European flea markets have long become city landmarks – equally loved by tourists, locals and even known to bring inspiration to famous fashion designers.
In Russia the notion of a vintage store is rather new due to Soviet era’s deficit — a shortage of consumer goods including clothing, so there are not much local vintage items to boast, while access to European clothing brands was cut-off by the Iron Curtain. The second-hand and especially vintage second-hand establishments have only started sprouting recently, since the Russians have been travelling and shopping abroad to the point that they are finally ready to start reselling their belongings.
‘Bloha’ is not a second-hand per se, but rather a vintage gallery, where old collections of Christian Dior, Azzedine Alaia and Nina Ricci and other designers find new life. Here, you can get an Alexander Wang parka (≈325$), a Dsquared2 leather jacket (≈400$), a Versace dress (≈200$), Blumarine gloves (≈33$), a Stella McCartney backpack (≈165$), and much more – from coats, branded jeans, bags, belts, bracelets, and perfume to all kinds of shoes. This store is a truly authentic vintage clothing store, and the owners claim 50% of the products have never been worn.
Initially, new items were provided by the owners’ friends, but as time went by, and the store was becoming more popular, a special day was set aside – Monday – for anyone willing to bring in and sell their shelf warmers. The clothes and accessories are only accepted after dry cleaning and in good condition.
The store targets anyone wishing to find something new in old designers’ collections. When it comes to design: Art Deco here meets Art Nouveau to literally scream ‘bourgeois Parisian chic’. This is clearly expressed by the large, arched, wrought-iron doors, and black and gold tones of the interior. With the exception of the late 19th century armchairs in the dressing rooms, all other furniture pieces were made locally in Kazan. The walls showcase paintings by a local artist, and on the shelves you will find a large collection of clothes, shoes and accessories. If you are a lover of vintage shoes, look no further, for this is your haven. Here, you will find shoes by Manolo Blahnik, Saint Laurent, Christian Louboutin and Lanvin, to mention but a few.