As malls have appeared in almost every district in recent years, shopping in Istanbul has become easier than ever. However, for those who still prefer old-school styles of clothing and shopping, there are many hidden corners in the city where you can take the time to search for those one-of-a-kind pieces.
In a neighborhood that feels like the perfect setting for a period drama depicting the 80s or 90s, Kulis Vintage in Balat has a different approach to many other vintage shops. Instead of a dark room stuffed full of clothes that you have to sift through for hours, there’s a light and airy space as neatly arranged as a New York window display. The selection of clothes is quite specific, with beautifully made leather pieces from some of Turkey’s most well-known brands, as well as vintage silk scarves and a collection of costume jewelry that would put even the most glamorous of grandmothers to shame.
Kulis has brands like Vakko and Chanel on its racks, and plenty of silk scarves. There are also more rare and strange items—embroidered dresses and paisley men’s housecoats, clothes to invent new characters for. Instead of sorting through piles of the same clothes in mainstream fashion stores, why not take a little longer to explore a spot like Kulis? Follow @kulisvintage on Instagram for more information. Vodina Caddesi No. 91/A, Balat
Breaking away from the constant stream of pedestrians on İstiklal Caddesi, Grandma Vintage on Kumbaracı Yokuşu Sokak offers a unique selection of second-hand clothes and accessories. Owner Gizem Saluvan worked for Mavi Jeans as a visual merchandiser for many years and she still advises clients on interior architecture and shop design. She found that a street leading directly from İstiklal Caddesi to Tophane and Karaköy lacked a decent second-hand clothing store and took it upon herself to open one.
The racks and shelves display second-hand and vintage clothes, ranging through various decades, for both men and women. Saluvan, who sources the clothes in local markets as well as from shopping trips to cities outside of Turkey, does not focus on any one particular decade or style but rather offers a selection of clothes she herself would want to wear. Colorful prints and floral-patterns dominate, but each section of the small store also holds a number of simple and monochrome pieces. Shoes, bags, and accessories are available as well; all lovingly arranged into decorative still-life arrangements throughout the store.
Should you fancy a particular piece of the store’s decor, don’t hesitate to ask for its price; the entire inventory is for sale, from the furniture to the framed artwork on the walls. Follow @grandmavintageshop on Instagram for more information. Kumbaracı Yokuşu Sokak No.41/A, Tomtom; T: 0533 387 62 25
Vintage Istanbul is the result of Özge Tan Özbek’s life-long passion for collecting. When you enter the cozy little store, it feels like stepping inside your grandmother’s glorious closet. From internationally known luxury brands like Vera Wang to no-name ones, it is possible to find all kinds of pieces at this shop.
When you are done picking your outfit, choose rings, necklaces, and scarves to match. Pearl earrings and 80s-style plastic necklaces in vibrant colors will help you create the very look you had in mind. Follow @vintage_istanbul on Instagram or visit vintageistanbul.sopsy.com for updates. Batarya Sokak No.11 D:2, Cihangir; T: 0532 700 83 63
Patchwork jackets, swimsuits and bikinis, retro sunglasses, a colorful range of jewelry, and even roller skates; this is a vintage-lover’s idea of heaven, and it is unisex. Visitors are first greeted by Mod Vintage’s eye-catching neon sign and modern window display. Once inside, you can shop for hoodies, sweatshirts, jeans from the 1990s, and chic Italian acetate sunglasses, all in one place. Vintage sports brands such as Adidas, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, and Puma are also in good condition. It is also a prime spot when it comes to jackets.
Whether you are looking for adorable vintage glasses or retro outfits, Mod Vintage will be your new go-to shop for its one-of-a-kind pieces and affordability. Do not worry if you do not live on the Asian side—Mod Vintage has a store in Cihangir too. Follow @modvintagestore on Instagram or visit modvintagestore.com for more information. Moda Caddesi, Bademaltı Sokak No.12/A, Moda; Matara Sokak No.14/A, Cihangir
The fast-growing Sentetik Sezar is one of the city’s most popular vintage shops. What started as an online Facebook store has turned into a chain with shops in Cihangir, Bahariye, and Moda. The shops proudly present a range of stylish clothes and collectibles; you can easily find yourself spending a long time looking at all the vintage finery, each of which has been dry cleaned and is of a high quality. Besides second-hand items, Sentetik Sezar also provides new pieces with simple but nostalgic cuts. With the well-organized display, you won’t have to do a lot of sifting.
Inside the neatly organized shop in Moda, colorful wide-collared shirts, gold and silver necklaces, and bell bottoms are on offer. You can also find oversized jackets, bags, hand mirrors, toys, and even tennis rackets. Be sure to pop in next time you are in the area to find yourself a vintage steal. Follow @sentetiksezarkadikoy on Instagram for the product updates. Leylek Sokak No.20/B, Moda; www.sentetiksezar.com