Fast fashion and huge brands can often seem to dominate the fashion scene in Oxford and around the world. Independent retailers offer a great alternative which can be more sustainable, exciting and supportive of our local communities. This article gives an overview of some of Oxford’s independent shops so that come Michaelmas your fashion options are more varied than ever.
A Rosie Life is technically a lifestyle store, not a fashion store, but the jewellery and accessories they have on offer are beautiful. They stock bright and colourful bags perfect for a summer look as well as more everyday styles for laid back outfits. The jewellery on sale includes modern and simplistic necklaces meaning the shop offers pieces for both a minimalist look and a more vibrant one.
Eagle Vintage is, as you have probably guessed, a vintage shop. However this is a vintage shop with a twist. The shop is created to be an experience, set in a spacious venue. The founders wanted to make shopping vintage more enjoyable and easy, so that it becomes simple and less chaotic or jumble-sale-like. Being vintage means it offers a sustainable alternative to fast fashion as well as a great place to find high quality, timeless pieces.
Fresh is an independent boutique located in the covered market which sells clothing and accessories from British designers. The clothes on offer are of a more classic and traditional style, including classy summer dresses and pretty lace camisoles. However their jewellery section is vivid and varied. From simplistic shapes of gold and silver to colourful statement drop earrings to koala brooches and hairclips, there is something on offer for a whole number of styles.
Rainbow and Spoon boutique is a clothing store which was established in 1982. It is full of colour, and therefore definitely the place to go to escape the endless racks of monochrome tops so common in clothing retailers. They also sell fair trade items, making them a sustainable and ethical option for your fifth week blues shopping spree.
Exclusive Roots offers fair trade products made in Africa. Whilst they don’t sell clothes they do have a jewellery section with a range of brass earrings moulded into beautiful shapes and patterns. They ensure that their producers get a fair price and they reinvest their profits into their charity, Tabeisa. This charity supports the development of small businesses in disadvantaged communities in Africa.
Next to Nothing owner Sam Mellish told Cherwell that it is: “a bright exciting boutique”. The shop sells a variety of items, including original clothing, slogan T Shirts, accessories, and gifts. Whilst it is now located in the Covered Market, it started life as a stall in the 70s. Mellish told Cherwell: “Our shop is special because it is independent, and we can buy whatever takes our fancy! This means a variety of colours, prints and styles you won’t find in boring chain stores”.
Unicorn clothes shop is another vintage shop, located on Ship Street. First opened in the 80s it is known for being packed full of clothes. It is the place to go for hidden gems when you are in the mood to sort through piles of clothes to find the perfect item.
Retro room is the final vintage shop of this article. The shop includes vintage, designer, and second-hand items amongst its selection, offering both accessories and clothes over an expanse of three rooms. It boasts a massive variety of items meaning there’s something on offer for any occasion. Retro Room also offers you the chance to sell your own clothes at the store.
Ansari boutique is a shop offering unique patterns combined with bright colours on dresses, bags, accessories, and a whole number of other items. The bags and accessories they sell are covered with a variety of designs with the only consistency being the bright colours present throughout. They are located in the covered market and a great place to go for a burst of colour.