There is a great amount of quality to be found when it comes to items we call “vintage”; be it vintage clothing, vintage jewellery or vintage cars, although such items may not be of this era, they nonetheless have come from a time or place that took pride in their craftsmanship and quality. We’ve hand-selected a few must-visit vintage stores across Bangkok that we reckon might re-ignite your love for being vividly vintage. You’ll be able to get a bang for your baht too – you still might be paying a lot though – while also getting your hands on something no one else has. Now that’s luxury!
The Vintage store
Money could buy you a golden Louise clutch leather evening bag from Louis Vuitton’s latest, but, as The Vintage Store argues, even with all the money in the world, you probably would have a harder time getting your hands on an LV Pochette Curry Black and Gold clutch, which came out years ago. Some of the best designs and accessories that blew up the fashion world years ago, sadly, much like your favourite discontinued Chanel perfume, haven’t made it to the present. There is, perhaps, a light at the end of the tunnel though. That light is shining at The Vintage Store at Eight Thong Lor, where you’ll be find anything that’s worth having in Vintage chic. On the surface, vintage fashion may look like a small niche market. But it’s nonetheless an exclusive and crowded world filled with the best of the best in timeless pieces that just won’t go out of style. Here is Bangkok’s leader in luxury vintage collectibles and chic accessories.
The same people behind Bangkok’s beloved Tuba Design Furniture and Restaurant also bring you every collector’s best friend. Papaya Vintage is an absolute treasure trove for all things vintage, giving off an Alice in Wonderland meets Ali Baba meets Seattle’s Ye Olde Curiosty Shoppe. It’s a remarkable 5,000sqm warehouse that houses what one would call an organised mess, which sprawls over four floors with narrow passages and shelves filled to the brim with unique pieces and furniture.
Stunning interior-enhancing furniture sits next to retro vespas, lamps, watches and paintings of all sizes and hues. In another section, life-sized figures of Batman, the Green Lantern and Wolverine eyeball a collection of Ultramen standing next to a display of Star Wars memorabilia. Browsing through the massive collection throws up plenty of surprises, like giant rabbits and a fur coat. But this collector’s dream also has vintage gramophones and radios, disco lights, pinball machines, toys and some altogether unidentifiable electronic devices.
(un) Fashion Vintage
Run by a Thai-Japanese couple, Suchada “Jieb” Pavilai and Yuichiro Yoshino – who obviously spent quite a lot of time in Amsterdam by the way – (Un) Fashion specialises in rare leather shoes, gorgeous bags and other accessories for both men and women and can be found in the heart of Ekamai. The store is housed in a cottage-meets-traveller’s caravan and next to it sits a quirky cafe with simply delectable bites, teas and coffees; we highly recommend the cheese cake! And you certainly do feel like you’ve stepped into a different era when you’re sitting in it looking out at the courtyard. But, back to the actual store. There’s a clear sense of style when sifting through the collection, with most items imported from Italy and dating from the 1970s. Some, however, do go back even further, with their oldest pair of shoes dating back back to the 1930s. Best thing: the prices won’t give you a heart-attack, as there are items that range from THB350 to 5,000. To get first pick, make sure you visit on Wednesdays, when new stock comes in.
Garage Records has been one of Bangkok’s most reliable vinyl vendors since it launched as an online shop some years ago. Now it’s expanded into a proper shop and welcomes music lovers and crate-diggers from far and wide to its thrifty store on Ladprao Soi 8. Even the tiny space is packed with rare finds from the store’s favourite genre, alternative rock from the 1980s-90s; but you’ll also find the likes of hip hop, jazz, funk and even the recent singles that have been smashing the charts, as vinyl is back to being cool again. Both used and new stock is imported from Japan, the UK and Germany. The space feels kind of like a cafe too, making it easy to sit in while browsing through records. Some highlight albums we found were: Your Arsenal by Morrissey, The Great Escape by Blur, The Score by The Fugees and our absolute favourite, a Pet Sounds vinyl by The Beach Boys that was made in 1966 via German pressing.
Founded by celebrity Vinita (Nita) Tejapaibul, Treasures is built upon her belief that every individual deserves to wear beautiful clothes that deliver them self-worth. We’re inserting this shop into the vintage category because the store’s founding concept goes back to a time when it was less about brands, and more about looking bespoke and bad-ass. This much-talked-about gem for all things vintage is housed in Thong Lor’s trendiest hangout spot, The Commons. Rebelling against branded wear, every piece found at Treasures is a one-of a-kind and won’t be found in mainstream fashion. The quality of every vintage piece is hand-crafted, unlike what you’ll find is made commercially with machines today. Treasures is also a mobile shop too and has been involved with a number of pop-up stores, most recently, partaking in the Nai Lert Flower and Garden Show as well as the Made by Legacy market. Every item in Treasures can be altered, tailored and redesigned to suit every customer’s needs, which is what we really all need.
Thai Auto Vintage
And now we’re onto the real classics: vintage cars. The world definitely doesn’t make cars like it used to and there’s something so special about driving in a car that’s got a timeless feel that just won’t go out of fashion. Thai Auto Vintage, from its earliest days, was started by a group of enthusiasts who had a deep interest in classic cars and the company since grew to cater for car collectors who needed to restore their wheels. Not only can you buy classic cars here, from names such as Mercedes Benz, Alfa Romeo, BMW and Ferrari to Jaguar and Porsche, but you can also buy spare parts that are essential for their restoration too. Anyone interested in having their classic banger repaired or restored can rest assured that these guys have been doing so for years.
Dasa Book Café
A second hand bookshop is the place to go if you’re looking for any old book and of course is every bookworm’s dream. The literature greats, the classics and books of antiquity can all be found here. Dasa is the place Bangkokians go to when they clear out their shelves, emigrate or return to their home country, so you can just imagine the types of books that gathered dust over the years and found their home in the shop. The adjoining cafe provides an excuse to linger and sift through works of literature too.
1 Of A Kind
Here’s a real cute place to go to when you want to mix business (shopping) with pleasure (food). 1 Of a Kind is a quirky little store that is doing something no one else is: selling Vintage Nordic furniture – niche or niche? – and delicious dining experiences, from salad and steaks to lobster and bruschetta. And we guarantee you that once you enter the establishment, you will be picking up your camera straight away and taking pictures of every corner and one-of-a-kind piece. If you’re looking to re-decorate your home, you’ll find pieces here that will lift your home and give it the sparkle no one else has.
Last but not least, we give you vintage, film-cameras that come in all shapes and sizes. At Crazy Camera – which is found in Airlab – you can walk in and sell a camera you’ve been hiding in your closet for years, or you can buy a camera you didn’t even know was still circulating. From Pentax 6X7’s with a wooden grip to Billingham Hardleys, old-school Leicas and even Minolta Ps, here you’ll be able to find every high end vintage camera under the sun, at a hefty price too. You can also buy film here, learn more about the world of vintage photography and get your old lens-and-clicks fixed here too.