The Thrift manifesto (Part 3) - The Market Masters

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The Market Masters: Georgie, Lisette & Victoria Cooper

WHO? The sisters behind our favourite online fashion market pretaportobello.com – where you can shop their edit from the street in the comfort of your own home


Lisette: “To pick up the best bargains at a market, you need to be prepared to rummage. At Portobello, there’s a guy selling vintage scarves – we once rooted through a huge box of containing hundreds and walked away with an Hermès scarf for just $3.20. Another time, we were at a vintage warehouse in Hull and searched for hours before coming across a black leather Alaïa skirt that cost us just $6.40. It can be hard work, but when you do pick up that purchase, it makes it all worthwhile.”

Victoria: “Markets are not only good for vintage finds, they’re a great place to discover designers who don’t charge a fortune. Plenty of new designers and fashion college graduates set up stalls to test out their lines. Because they are new and don’t have huge overheads, they’re happy to give you a bargain.”

Gerogie: “You are better buying certain items at markets rather than on the high street, because the quality is so much higher. Leather boots, bags and jackets are perfect examples. The manufacturing of clothes was much better 30 years ago, whereas now, clothes are more throwaway. I’ve got a leather satchel I picked up years ago for $48 – I wear it to death, but it’s actually improved with age.


The Cooper sisters’ tips for finding market bargains:

Plan your shopping agenda

“Figure out which market is best for what you’re looking for and on which day. Camden is great for jewellery; Brick Lane for new designers; and Portobello for vintage.”

When you’re abroad, check out the local markets

“Sydney markets do the best kaftans and maxidresses; Florence is great for leather; and the south of France for straw fedoras.”

Don’t be too cautious

“If you see something you love, snap it up. Don’t wait and go back for it – it won’t necessarily still be there.”

Don’t be afraid to haggle

“Everyone wants a good deal – it’s a sign of the times – so traders don’t get offended by haggling, they expect it. But be realistic – don’t go in too low, offend them and lose that deal.”

Always carry cash

“Plenty of traders accept credit cards, but cash gives you bargaining power. Keep an eye on your money, though – there are people roaming the markets with sticky fingers!”

Stock up for better reductions

“If you purchase more than one of something, you’ll get a better rate; the more you buy, the bigger the discount.”

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