Story and pictures by Diana Adebayo (and Seconda Mano facebook page)
Islington has many fashion outlets from high-end to luxury. For those with a smaller purse,there are also at least ten charity shops located in the Holloway Road area.
When we think about bargains our minds usually go straight to charity shops – some people rate them and others don’t. Where else could you find an Oasis dress for £5 when the price starts from at least £30 pounds or a Moschino belt for more than half its price?
In Holloway Road it doesn’t have to be a charity shop,
Seconda Mano and Lotus Leaf are two clothing retailers that are both unusual in offering a variety of high-end brands, designer clothing, shoes and accessories at an affordable price.
Seconda Mano – second-hand in Spanish – opened 25 years ago in Upper Street, Islington. According to shop assistant Tara Frazer, they sell on behalf of their clients, including many in the fashion industry, for half the price.
“For instance, a Vivienne Westwood bag can be retailed at £200 and we would sell it for £90,’’ says Tara.
She says she’s very careful about the kind of goods they stock. It’s seasonal and comes from stylists off the catwalk. Customers vary from young hipster art students to middle age men and women from different backgrounds.
Explaining their longevity, Tara says, “It’s a good location. We do have a lot of customers, especially during the summer. I hope that we are still open in another 25 years, even though I doubt it because of the overheads and rent prices.’’
Lotus Leaf started 21 years ago on Holloway Road. They specialize in fashionable high-quality women’s clothing at affordable prices.
Manager Anita Skurska says, “We sell rejected items from top brand stores such as New Look and Oasis.’’ The lowest-priced item you would find in the store is probably £3.99, and the highest would be no more than £30. Their stock is continuously updated based on current trends.
Lotus Leaf target customers usually range from women age 30-50 but occasionally you can find items for young adults.
‘’Holloway Road is a good location for the store. It’s busy and right in front of the bus stop so women waiting for the bus usually pop in to see what we have in stock,’’ says Anita.
So, whether you’re looking for an affordable designer bag or a nice dress from a high-street brand at an affordable price, head over to Seconda Mano or Lotus leaf and find your glad rags.