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A woman looking at a blouse in a vintage store. In the window next to her is a mannequin and behind her you see lots of different clothes.
Vintage shopping
Shopping vintage clothes in a store at Magasinsgatan in Gothenburg.
Photo credit: Tina Axelsson/

Sweden's top spots for sustainable second-hand shopping

Second-hand shopping is firmly rooted in Sweden, and you'll find opportunities aplenty to hunt down preloved items – from vintage clothing and designer handbags to iconic homeware pieces. Here is our guide to Sweden's most prominent charity shop players, curated second-hand fashion spots and forward-thinking retail concepts centring on sustainability.

Sweden has long been a hotspot for second-hand shopping. The country is awash with eco-friendly retail spots selling second-hand, vintage, antique, and upcycled items crafted from surplus material – across fashion and beyond. 'Leftovers' from previous seasons and items with the odd blemish can be picked up at dedicated shopping outlets, of which there are many in Sweden.

Touching on the Swedish history of second-hand shopping, one of the country's most popular charity shop chains, Myrorna, dates back to 1896 and has been run by The Salvation Army since 1899. The green movement of the 1970s saw second-hand consumption flourish among Swedes, and it has continued to grow ever since. It's quite telling that Beyond Retro, known for its vibrant mix of vintage clothing, has more stores in the larger cities of circular-loving Sweden than its native UK.

New, forward-thinking concepts keep springing up – a notable example being the Eskilstuna-based ReTuna. This is, in essence, a sustainable, one-of-a-kind shopping mall offering products that are either preloved or crafted from recycled materials. On a much smaller scale but equally imaginative, Gothenburg's Kvillehyllan invites anyone to rent a shelf and fill it with items looking for a new home. The staff will handle the rest, selling the items on your behalf.

Over in Stockholm, Slow Fashion Hub offers second-hand shopping along with circular services such as clothing rental, re-design and alterations. It forms part of The Slow Fashion District – an area studded with some twenty shops, including Green Little Heart, which functions a little like a sustainable marketplace, giving green-minded contenders such as the remake-focused Abloom Collection the opportunity to showcase their ranges.

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Vintage shopping

While Swedish clothes designers are known for their environmental awareness, Swedish consumers are no strangers to reduce their environmental impact even further by going vintage shopping.

Photo: Simon Paulin/

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Photographed from the outside with reflections on the window pane, a man inside is holding up a shoe.

Vintage shopping

Photo: Simon Paulin/

Inside a shopping centre.

Second-hand shopping centre

Photo: Jann Lipka/

A shop window with vintage clothing. You can see reflections in the window of people moving.

Vintage shopping, Gothenburg

Photo: Marie Ullnert/

Where to seek out curated preloved fashion

Sifting through rails of second-hand garments at a 'loppis' in the hunt for that particular piece is a pleasure – and something of an art. You might also want to consider one of the many curated second-hand fashion shops that have sprung up in the past few years, allowing you to get your hands on preloved designer pieces and vintage one-offs. Arkivet offers contemporary second-hand clothing and accessories in a boutique-style environment, with customer service and styling advice to match. There are three shops in Stockholm and one in Gothenburg, and the brands you're likely to encounter include Dagmar, COS, Filippa K, and Acne Studios. Similarly, Ninas Nuggets extends the life of consigned pieces in her Stockholm store, and so does Birgitta K.

If you're after high-end pieces, head to Affordable Luxury in Stockholm's Östermalm. Here, you'll find bags, accessories, watches and jewellery from the likes of Celine, Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

Over in Jämtland, consider the Östersund shop Brukat. Further north in Umeå, Úma serves up a cool-casual assortment of second-hand and vintage items – ranging from varsity jackets and graphic T-shirts to classic Levi's jeans.

You'll even find carefully considered second-hand fashion sections within shops focusing on 'new' wares. Aplace – with stores in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö – is one of Sweden's key independent multi-brand retail concepts. Its cherry-picked preloved selection sits alongside the equally well-curated range of current-season designer fashion, which includes Swedish labels such as Rodebjer, Filippa K and Hope.

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Re-sell and reuse

Yard sales, garage sales and flea markets are popular in Sweden. It brings in extra cash and helps spare nature's limited resources. The word 'loppis' is short for the Swedish word for flea market, 'loppmarknad'.

Photo: Aline Lessner/

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A sign is leaned against a table with an assortment of used items. A house is in the background.

Re-sell and reuse

Photo: Aline Lessner/

Second-hand clothing hanging on a rack, shelves with flowers and pictures, shoes on display, and a mirror reflecting the shop name 'Myrorna'.

Myrorna second-hand

Photo: Myrorna

Hands holding five second-hand mugs with different patterns.

Myrorna, koppar, second-hand

Photo: Myrorna

The 'loppis' – king of the Swedish second-hand shopping experience

When searching for preloved treasure in Sweden, there is no escaping the word 'loppis' – the nickname for second-hand stores selling random but charming – and sometimes iconic – items. This is an abbreviation for loppmarknad, which is translated to flea market in English. If you get to know a Swede, don't be surprised if they invite you for a 'loppisrunda' – a day dedicated to hopping from loppis to loppis.

Though Swedes may apply the word 'loppis' even to larger charity shops, they differ. A 'loppis' can be run by anyone, sometimes housed in a garage or outhouse – with a hand-painted 'loppis' sign on the roadside. On a larger scale, an auction house might be behind it, as in the case of Östersund's much-loved Loppis på Gården (translating to 'loppis in the yard'). Malmö's Loppis Lounge, meanwhile, invites the public to bring in unwanted wares that it'll sell on its behalf – a little like Kvillehyllan and a relatively new way to encourage the prolonging of an item's life.

So, what can you expect to find in a Swedish 'loppis' or a more extensive charity shop? It's difficult to predict, but the quality is typically high, with a chance of unearthing Orrefors candlesticks and collectable tableware by the likes of Rörstrand – perhaps even the treasured Stig Lindberg designs. Part of the stock tends to be regional. In northern Sweden, for instance, you might come across Sámi craft items such as hand-carved wooden objects and embroidered reindeer leather bags.

Circular shopping is vital – and booming in Sweden

Sweden has ranked in the top ten on the Environmental Performance Index produced by Columbia and Yale universities for over a decade. In line with this, circular shopping is on the up. According to a study conducted by Swedish commerce organisation Svensk Handel, second-hand shopping is predicted to increase by 1,5 billion Swedish kronor annually in Sweden.

This is good news – the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has found that 90% of the high emissions associated with fashion – which accounts for 10% of global emissions – can be traced to new production.

Discover Sweden's essential charity shops

As for the significant charity shops to look out for, Röda Korset runs some 260 stores across Sweden. Many of these are large-scale affairs offering everything from furniture, homeware, and books to clothing and footwear. Some even house cafés, inviting you to have a casual fika on a vintage table.

Similarly, Erikshjälpen and PMU's shops are typically large with plenty of preloved items to choose from. Both operate over 50 shops each across Sweden – from Västerbotten in the north to Skåne in the south. Also, consider the equally well-stocked Humana and the aforementioned Myrorna – don't miss its new Stockholm three-floor 'department store'. Another key player is Stadsmissionen, whose upcycling line Remake counts Crown Princess Victoria to its many fans. The Swedish Royal has been spotted in its colourful jackets, crafted from vintage blanket remnants. Speaking of the female side of the Royal Family, they're often seen wearing outfits on repeat, rejecting the age-old idea that rocking the same outfit more than once is a cardinal sin.

The expression 'so last season' has a different meaning in the sustainable shopping vocabulary – one of celebration and eco-minded joy.