A piece of vintage clothing is like a middle-aged, washed out rock legend: she’s had some life experiences and is in denial of the fact that it’s time to get off the stage. But even if a has-been star has retired somewhere in the depths of your closet, she can still make a comeback.
Vintage-wearing Tel Avivians know how to bring back fashions the right way. They dress for wearability, comfort, and without pretense while still managing to look put together. If you’re into vintage styles, then finding places to shop in Tel Aviv is a breeze. Shops and markets sell stuff ranging from you-might-as-well-buy-something-new-at-American-Apparel to WTF–the-falafel-I-just-ate-cost-more-than-this!
When I first wandered into Flashback at Dizengoff Center and found out that it’s actually a French chain, I felt a little let down (but I should’ve suspected that it was a chain as it was affixed to a mall). Despite this, I wasn’t deterred from immediately walking out. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Let me just say that color-coding is such a turn on…for stores. That said, please spare me from seeing you dressed up like a roll of Life-Savers; I’m more into your closet. (Pun intended.)
Another afternoon of exploring Tel Aviv lead me down a little alleyway and into Kassima Vintage outside Carmel market. Apparently I wasn’t the first to find it, as there is a TripAdvisor recommended café located conveniently next door. (It’s unclear to me of whether or not they’re run by the same owner.) They’ve got some cool stuff, albeit a bit overpriced/ musty-smelling. The space is very small, but you can sit right outside the shop with your coffee and escape from the madness of the market for a brief while. Vintage + coffee = my kind of day.
Week to week, I find a new favorite place for vintage, but the current front-runner is Kikar Dizengoff. A vintage and antique market, it’s open on Tuesdays and Fridays and filled with cool “junk” such as old-school stop watches, brass cocktail rings, 20s era brooches, binoculars, porcelain miniatures, and silver tea sets. There’s also a scattering of bibles, lamps, fans, and other random knick knacks worth exploring. And of course, there’s the clothing and shoes. It’s kinda hard to try stuff on, BUT shopping outside saves you from breathing in the mildewy smell that vintage/ second-hand shops are often characteristic of. Bargaining is also permissible here, so don’t be a sucker and pay full price.
Then, there’s Aderet on Bograshov 53, where I purchased these yellow pants for a sweet NIS 45 (roughly USD $12):
Though they weren’t in the best condition (the lining was sprouting frayed threads and the zipper had to be replaced), I still walked out satisfied with my purchase. You can’t tell from this picture, but the top has an asymmetrical draped effect which was a unique detail that I really liked. There’s a lot of one-of-a-kind homemade clothes that people resell here, and new items come in every week.
Down in southern Tel Aviv, there’s Jaffa Flea Market. Shit here is cheap. Like REAL cheap. I bargained a jacket up from NIS 30 down to NIS 14. It was literally all I had left in my wallet, and proving this to the vendor was the secret to getting the price lowered. There are actually two markets here – one inside and one out. The outdoor one has a lot of random things – old cassette tapes, used cell phones, nail clippers. Some of it is just cheap and random used crap, but some of it is worth scouring for inexpensive clothing or costume jewelry. Takeaway: Don’t purchase personal hygiene products at an outdoor flea market.
The indoor market is a complete tourist trap. Even so, it’s really cool to wander through and look around, but you’ve really got to up the anti with your bargaining skills. They have a lot of cool jewelry, Persian rugs, and re-worked denim apparel. If you’re a design student or artist, this market and the neighborhoods of Old Jaffa could give you the ideas or inspiration that you’ve been searching for.
Tel Aviv continues to be a vintage playground for my antique soul. Every time I discover another vintage place, I can’t help from wandering in, making this city both the best and worst place for my vintage addiction!