Some swear by vintage shops for creating a unique look, and even the glamorous world of the celebrity has its own devotees of vintage in the likes of Winona Ryder and Scarlet Johanssen, both of whom create their distinct styles by mixing vintage and modern.
Here in São Paulo, second-hand clothing shops – or brechós – have always had a mixed reception. ‘Like it or not, it’s the best alternative to find one-of-a-kind clothes, shoes and jewellery’ says fashion student Tais. But while the fashion crowd hunt for treasure in brechós, others find the idea of ‘used’ clothing unappealing. Thankfully though, momentum has picked up enough to keep a respectable set of second-hand clothing shops open – and interesting.
Bag a bargain
Students also tend to be big brechó fans, here as anywhere else, so expect to see plenty of chiffon tunics, printed leggings, belted dresses, big glasses, and flashy accessories around the city’s universities. The competition is hot for blazers and sunglasses, but the turnaround can be high, too, at places like Brechó Vó Judith where the main draw is accessories, like prim berets, bright ties (available for under R$20) and plenty of leather purses. ‘We’re looking for exclusive pieces, or fun items. In other words, pieces you won’t find everywhere’ says Brechó Vó Judith’s press officer Claudiana Cabral.
Adept shoppers hunting down a designer steal can easily construct an entire ensemble at Casa Juisi – a large vintage store downtown opened in December 2011 by Simone Pokropp and Junior Guarnieri, the creative duo behind the now-closed vintage favourite Juisi by Licquor. While the majority of the collection is for professional hire only, you can still peruse beautifully-crafted racks of second-hand and vintage pieces for sale, sourced by the owners. Look out for sweatshirt dresses by Norma Kamali and skirts by Oscar de la Renta and Burberry, costing between R$80 and R$290.
The most out-there of second-hand shops in the city is B.luxo, which fills a niche created in part by the owners themselves, Paula Reboredo and Gil França, the names behind two of São Paulo’s most funky fashion parties: the rock’n’roll-themed night Titties & Beer and the glitter-glam OTT style of Fui!, both at Bar Secreto. Reboredo and França are part of the shopping experience at B.Luxo with their eclectic tastes, shifting styles and ultra-modern perspective. Even if you can’t make it to their second-hand shop, stocked with everything from the weird (collectible dolls from R$10) to the must-have (studded suede boots under R$130), you can get a glimpse of their world through the oft-mentioned Freakstyle blog at Freakstylesite.com.
Other brechós worth a nose around are Capricho à Toa with dozens of racks of everyday options – jeans alone have their own dedicated room – as well as designer and dressy finds. A café serves sandwiches and cold drinks – a welcome pitstop for the bargain hunter. Minha Avó Tinha is renowned for its huge collection of vintage pieces, which often find their way into TV and film productions.
The unique finds are out there, from handmade hats to cowboy-style belts and designer dresses, but you may find some pieces perplexingly overpriced. And as for ’80s and ’90s pieces – let’s just say a lot of them would be best left in the past where they belong. This is urban treasure hunting, so you’ll need a good dose of patience and luck to find the brechó bounty, but half the fun is the hunt itself.
B.luxo is at Rua Augusta 2393, Jardim Paulista (3062 6479, brecholuxo.blogspot.com). Read more on B.luxo
Brechó Vó Judith is at Rua Aspicuelta 258, Vila Madalena (3037 7808, brechovojudith.blogspot.com). Read more on Brechó Vó Judith
Capricho à Toa is at Rua Heitor Penteado 1096, casa 8, Sumarezinho (3872 5926, brechocaprichoatoa.com.br). Read more on Capricho à Toa
Casa Juisi is at Rua Roberto Simonsen 108, Sé (3063 5766, facebook.com). Read more on Casa Juisi
Minha Avó Tinha Rua Doutor Franco da Rocha 74, Perdizes (3865 1759, minhavotinha.com). Read more on Minha Avó Tinha