By Teresa Geer, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Not exactly renowned for vintage fashion, Rio de Janeiro’s shopping districts still offer a plethora of options for the retro lover. In particular, get hunting through the Carioca ‘brechós’ (thrift shops) and style conscious ladies and gentlemen will not only be rewarded with a window to the Brazilian threads of the past but may also come across a treasure chest of high-end brands starring the likes of Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
“Although vintage style is not so obviously worn in all areas of Rio by the locals, there are a surprisingly wide range of thrift stores that offer good prices and great brands.” Says fashion conscious backpacker Pandora Whitlow from United States.
“Vintage shopping in Rio is not only a great way to bag a bargain or add a few more labels to your wardrobe, it also offers an alternative way to experience the cool side of the city’s culture – and meet some of the interesting characters behind Rio’s brechós.” Explains Carioca style enthusiast Claudia Oliveira.
The shop Eu Amo in Santa Teresa is one of the hippest brechós in town and an absolute must for those who seek vintage. Headed up by two glamorous femmes who practice what they preach as they happily flaunt their stock in the shops online advertising. Eu Amo principally offers its customers unique pieces from the 80’s, its customer base includes the celebrity crowd as well as fashion professionals on the hunt for precious retro finds. Rua Monte Alegre, 374, 1 house, Santa Teresa, tel. 2221-2855.
For those looking for something more thrifty, Brecho do Adylson will happily provide. Here, punters can find classic feminine stock prettily laid out underneath a quaint spiral staircase. A jumble of brands awaits, find anything from H&M to Chanel hiding out here. This store receives much of its custom from other thrift stores looking to resell the low price but high value items. Rua das Laranjeiras, 21, shop 31, Laranjeiras, tel 2205-7260.
Ipanema’s Petit Lily sits on the other side of the fence at the high-end; boasting a range of international brands like Manolo Blahnik and, most popular in the store, premium Diesel and Seven jeans.
The focus at Petit Lily is timeless branded fashion, vintage or contemporary, the store is a sure bet for those after couture style at a steal of a price. Rua Visconde de Pirajá 550 (shop 319), Ipanema, tel. 2239 3707.
Also in Laranjeiras, and for something besides a simple shopping experience Desculpa, Eu Sou Chique (Sorry, I’m Chic) offers its patrons experiential delights beyond the 60’s relics that hang off the rails.
At night, the thrift store transforms into a bar and theater in the space upstairs, where lucky customers can catch one of the periodic shows that are put on throughout the year. Back downstairs, the store showcases time-honored fashion, accessories, vinyls, books and furniture – all carefully hand selected for their uniqueness. Alice Street, 75, Laranjeiras, tel. 2225-6059.
For certain searching for vintage clothes is 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.