It began with a piece of paper. On that piece of paper were addresses. Soon they became points on a treasure map.
My treasure: vintage clothes.
The city: Ljubljana.
My goal: Find all the best vintage shops in Ljubljana.
It seems a funny thing to look for in a city... vintage clothes, or actually anything vintage. When most people travel to European cities with already packed-full carry-on luggage, buying more clothes or a vintage momento is not practical but some of the clothes I've collected - and squeezed into my suitcase to get home - are some of the best souvenirs I've ever bought. There's the pink polka dot dress from a market in Thailand, the vintage shoes from Rotterdam, a silk scarf with Australian flags I got in a Salvation Army store in Sydney, and half of my wardrobe which is from the vintage shops of London and Amsterdam. So I hope you're here because you agree with me - that vintage shopping in a city is the best kind of souvenir shopping, and that it's an absolutely great way to see a city.
But if you're here and do want to see some more of Ljubljana as well as the vintage stores, you can find a comprehensive city guide for a summer's weekend in Ljubljana here. Whatever you do make sure you also check out the Open Kitchen markets on Friday, and if you're curious you can read about my first impressions of the city.
And if you love vintage shopping, check out my guide for finding and buying the best quality vintage clothes.
Vintage Shopping in Ljubljana
When I travelled to Ljubljana last month I was given a list of vintage clothes shops I might like to check out. So armed with a day to myself and a rental bike (from the Tourist Information office on Krekov trg - a bargain at €8 a day) I set off to dig for treasure.
My first stop was moje Tvoje Secondhand Clothes, a name that doesn't do this neatly presented boutique justice. With a varied collection of men's and women's vintage including shoes and accessories, stepping inside moje Tvoje was like stepping into a shop I already knew and loved. I also loved the vintage London postcards on display. Of course.
Prices ranged from €5 for clearence stock to €50 - €60 for the more high end, high quality items. In my book this is realistic and fair pricing. I'm only sorry I didn't see something I liked enough to squeeze into my suitcase.
I have also since found out that "Moje Tvoje" translates as "What's mine is yours". Lovely.
Moje Tvoje, Mesni trg 8, Ljubljana.
This was hands-down my favourite vintage store in Ljubljana. It's hard to think I almost didn't go in because it looked a bit more exclusive than my denim shorts and I so I feared being laughed out the elegant gloved mannequins. I'm so glad I went in anyway. For many, many reasons.
Inside the walls are painted in thick black and white stripes and the store is set out over two areas, a number of stairs separating them. The front room is something of a film set, or at least a 1950s starlet's wardrobe on a film set with countless racks of clothes, elegant gold detailed chairs and shoes strewn across the floor. Up the steps there are more racks and more black and white stripes and rainbows of clothes ordered by style and colour. I spent a long time in Diva's!
I also bought something! I found a handmade (and so I hope, unique) yellow-patterned cotton top that certainly looks like it's from the 1950s or 1960s, though it may have been created much later just in that style. It cost me the ridiculously low price of €5. This silenced my one concern about Diva's, i.e. that it was out of my price range.
After asking for permission to take photos, I got talking to Barbara the owner. She switched from Slovenian to English with a very authentic North American tilt as soon as I introduced myself. After doing a little research I found this interview with her which explains the accent and why she started selling vintage in Slovenia.
Over on the other side of the river, is Vintage Galerija a small but well lit store full of vintage treats including some glassware and knick-knacks. The quality was good, the range varied and outside there was a rack of second hand items that were perhaps a little too new to be called vintage.
While I'd say the average customer of this shop is a more mature vintage loving lady, and I didn't find anything to tempt me on this occasion, I would definitely return to see what they had in stock if (or rather, when) I do return to Ljubljana. And it's the first place I'll go when I need vintage cocktail glasses.
Vintage Galerija, Obrežna steza 2, Ljubljana.
Gvant at Art Market, Breg
Gvant was listed on my piece of paper but it's address was over on the other side of town and I was conscious of time because I had a flight to catch. However, lady luck must be a fan of vintage because as I was wandering around the riverfront area of Breg, I stumbled upon the art market and the first stall I saw? Gvant!
With two racks of skirts, tops and dresses, and a collection of vintage Converse and leather handbags to the side, Gvant's stock was the most "bargain-ous" I saw on my Saturday of vintage shopping. Tops were priced at under €5 and skirts were around €12. I can't remember exactly how much the dresses were but I can't imagine much more and the range and styles on offer were excellent. I bought a black top with sequin detailed butterfly motif on the front. I loved it so much I wore it on the plane home.
Gvant, at the Art Market on Breg every Saturday or at BTC City, Dvorana 3, Ljubljana.
Frances M. Thompson
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