stores, where the fashions of yesteryear are making a comeback.
The unspoken rule in fashion is that fads always come back around. So no matter what is popular at the moment, you can almost guarantee you will find pieces at second-hand stores from the last time they were on the runway.
Personally, the snappiest dressers I know don’t follow trends but rather have a closet of timeless and one-of-a-kind garments, many of which they find at thrift shops. One of the jackets I get the most compliments on is a Nautica jacket from the ’80s, ‘thrifted’ from my grandfather’s house.
Let’s take a look at all the best vintage and second-hand clothing stores around the city!
The Difference Between Vintage and Second-Hand Clothes
Before we get into the shopping what do I mean by vintage and second-hand?
You might have heard the terms ‘vintage,’ and ‘second-hand’ used interchangeably. So, what’s the difference?
Second-hand refers to any item that has been previously owned by someone else, regardless of how old it is. Vintage, on the other hand, needs to be at least 20 years old but does not need to have been previously owned.
Due to the age of these items, it is usually unlikely something vintage is not also second-hand. Once an item is older than 100 years, it moves from the vintage category into an antique.
Vintage and Second-Hand Stores in Medellin
You don’t have to raid your family’s closets to spice up your wardrobe. For my second-hand shoppers, I have scoured the city for the best vintage and second-hand shops in town where you can find some truly unique pieces.
Fashion icons are not only found on the cover of magazines. For Diofill creator Juliana Bastidas, her icon was her grandmother (the namesake for her shop).
“She was a strong and empowered woman who used her outfits as an opportunity to express herself,” said Bastidas, “when it came to clothing, there was never a shortage of feathers, glitter, and colors.” Bastidas said her second-hand journey began by selling her own clothes and garments from her family members but has since expanded her network to the wider community.
Walking into her shop, the essence of her grandmother is very much alive. The clothing racks were filled with an array of women’s and men’s items characterized by bold, colorful prints.
My favorite section of the store was the eye-catching sunglasses stand. Standing front and center of the store, there were rows of retro shades in all different sizes, shapes, and colors that look like they were designed for the Hollywood screen.
After some light browsing, a blue jumpsuit with geometric prints caught my attention. Bastidas and her shop assistant were in enthusiastic agreement that it was the perfect fit for me, so I left a satisfied customer.
True to its name, shopping here feels like raiding your best friend’s closet. Founded by former fast-fashion shopper Wendy Grove, she said she was inspired by the second-hand stores she found while living in San Francisco.
Grove explained that most stores she found in Colombia were vintage and whereas she identified with newer styles. Thus the idea for Wendy’s Closet was born. Her store sells a handpicked selection of clothes from the company’s larger online collection. When I arrived, Wendy and her team were unpacking their latest haul.
There were second-hand sections for both men and women, and most of the styles in the store were current or from recent years. If you’re looking for your favorite mall brands at better prices, I definitely recommend coming here
Not just secluded in the Medellin market, she shared with me that her clothes are sourced from about 28 cities around Colombia. So her store has a wide variety to choose from.
Grove was super friendly and gave me a tour of the rest of the house, which houses stores that sell natural products, handcrafted jewelry, and even a yoga studio.
While I enjoyed browsing her store, I admit I got a little distracted by her furry shop assistant, coco the dog, who loves getting pets from customers.
They might not have invented thrifting in the city, but the Thrift Shop has definitely been at the forefront of the trend. Creator Andrés Alzate began his company around 2014 and has advocated for eco-conscious shopping.
The shop sells used men’s and women’s clothes, books, furniture, and even bicycles, but the main attraction of their collection is their shoes. While I wouldn’t call myself a sneaker-head or expert, they have an impressive selection of cool kicks from brands like Reebok, Adidas, Converse, and Vans in retro patterns.
Out of the shops I went to, this is the only one I found that was geared more towards menswear. So if you are looking for button-ups, graphic T’s, jackets, and sporty pull-ups, I recommend heading straight here.
Alzate describes his shop as a ‘cultural house’ and hosts events for creatives and discussions about sustainability initiatives in addition to selling clothes.
Situated in the ritzy Poblado neighborhood, Segunda Historia is the ultimate second-hand boutique for upscale fashions. Founder Catalina Aristizabal was motivated by the sustainable shopping movement and decided to create a store that sold high-quality used garments.
Unlike thrift-style second-hand shops that work through donations, Catalina receives clothes on consignment. This means she selects and buys high-end pieces that meet her quality standards.
The selection of clothes in the store spoke to my bohemian style. I found lots of flowy dresses and skirts with floral patterns or earthy tones. Of course, this was only one section.
There were racks with glitzy evening dresses, smart pants, and chic jackets. While overhead were perches lined with luxury handbags from brands like Chanel.
In the middle of the store sat an enviable collection of vintage designer heels that my large feet would never fit into, but I enjoyed lusting over. The shoes might not have fit, but with the help of the store’s personal shopper, Monica, I did find some chic items to buy.
Anti-Tattoo ‘Lost & Found’ Vintage and Second-Hand Market
The culture of second-hand shopping has not always been as culturally accepted in Colombia but has grown in popularity over the years. Young and sustainability-conscious consumers have helped grow this trend and created their own stores and events.
Although there are only a handful of physical second-hand shops, there is a sizeable community of online vendors.
To create an opportunity for these sellers and shoppers to come together, the artist collective Anti-Tattoo started the ‘Lost & Found Vintage and Second-Hand’ event.
Held every other month at the Palermo Cultural Center, you can browse this bazaar of second-hand clothes, shoes, books, cameras, and vinyl. The event goes from Saturday and Sunday, starting in the afternoon until the evening.
While shopping, you can enjoy music by music from live DJs that play music from different genres throughout the day. If, like me, you get hungry when you shop, don’t worry. They have food stands in the middle of the venue where you can grab a bite.
One of the coolest things about the event was that they invited vendors from Bogota to come to sell at the market. So you get an even more diverse selection to choose from.
There’s Something For Everyone in Medellín’s Second-Hand Stores
Whether your taste leans more towards vintage or you want something more modern, for bargain prices, there is something for everyone on this list of second-hand shops. Thrifting takes some dedicated browsing, but if you spend the time, there are treasures to be found.
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