Guide to becoming a Fashionista on a budget in London
If you’re a student (hence most likely on a budget) and love fashion, and have just arrived in the U.K., you will notice how everything is so much more expensive! Or if you’re planning to study/live in the U.K., especially London, it’s best that you read on to prepare yourself.
Don’t worry there are a lot of affordable retailers and vintage markets you can check out to satisfy your fashion needs. Remember, you don’t need that much moola to become a fashionista because it all comes down to style and not money when it comes to being a true fashion person.
Check out below for information on retailers with permanent student discounts, and markets that sell really cool and affordable vintage clothing!
You can literally find any of these retailers (except ASOS obviously) anywhere in the U.K., so check out their site for more info on exact locations, or you can always just shop online:
Topshop is literally the top spot for fashionable yet affordable clothes! From hipster to urban to smart looks, they literally have everything you need. Additionally, they have a permanent 10% discount for students!
Not as fashionable and hip as Topshop, but you can still get some cool stuff here. Although it’s more casual than the rest that are on this list. The plus side is that it’s very cheap for both menswear and womenswear!
ASOS is literally the best place to shop from your home! With a varied selection of brands available on their site from top designers such as Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs to the more urban and street brands such as River Island, Lyle & Scott etc. This site also has a permanent discount of 10% for students. Although be warned, there are so many nice things, on sale that you just might go crazy!
You cannot go wrong with up to the minute fashion here as well as your basics for everyday. It’s a perfect place for both fashionistas and bargain-hunters! Another great brand from Arcadia.
Slightly a bit more expensive than Topshop but still nothing too crazy. It’s still affordable and also has a permanent discount of 10% for students.
Popular with tourists, student, and hipsters who want to look for rare and unique pieces from young designers. Traders know the market attract fashion-savvy people who are looking for a bargain. It’s also a good spot for food as you will find the best curry houses right there in Brick Lane. Even though things are cheap, be wary of the quality of the items you purchase, some could be great and some, not so great.
When: Sundays, from 9am to 5pm approximately
Where: Brick Lane, E1
Closest Tube: Liverpool Street or Aldgate East
Close to Brick Lane is Spitalfields Market, which is open seven days a week but Saturdays is when the “Spitalfields Saturday Style Market” is held, where you can find clothes inspired by cultures all over the world but still very “London” as the designers are based in London but just have some international influence when it comes to their design.
When: Saturday’s market takes place from 11am to 5pm
Where: 16 Horner Square, E1 6EW
Closest Tube: Liverpool Street
It’s also open on Friday, but there are less stalls, the best time to come here is on Saturdays, although it might be crazy both in a good and bad way, bad in that it can be overcrowded, but good as in a way that you will find some of the most exotic items. This is also one of the best markets for vintage clothing, and antiques. If you are willing to spend a lot of time, and if you look carefully you will find some of the most unique and original pieces of clothing.
When: On Fridays and Saturdays the market runs from 9am to 7pm
Where: Portobello Road, W10 5TA
Closest Tube: Ladbroke Grove; Notting Hill Gate
One of the coolest markets that has been around for three decades. It’s always crowded because of tourists from all over the world like to visit there. It’s probably one of the most affordable places to find vintage and alternative clothing. You can also take a break from shopping by checking out some of the food stalls that are there which are very varied, and probably has food from everywhere in the world.
When: The market is open from 10am-6pm throughout the week,
Where: Camden High Street, London NW1 8NH
Closest Tube: Camden Town; Chalk Farm Road
Small yet still cool East London market that is open on Saturdays. Since it’s small it only has a few choices but you can visit the Burberry and Pringle outlet store to mix and match stuff!
When: Saturdays from 9am to 5pm
Where: Broadway Market, E8 4PH
Closest Tube: Hackney Central; Haggerston
A market that has existed for more than a hundred years, you can find really cheap and discounted stocks from high-street retailers here. Be wary though the clothes are a bit random, you can sometimes find really high quality stuff, and some can just be a bit dodgy. Still good for value though!
When: Sundays 9am-2pm
Where: Middlesex Street and surrounding side streets, E1
Closest Tube: Aldgate East, Aldgate, Liverpool Street
The ultimate bargain destination for designer clothes! Although Bicester Village is not actually in London, but it’s still worth mentioning it because it’s just too fabulous!
You can find all the designer, and luxury brands such as Prada, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Burberry, whatever, top-designer brands you can think of, they are there!
It is literally the best designer shopping outlet in the UK. Constantly packed and as the centre has become more well-known over the years you can expect queues outside some of the "top shops". The quality of the goods are fantastic and there are some great bargains to be had if one looks properly.
Where: 50 Pingle Drive, Bicester, Oxfordshire, OX26 6WD
Monday to Friday: 10.00 - 19.00
Saturday: 09.00 - 20.00
Sunday: 10.00 - 19.00*
*On Sundays Burberry, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Dolce & Gabbana and Polo Ralph Lauren and Prada open at 11.30 for browsing, 12.00 for shopping and close at 18:00. Prada opens from 12.00–18.00 for shopping.
Also, if you're a true trooper fashionista and want to take a course in fashion, check out some fashion schools in the U.K. Don't forget to download your free prospectus. It's everything you need to know from choosing a course to finance.
Use our scholarship search below to look for a scholarship:
Tengku Wazir writes from time to time, and is very much into topics regarding international education. Besides that, he is a digital aficionado who is passionate about both fashion and technology.
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