Thrifting Across Europe


Lydia Jacoby, Fashionista

Hello fashionistas! I’m back. As most of you know, for the last month I’ve been across the world racing in Europe. But don’t worry, I made sure to spend ample time on my studies, collecting first hand shopping experience to share with you all.

The three destinations I visited were Berlin, Germany, Budapest, Hungary, and Cornwall, UK. Unfortunately, in Budapest I will admit I failed in my studies and didn’t go to a single store—thrift or otherwise. However, in the U.K., I spent several days popping into charity shops all over Cornwall. Interestingly enough, in England—and after some research, in other places around Europe—thrift stores are typically called charity shops. Of course, just like in the U.S., there are plenty of fancy boutique-like vintage stores, however, the vast majority are charity shops. Like Goodwill or Salivation Army, each one has a mission: some donate all profits to cancer research, some to ending homelessness, and some to countless other causes. In addition, everything is much less expensive in these stores, a whole shopping bag of clothing costing less than 30 U.S. dollars.

Going back to the beginning of my travels, the most notable thrift store on the map is indisputably the Humana Second Hand Market. Towering six stories high, the entire ancient building was packed full of clothing, all sorted meticulously into racks of styles. A winding staircase went up through the middle of the building with signs on each landing indicating the types of garments on each level—men’s jackets, women’s trousers, baby clothing, vintage and antiques. Needless to say, I spent a while investigating, and still didn’t even scratch the surface of what was inside.

One interesting tidbit to note is that I actually walked out of the store without purchasing a single item. Although in some ways it was fun to discover a thrift shop so massive, it was also overwhelming—so overwhelming that it was hard to focus on one rack for long enough so actually find anything worth investing in. If you were to enter the store with a certain item in mind, I imagine it would be perfect. In the moment, going in and browsing was entertaining, but if I lived near there, it wouldn’t likely be my go-to place for retail therapy.