Guest blogger and freelance writer Jenna Xue is back to tell us about where she goes to shop vintage in Hong Kong (and yes, it does exist!)…
Tucked in one of Causeway Bay’s many congested side-streets is a rarity in the shopping culture of Hong Kong: the vintage shop. Retrostone, operated by a Mr. Chiu, is an independent chain store with three locations in HK: two in CWB and one in Mongkok. I decided to visit the two in Causeway Bay (which are right across from one another) one Saturday night but after touring the two different stores, I highly recommend the one on Lockhart Road as it is a beautiful diamond in the rough.
One thing I missed about North America was vintage: early morning weekend flea markets, antique stores, consignment shops, second-hand stores, and vintage meccas like Kensington Market and the Lower East Side. Although HK still has a ways to go in the vintage department, the trend of finding old and unique treasures that tell stories in their age and wear is catching on. Retrostone is not only a decent hub of old Americana – think 70s flannel and psychedelic prints, 80s band shirts, and cowboy boots and leather galore – it’s a platform for one-of-a-piece items that Mr. Chiu handpicks from designers in the US, Hong Kong, and Japan. There are funky sunglasses, chunky metallic jewellery, bowling bags, and iron-on patches.
Retrostone’s main appeal is probably its selection of perfectly distressed vintage t-shirts ($100+) – there’s a large variety of Beatles, Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, and Pink Floyd – usually only one in each design. The Lockhart location has a more refined selection of shirts compared to the Cannon St location across the street, which houses more popular artists such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, and the ubiquitous Lady Gaga as well as reproduction vintage. There’s also a clinical atmosphere to the Cannon St location, which has a stark white interior, fluorescent lighting, and glossy framed posters everywhere. When I went to sit down on a tattered mustard-coloured couch behind a beaded curtain, I was told that I wasn’t allowed. But if music tees and posters is what you want, this location offers it all. I, however, prefer the grittier store across the street, with its dim lighting, wooden décor, wider selection of clothing, and friendly staff.
At the back of the store are large cardboard boxes full of unorganized carriers, one with bowling bags and one with leather messengers. I found a gorgeous caramel messenger bag (with a gazillion pockets!) for $480. For its utility and durability, that cost is a steal. I’ve already gotten the bag into all sorts of trouble but it’s still tenaciously holding on. That’s what I miss most about shopping for vintage; the scavenger hunt and the satisfaction. After sifting through a pile or rack of items, I always find something that I fall in love with…and not just in the heat of the moment but for the rest of my life.
1/F, 504 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay 2838 6419
2/F,1 Cannon Street,Causeway Bay 2838 6419
B23, Basement, Trendy Zone,Mong Kok
You can contact the fabulous Jenna Xue with any questions or freelance writing enquiries at [email protected].