Published February 22, 2017
It’s no secret that Iceland is expensive, especially for clothing and other knickknacks. Going the thrift store route can be an attractive option for souvenirs and gifts. Not only will you get something that’s one-of-a-kind for yourself or your loved ones, but it’s also eco-friendly—and aren’t we all about that?
The trendiest thrift store in Reykjavík is Spúútnik. Whether they seek out items that are already á la mode, or they create new trends via their stock choices, Spúútnik is a tastemaker for the young Reykjavík crowd. Everything you see in the store will soon be worn on the streets—if it isn’t already—so if you’re looking to get the “101 rat” look, this is the place to do it. The downside is the pricing. It isn’t cheap, especially compared to secondhand prices abroad. That said, the quality is unparalleled. Currently on the racks? Buffalo platforms, old-school oversized metal t-shirts, and Chinese qipaos.
One cheaper-but-still-cool thrift option is Fatamarkaður, which is actually owned by the same people as Spúútnik. The stores have a similar aesthetic, but Fatamarkaður has a larger stock for a smaller price tag. What you sacrifice is quality—while Fatamarkaður might also have a selection of Buffalo platforms, they will probably be more worn-in than those you’d find at Spúútnik. But c’mon—it’s thrift! Isn’t saving money the goal?
Reykjavík has a number of options for buying your souvenir Icelandic sweater, or lópapeysa (“lópa” means unspun wool and “peysa” means sweater). You can buy new ones all over town—see the shopping section for the best options—but if you’re going the thrift route, head to the Kolaportið flea market. While it’s only open on weekends, this cavernous hall is chock full of budget sweaters. Afterwards, you could easily spend an hour moseying around rummaging through the assorted oddities and bizarre objects, or trying out hardfiskur and fermented shark in the food hall.
Bonus: By buying a sweater in a thrift store, you can be relatively sure that it was at one time worn by some cool Icelandic farmer. How’s that for a cultural exchange?
If you’re looking for something a little weirder, look no further than Góði Hirðirinn at Fellsmúla 28. Góði Hirðirinn translates to “The Good Shepherd,” but don’t worry, there’s nothing religious about this place. The store is associated with SORPA, the recycling company in Iceland. When you first walk in it looks like a cross between a super-cool hoarder’s house and a scrap heap. It’s a complete mixed bag, so it’s best to show up with no expectations and just start digging—there is junk, sure, but you’ll always turn up a few hidden gems.
The other two notable thrift stores in Reykjavík are the Red Cross and The Salvation Army. Both are perhaps less niche than the others listed above but most thrift connoisseurs in Iceland have a story of a stellar find at one of these two—a Moschino scarf or Moncler jacket. If you’re looking for such objects, definitely check out their downtown locations because those are usually filled with donations from rich people. Hey, times are tough.
You can buy a copy of the full Best Of Reykjavík 2017 magazine, posted worldwide, at gpv.is/buybestof.