With six regional flagships and 46 second-hand shops, Fretex is Norway‘s answer to the Salvation Army. The century-old nonprofit is the largest—okay, only—vocational rehabilitation company in the country. Why should you care? Because bargains! Glorious bargains! As anyone who has ever traveled to Norway can tell you, bargains are hard to come by in this obscenely expensive country.
Of special note is the Fretex shop on Lars Hillesgate in the Western city of Bergen. It’s huge, meticulously organized, and loaded with reasonably priced vintage finds: cool souvenir plates from the 1970s, Mad Men-esque tumblers and coupes, Kodak Brownie and Polaroid cameras, and handsome dressers that’ll make you consider—at least for a hot second—paying a cargo boat to ship it all home. The used vinyl selection turns up albums from Alice Coltrane, Nick Drake, and The Cure. In the cooler months, the staff trots out cozy mittens with Scandinavian patterns, streamlined windbreakers, and classic Dr. Martens boots.
At outposts in Oslo, Drammen, and Fredrikstad, the Fretex Redesign department sees professional designers and students collaborating with Fretex employees to upcycle donations into new creations. Follow @fretexredesign on Instagram to see how they turn old jeans into Christmas decorations and leather jackets into pencil cases.