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Thrift shopping in Buenos Aires

Shoppers spend Sunday afternoon perusing antiques and vintage goods
Shoppers spend Sunday afternoon perusing antiques and vintage goods
Kayla Chen

In Argentina, the terms ‘antique’ and ‘thrift store’ take on similar meanings as they do in the United States. But seekers of the thrift-shopping scene often struggle in Buenos Aires. For example, there is Beto Feria Americana, a thrift store known as ‘Shop number 22’ in a small shopping gallery on Av. Santa Fe. Surrounded by locksmiths and launderettes, the store often goes unnoticed, but customers that do happen upon it discover an engaging interior featuring vintage furniture, ornaments, mirrors and artistic objects situated against vibrantly decorated walls. Customers at Beto can find clothing dating mostly from the ‘70s, ‘80s and 90s’. In a conversation with the store’s owner, Sherman Cancion, The Argentina Independent learned that ferias americanas, or thrift shops, are becoming a staple of Argentine fashion.

The community of thrift shop goers does not just include the locals; tourists scour the city grounds for Argentine antiques and vintage fashion. Via travel blogs and forums, tourists have earmarked notable thrift stores in shopping galleries along Av. Santa Fe such as Galeria Americana, Bond Street shops and Galeria Quinta Avenida. Mercado de las Pulgas is a well-known flea market full of furniture, clothing, jewelry, and all-around unique items. As is Feria de San Telmo, an antique fair that sets up shop in the San Telmo neighborhood every Sunday. Olivia Najt, a writer for The Real Argentina blog, pulled together a list of the top vintage and thrift stores in her post.

Apart from slacklining in the parks in Buenos Aires, open-air antique markets are no stranger to the city's countless parks. Vendors of all ages and backgrounds set up their stands early in the morning; they might be seen sipping mate, the infamous Argentine tea drink, as they await the arrival of locals and tourists. At Parque Rivadavia, vendor stands line the perimeter of the park; there is barely enough space between the stands to squeeze by, but to the shopper's content, hours of perusing and bargaining lay ahead deeper inside the park. Ask most Argentines where it is easier to snag deals on 'vintage' or 'antique' items and they will answer, the parks. But either way you look at it, the world of thrift shopping is vibrant and kicking in Buenos Aires.