How to Save on Clothing and Be Sustainable in Oslo?
In case you are wondering where to get a cheap Norwegian jumper...
As I was settling into Oslo and familiarising myself with the city, discovering where to soak in the sun and enjoy a waffle or two, I found myself searching for the go-to thrift stores, and after hearing all the rage about it from the locals, I was keen to see what I could find. I must say: I am more than satisfied. In case you are looking for such stores as well — here is the list of my favorite sustainable and student-friendly fashion corners around the Norway's capital.
Where to buy clothes if you want to be sustainable
If you find yourself missing the oversized blazers from Zara or the comfortable 2 for 1 trackies at H&M, chances are, you’ll find them sitting in a Fretex, one of the largest second-hand chain stores in Norway, in locations all around the Oslo city centre: Majorstuen, Grønland, St Hanshaugen, Nationaltheatret and its biggest branch in Alnabru. “Tøyinnsammling” in Grünerløkka Torshov, Nationaltheatret and Ensjø refer to the donation centre(s) where you can also drop off your unused clothes!
My personal favourite location is the Fretex in Majorstuen where I bought myself a Norwegian jumper at the price of 149 NOK, which could go up to 2000 NOK or more depending on its producer, and spotted a pair of colourful Vans sneakers for 249 NOK, which is usually on the market for around 885 NOK.
I would also recommend the branch in Alnabru, which is its biggest in Oslo, with three storeys of clothes, furniture, antiques, art, and electronics. To get there, take Line 1 or 2 towards Bergkrystallen or Ellingsrudåsen until you reach Helsfyr, where you can take the 66 bus towards Grorud T via Ikea and get off at the stop named Fretex, which should hopefully not be hard to miss — all in the Zone 1 ticket on Ruter!
My other suggestions for vintage and thrift stores are: UFF, Robot, Velouria Vintage, Solitude Vintage, Galleri Normisjon and M&E Secondhand Grensen, where you’ll find a great selection of good quality clothes — all around the city centre.
If you’ve exhausted Finn.no or Facebook Marketplace and your efforts to sell pre-owned or buy second-hand clothing have been to no avail, then check out the online app Tise: as in “advertise” if you, like myself, were wondering what Tise might mean in Norsk. Tise is a social, mobile marketplace for second-hand fashion. The categories you can choose from range from Fashion & Wearables, Child & Baby, Interior and Furniture, Outdoor, Art & Design, Devices & Audio, and Leisure & Hobbies if you want to broaden your scope.
Facebook can be a goldmine for Slow Fashion events all over Oslo, but it can also be understandably difficult to hone in on the right pages to look for when the events are not particularly catered to students.
"The Fashion Archives" is one of Oslo’s largest unisex, secondhand, vintage & Slow Fashion indoor markets which usually takes place once a month at Kulturhuset, but this can vary. The latest event (Vol. 65) was scheduled for the 11th of March at Kulturhuset from 12-17. It was free entry for “bargain-lovers, fashionistas and the environmentally conscious” alike. There was also brunch available “if treasure hunting makes you hungry” and a DJ playing “sweet tunes” on site if treasure hunting made you want to dance. Be on the lookout for the next event!
Location: Kulturhuset, Youngs gate 6, 0181 Oslo
You might even be able to find a fix-station from Fikse, a digital booking system for repairs, at "The Fashion Archives" x Kulturhuset events, but if not, be sure to follow the Facebook page to keep track of sustainability festivals, fixing and repairing pop-ups and giveaways in and around Oslo as well as other locations such as Trondheim.
Where to get clothes for free
If you keep an eye out on Facebook for SIO’s posts, there’s a likely chance you can find a Clothes Swap or a “Klesbyttemarked” every couple of months or so where you can exchange the clothes you want discard of for whatever reason (but not in whatever condition!). There is an upcoming one: “Klesbyttemarked for Oslostudenter” scheduled for the 29th of March organised by Studentsamskipnaden SIO and OsloMet at: Studenthallen, 1st floor in P52 (OsloMet).
At the event, you can find clothes and larger accessories like scarves, bags and hats, but not shoes, swimwear, underwear and socks, smaller accessories such as jewellery, sunglasses, and hair clips.
Not only can you exchange clothes at this event, but also find a repair station where you’ll have access to a sewing machine, sewing supplies, and more. Here you can change buttons, fix holes, or do something creative with design students — all in addition to bringing your own damaged clothing to repair.
Prior to the actual event on the 27th, you are able to drop off your clothing donations in exchange for the coupons you are to use on the day to make it easier for you to start browsing as soon as you arrive. You can do this from the 13th of March until the 27th at the following locations:
You can also find pop-ups such as “Brukthjørnet” at Kringsjå Student Village where everything is free! There, everyone is allowed to collect either 1 big item or 2 small items at a time, and you can find a couple of volunteers there to confirm this for you! However, it is only open on Tuesdays from 14-17 and Saturdays from 12-15.
Most of the goods you find in the Brukthjørnet have been collected from students who have moved out from SIO housing, but some have also been donated from the local community or collected from one of Oslo's recycling stations. You are also free to drop off any items you no longer use, from kitchenware to sports equipment or board games.
Location: Take the 5 line to Sognsvann, walk towards KIWI, down the ramp and turn left into the basement of Olav M. Troviks vei 62.
Fast Fashion but make it sustainable
If you find yourself missing these types of second-hand selling, buying and exchanging events, then you can also check out the online app: “Good on You” which features brand ratings on international, local, big and small stores alike, articles and expertise on ethical and sustainable fashion.
Certain fast-fashion stores also offer repair services for their products. The store “Nudie Jeans” has a repair service in the Majorstuen location. If your Nudies jeans are torn, just give them a wash, hand them into the store, and they will repair them for free.
Location: Grønnegata 10352, Oslo
Some stores, such as “Livid Jeans” in Stortinget also offer one-time repair services as per their repair policy. This will make it last in the long run!
Location: Prinsens gate 3B, 0152 Oslo
You can also find local repair shops via Repairable, which is a service that allows you to order repair, adaptation and maintenance of clothes and shoes online. Another way is to book a consultation directly at 1 of their 2 workshops at CC Vest in Oslo and Fornebu in Bærum. Choose to have your order delivered to your door, sent by post or delivered in a store and your good(s) will be fixed within 1-2 weeks. Prices online range from more or less 149-2299 NOK depending on the type of repair. Their vision is that it should be “as natural and easy to get help with repair, adaptation and maintenance as it is to buy new.”
(Oslo) Location: Repairable CC VEST Lilleakerveien 16, 0283 Oslo