Monday, 16 April 2012

Where to find alternative fashion items?

From Auxiliary Magazine issue April/Mat 2012

In the previous post about alternative fashion I wrote about how you can incorporate alternative items into your outfit and show your personal style without standing out as "different". This time I'll give a few tips on how you can discover alternative brands and where to find them.

I found that the best way to discover alternative fashion brand names is by browsing in alternative stores, physical or online. Once you have one brand name, you type it in Google, find who sells it and see what other brands they sell and this process all over again. This way you also discover stores that stock alternative items so when you find an item you want to buy, you can shop around for the best deal in all those stores.

Of course, you don't have to buy branded alternative items. The reason I prefer to buy brands is because I usually buy alternative items online and once I have one item of a certain brand I know what to expect in terms of quality and sizes. Also, a lot of alternative items are branded but I don't find them to be more expensive then the stuff in chain stores.

Here are a few places you might want to check out for alternative clothing, shoes and accessories:

Local alternative stores. This kind of stores are the hardest to find because they are usually small, privately owned and don't advertise. Your best bet to find out about their existence is through your local friends.

In Denver there are Vixens and Angels on 613 East 13th Avenue 80203 and Raves Oh My Goth on 1516 Emerson St 80218. I haven't been to either of them yet but hope to check them out soon.

In Canberra there are two alternative shoe stores but both are overpriced and you can get most of the stuff for almost half the price online. They are still worth the visit as there are surprises.
  • Redpath is located near the Canberra Centre on 6 Garema Place. They have a good variety of alternative shoe brands including Dr Martens and TUK. They are also the only store I know of in Canberra that sells good quality leather shoes.
  • Roadhouse is located in DFO Fyshwick. They have a good range of Dr Martens, including new styles, and a few styles of other random brands. They also sell clothes and bags but the range of styles and sizes is limited. Israelis will have to go to Tel Aviv to visit alternative stores.
In Israel all of the stores are in Tel Aviv, I've being only to Tomer.
  • Tomer in Dizengoff Centre, first level, near gate 7. They are overpriced in comparison to the prices online and the range isn't great either but if you're in Dizengoff you may as well have a look.
  • Nox located not far from Dizengoff Centre on Frishman 48.
  • Zipper Market is the place to get accessories and clothes made by local alternative designers. Check out the Zipper-Market Facebook page for dates. 

eBay. eBay has an amazing range of goods and you can start with a broad search narrowing it down as you go using the menu of the left. Start with a broad search like "50s", "pinup", "goth" etc. Then narrow it down by type, price and so on. When you like an item from a particular seller, see what else the seller has to offer. Slowly you'll get familiar with potential sellers you want to buy from and with brands you like.

Always check the sellers feedback, negative and neutral comments on the seller, seller's return policy and shipping costs for the item you want to your country. Also, there are eBay websites from many countries so if you live in Australia try out both and
  • Australians should check out the Atomic Cherry eBay store. They store clothing brands like Hell Bunny and Sourpuss but also have funky accessories, housewares and novelties. Atomic Cherry have high rating of 99.9%, offer a 'no questions asked' refund or exchange policy, have low shipping costs and the item costs are very competitive to overseas sellers. I ordered from them twice and was very happy. 
  • Another very popular eBay store which ships to pretty much anywhere is Sinderella's Shrine. They have a great range of dresses both pinup and cocktail. I personally haven't ordered from them as I can usually find the same item cheaper elsewhere but they have a 100% rating so I don't think you can go wrong with them.
Amazon. Amazon have a very good range of alternative shoes at very competitive prices and the shipping is also cheap. If you are looking at buying shoes, check Amazon first. The shoe brands you can find there include TUK, Dr Martens and Iron Fist. Unfortunately Amazon isn't the best place to find clothes. Amazon also has a few websites for different countries so if you're in Australia or Israel visit both and

Etsy. A website where private designers sell the products they made. Also has generic "made in China" items but most of the stuff is handmade. Great if you want to buy unique designs that you are not likely to find in store or to obtain a one-off item. On Etsy you can find jewelry and accessories, clothes, shoes etc.

Online stores. Aside from eBay and Amazon there are other online store which sell their own alternative brands or sell a range of different brands. The problem with those is that you usually don't know the shipping cost until you proceed to check out, unless you live in the county where they operate. All the websites below ship to most countries. Even if you aren't going to buy from them, it's worth browsing their store as you might discover new brands and products you like. I have bought from only a few and will mention which ones.
  • Most of the alternative shoe stores have their own website: TUKDr MartensIron FistAbbey DawnDemonia... You can usually find a brand's website by simply searching it in Google. 
  • Pamela Mann sell tights, stockings and socks. They have some very cool designs at reasonable prices.
  • T-shirts can also be alternative and to find unique designs check out Think Geek and Threadless. Both websites have T-shirts for both men and women. Hubby and I bought from both. Think Geek tees are made of a thicker cotton material than the ones at Threadless but then Threadless offer some tees for $10 or even $5. 
  • ModCloth is a pretty popular website for vintage style items and have a wide range of prices although if you're after something cheap, they are not the place. 
  • Style Addiction have both clothes and shoes. You have to add the items to the chart to see shipping costs to your country.
  • Sourpuss have a website where they sell their own brand but also some other brands. 

Of course there are many more store online but I tried to include the most promising ones that ship Internationally. Also, always remember that while there is a great range online, your local chain stores might hold some great items that will go well with your personal style. Often alternative items become a seasons trend and this is a great opportunity for you to get them. 

Next post will be about some of the alternative items that I owns and brands that I like.


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