The Ladybug’s Vintage and Handmade guide of Cagliari

I must confess that when I went to Cagliari to spend a couple of days with a friend who moved from Milan a few months before, I was surprised by the quality of vintage and handmade that I found in town. The city is very different from when I visited last time years ago: vibrant, joyful, modern and traditional at the same time, colored, full of life and warm as usual! I really enjoyed my stay and I spent two half days hanging around looking for the best vintage/handmade shops in town.

But let’s start from the vintage shops:

  • First stop was Recyclerie Vintage: I virtually met Alice and Fabrizio on Instagram a year before and unfortunately they were on holiday when I was in town but Caterina was there to guide me in the first vintage shop of Cagliari where I immediately fell in love for the attention of the research that covered different styles. Classic vintage and amazing accessories (including jewelry vintage and new) on the basement, vintage streetwear with a high quality selection of vintage denim and clothes for women and men on the first floor, a tattoo studio on the second floor. This shop is a must-visit for any vintage lover and if you are around you cannot miss it! I also got a few pieces there: the vintage military green floral dress that you see in one picture, a pair of vintage soft brown leather shorts and a ring from El Rana. Prices are fair and they are really adorable (you can find them in the main street of Cagliari, in the city center).
  • Second stop was Urban Pep, founded by the lovely Vanessa who I also met online last year. Vanessa really impressed me for the loveliness and kindness but also for bringing me around to discover some pieces of her city. But she also guided me through her shop, a perfect match of vintage handmade where she mixes her two passions: vintage and Thailand. Vanessa has Thai origins and she travels her other country looking for handcrafters who create beautiful pieces with a retro twist. Urban Pep is also full of interesting collaborations with local artists and associations such as La Fille Bertha (incredible Sardinian artist – I bought one of her pieces for my new house!) and La Matrioska a creative and social textile lab (I also bought one of their handmade tees!). Vanessa is a volcano of ideas and her shop really expresses her eclecticism. Not far from Recyclerie Vintage in the main street, make sure that you visit her shop and you meet her in person!
  • Third stop was La Bottega delle Meraviglie, but I was so pissed because it was closed and I couldn’t manage to contact the owner. From her Instagram page I realized that it was the kind of shop that I would have loved but maybe I will be able to visit it next time! It is in the tiny streets of the city center, definitely worth a visit.
  • Not a shop but a vintage and antiques market that I found “by mistake” on a Sunday Morning, is the Antiques Market of Piazza del Carmine, a small but super interesting market where I found a lot of interesting pieces (especially jewelry…I left with three fantastic brooches!): mandatory stop, you will love it I promise!

Just want to share some more interesting shops that are definitely worth a visit if you love ethical, handmade and traditional shops:

  • Recyclerie has another shop in the city center (actually it was the first shop before the vintage one was born), totally dedicated to handmade pieces (homeware, accessories, jewelry etc.) coming mostly from Sardinian artists and handcrafters
  • Eticando is a lovely boutique in the center of Cagliari that only sells ethically made clothes for women and children; not the usual ethical shop, that’s why I liked it
  • The AB Gallery is a place where I could have bought almost everything for my house: pillows, blankets, carpets, decorations etc. Everything is handmade from Sardinian artisans keeping alive the rich textile tradition of the region. A true beauty.

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The Ladybug Guide to American Vintage for Europeans

Raise your hand if you have ever fallen for American vintage!

I know, I know we may live in Italy and France, where the best designer vintage is available, but American vintage has a “je sais pas quoi” that kills us all vintage lovers!

Just to give you an example, in 2012 when I first traveled to New York, I had to pay extra luggage for the amount of vintage that I found there in vintage and charity shops, of incredible quality and at the most affordable prices! The Big Apple is full of amazing vintage shops but if you look online or on social media American sellers always offer an incredible quality and so many exceptionally rare pieces: Persephone Vintage, Audrey Scarlett, Ragg Mopp, Retro Rhapsody, Parasol Vintage,  just to name a few!

But even if we are in 2020 (almost 2021) it is still pretty complicated to buy vintage from the States if you live in Europe because of three main barriers:

  • US Dollar: buying in dollars maybe favorable in some periods, depending on the exchange rate against euro, but pay attention to the hidden bank fees or exchange rates as your beloved vintage dress may cost you more than expected! So, as a good habit, check the rate before deciding to buy it!
  • Sizes: American sizes are normally quite different from European but vintage sizes are even more complicated as often, as it happens also for European vintage, they don’t reflect the normal size charts that we use. Then I suggest first of all to use one of these charts to have a first idea, then it could be very useful (and save you time and money) to ask the seller the measurements of the clothes you want to buy. Speaking of this, American and Europeans use different measures (even in Europe we don’t use the same!) so make sure to use a converter to have the exact measure of the pieces you want to buy.
  • Shipping and Custom fees: the worst part of the game, shipping costs and custom fees are the real tragedy when it comes to buy fantastic American vintage! Shipping costs are not the seller’s fault so please don’t ask them to reduce them as they really pay a lot to send our beautiful pieces to Europe. Postal charges are quite high from the States and we have to consider them, especially if we want to buy heavy clothes like coats or shoes. Additionally, if the selling prices exceeds 25 USD we have to prepare to pay custom fees (directly linked to the final price….the higher is the price the more expensive is the fee) on our vintage pieces. You can ask the seller to adjust the price for you if it is feasible (not legal though!) but more often online platforms for selling vintage directly print the receipt from the platform then it is impossible to change it. Shipping and customs are definitely the highest barrier to buy vintage from the States, which may explain why I got so many vintage clothes when I was there…even if my extra luggage charge was around 70 USD!!!

I am showing here one of my few American vintage pieces (possibly from the late 70s/early 80s) that I bought online from the wonderful Parasol Vintage, definitely one of my favorite American sellers! I like almost everything she sells, as I think that we have very similar taste. When I see her pieces I often think of the barriers that we have in Europe to buy from American seller and it is really a shame that in a such globalized world we have to pay so much to buy some good American vintage online.

I hope that my little guide was useful and I hope that in the future things would change a little bit to ease the process for Europeans of buying some wonderful American vintage!