This is hands-down the best second-hand shop in Germany (if not the world)
It’s been 49 years since Marie-Louise Schaernack opened Secondella, Germany’s first second-hand shop in Hamburg. The multi-storey boutique is packed with some of the biggest names in fashion from old guards like Chanel and Valentino to contemporary superstars including Off-White and Acne. For luxury lovers on the hunt for a vintage Dior Saddle bag or a gently used Stella McCartney cocktail dress, it’s a treasure trove. But it’s also a haven for designer devotees who have recently cleaned out their closet and are looking for a place to turn last season’s Prada sunglasses into a little bit of extra cash.
When Marie-Louise first opened the doors to her second-hand shop in 1970 (then called The Second Hand Shop), it was a concept that was unfamiliar in Germany. “I had the idea because I worked as a fashion model and travelled to England and America where there were already second-hand shops. But not in Germany,” says Marie-Louise. According to her, it was the time in fashion when haute couture was losing popularity and prêt-à-porter was gaining serious momentum. Not to mention that in the 70s, young mothers were starting to enter the workforce at unprecedented rates. “They said, what a good idea to buy second-hand, good quality clothes - not clothes from big department stores,” says Marie-Louise.
The original shop was housed in a small apartment with a garden in a not-so-fashionable part of the city. But thanks to Marie-Louise’s magazine connections from her modelling days, media attention soon followed, as did glitzy clientele from politicians to celebrities (you often knew when one was in the shop thanks to the bodyguard and limousine parked outside). An expansion was needed – both in terms of size and staffing and so the boutique moved closer to the action in Hamburg in order to house their growing vintage collection and meet the demands of their customers. By then it was 1973 and they no longer were the only second-hand vintage shop in town - or in Germany. And so a name change was in order and Secondella was born. Almost five decades after they opened, Secondella is still a legend not just in Hamburg but across the country and beyond. Stylists pop by the shop on a regular basis on the hunt for vintage finds for their upcoming photo shoots and editors are not shy to share their love for the shop via column inches in the pages of their glossy fashion magazines.
For anyone who has ever stepped foot inside the shop which caters not just to women but also men and kids, the atmosphere just feels fun – and it’s infectious! “For our clients it’s an event to shop here,” says Brigitte Kasper who, as a trained fashion designer, handles the buying for Secondella while Silke Griebel takes care of the merchandising. “They come with friends, three or four friends together in the fitting room to try on clothes! Our shop is full of life and our customers are not so interested in the Internet, they are interested in us.”
If you live in the Hamburg area or are visiting, it’s definitely worth popping into the shop but be prepared to spend a few hours (and a few Euros) browsing the endless racks of vintage finds. We bet you won’t leave empty-handed. Or hop over to their website to browse through a special selection of items to buy online (their collection of Hermes scarves is to die for, not to mention their Chanel costume jewellery). If you’ve recently detoxed your wardrobe, then it’s worth making an appointment with their lovely team to go over the items that you would like to sell. Or pop into Secondella during the designated “buying” hours. If you live outside of Hamburg, simply send them your items that you would like to sell and they’ll take care of the rest, including pricing.
If you’ve done a major detox and have a large collection of vintage clothes and leather goods to sell, the team from Secondella makes it super easy and super personal. If you live in Europe, they’ll come to your home, sort through your closet and go over each piece to see what they can bring back to their shop. If an item doesn’t sell after their specified time, it’s returned back to you. Or you can opt to donate any unsold pieces to one of Secondella’s charity partners.