By Luciana Bezerra and Ségolène Poirier, Contributing Reporters
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The city of Rio offers some of the best shopping there is, and the options are only increasing with the growth of the ultra-wealthy luxury market, as well the middle class. With the broadening consumer’s taste, shopping “vintage” is also a growing niche, and as usual the Cidade Maravilhosa has many hidden gems for those in the know.
Hunting for vintage clothes is also a great way to explore Rio beyond on main tourist attractions and enjoy cultural history in places that may be missed in the guide books. It is also a way to interact and support some of the small businesses and artisans working in the city.
In downtown Rio’s Centro, mainly around Lapa, a variety of second-hand shops (brechós) await exploration. The experience is enhanced by the colonial architecture of many buildings lining the streets, creating an ambiance of lost time.
A must-see attraction is Feira do Rio Antigo, where visitors can find; antiques, arts and crafts, vinyls, clothes and even a taste of some traditional Brazilian food. It takes place every first Saturday of the month in Lavradio street, near the Arcos da Lapa.
Also in the heart of Lapa, every month, a market called the Bazar Noir is set in Teatro Odisséia. It is possible to find clothes, accessories and even taste delicious vintage cupcakes in this alternative nightclub turned retail space.
Still in Centro, Brechó da Totolinha is an exotic and retro shop famous among the Carioca alternative crowd, located at the Terminal Garagem Menezes Côrtes. Also close to Praça XV and nearby the ferry boat station to Niterói, Feira de Antiguidades, which takes place every Saturday, is one of the most famous flea markets in Rio; there are clothing, books, accessories, electronic devices and even furniture.
“Feira do Lavradio is really nice, specially the Brechó Tracinha where you can find beautiful dresses from the Fifties and the Sixties with a good price,” suggests Sandra Mara Lima, a regular visitor.
Another item to add to a shopping tour list for vintage clothes is the store O Passado me Condena. Vintage style fan Lia Amancio recommends “Any second-hand shop has good clothes, but they are more from the Sixties and Eighties. I really like O Passado me Condena because of the variety of the decades.”
Located near General Osório square, in Ipanema, the Feira Hippie (Hippie Fair), which takes place every Sunday, is another very traditional street market in Rio. The fair has everything from fine arts (paintings) to handcrafted furniture to jewelry, with a healthy dose of vintage-style clothes.
It is impossible to talk about vintage style of the city without mentioning Santa Teresa, the most bohemian neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. The hillside cobblestone streets host a spectacle of galleries and art studios as well as traditional “feirinhas” (street markets), exhibiting and selling art works and vintage wares.