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An alternative guide to shopping in Bristol


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Welcome to our series of alternative shopping guides to some of the UK’s cities - here you’ll find some amazing fashion finds unique to your city, which you can buy knowing you’re helping local businesses thrive while you look fab!


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Cotham Hill charity shops

Cotham Hill is a charity shop magpie’s haven, located off Whiteladies Road and right by Bristol University’s main student hub, with multiple stores to choose from. If you time your visit right (think just as term ends), they’re full of clothes students either no longer want or can’t be bothered to drag back to their family homes and you can find yourself some real treasures.

Gloucester Road

If you’re after a unique find, a wander down Gloucester Road is just the ticket; it is home to more independent shops than any other street in the country and is known locally as Bristol’s indie shopping district. It has everything from second-hand steals to beautiful, handmade pieces depending on your budget, with the added bonus that buying from one of its vendors directly helps an artisan continue to do what they love. The next three shops are just the tip of the Gloucester Road iceberg.

Image credit: Pixabay 

Fox and Feather

Fox and Feather has been going strong on Gloucester Road for almost seven years.  Admittedly the clothes, although beautiful, are probably out of most students’ budgets.  Nevertheless, they stock some amazing jewellery, which will add interest and individuality to most outfits and is a more affordable but no less valid way of supporting a deserving local designer. 


That Thing

That Thing really does have everything; it sources its stock from over 50 independent designers, most of which are also based in Bristol. Through its doors you’ll find everything from one-of-a-kind vintage pieces to their eponymous line, and in the summer it really comes into its own as a one-stop shop for everything festival fashion-related. 

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CoLab selects innovative artists (designers included) from in and around Bristol and showcases their work in store. Versatile tees, customised denim, and distinctive jewellery can all be found here and on their website along with treasures for the home, so it’s also well worth taking a look if you’re searching for a thoughtful but useful gift for someone (and maybe grab something for yourself too, just for good measure). 



Located on Park Street and well worth the accompanying hike uphill, Sobey’s can’t be missed with its iconic golden carousel horse in the window. It specialises in vintage and reworked clothing  and houses a huge selection of wardrobe wonders, from denim and Converse to backpacks and sweatshirts. Look out for their wax jackets; they’re ideal for wet Bristol winters and are really reasonably priced.


The only word to describe Thrift that comes close to doing it justice is “emporium”. It’s jam-packed full of pieces that will liven up any wardrobe and, better yet, lets you do so without damaging the planet because it’s all second-hand! They also rework vintage clothing from brands including Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, so if you’re in Bristol you’d quite frankly be foolish not to pay them a visit.


Just up the road (literally, have you seen how steep Park Street is?!) from Thrift and Sobey’s is BS8 - two whole floors of second-hand goodness. If vintage sweatshirts are your thing, then this is the place for you; with seemingly every colour and size under the sun under one roof you’ll be spoiled for choice. Equally, don’t miss the dressier hidden gems; lurking among said sweatshirts are party dresses and skirts of all shapes and sizes. 

So there you have it, our alternative shopping guide to Bristol.  For those of you not lucky enough to be able to hit up Bristol's fashion spots, you can find some more student-friendly fashion here.

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