The Fresher’s Guide to a Fashionable London (Part 1)
Navigate London’s vast fashion scene with the help of this essential list
New to London and hoping to feel inspired by the city’s vibrant and innovative fashion culture? Want to advance your fashion explorations further afield from the crowded and clichéd Oxford Street? Check out these slightly less mainstream and personal favourite corners of London for a unique shopping or window-shopping experience.
The clusters – a general and non-exclusive sketch of the type of shops that populate the different areas, fashion markets around London and the fashion vibe of each area:
– Central – Oxford Street, Regent Street, Carnaby Street, Bond Street and Old Bond Street, Mayfair, Saville Row – everything ‘mainstream’ and widely known from your typical high street stores to big designer names and everything in between
– Knightsbridge and West – Brompton Road, Sloane Street, Sloane Square, King’s Road, Kensington – luxury goods and high end branding
– Notting Hill – Portobello (Saturday), Westbourne Grove, Ledbury Road – vintage fashion as well as trendy diffusion lines
– East End – Shoreditch, Spitalfields (Sunday), Brick Lane (Sunday) – edgy hipster fashion with a vintage feel and an up and coming atmosphere, home to many of Britain’s Fashion Week stars and therefore a centre of innovation
– Camden and Stables market (Weekend) – so close to home, there is no excuse not to visit this punky area
– Greenwich Market (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)
THE SHOPS – STARTING EAST
Atsuko Kudo – 64 Holloway Road N7 8JL
Those with a rubber fetish would head to Atsuko Kudo’s shop on Holloway Road to scan the vast collection of latex womenswear. The Japanese designer is a favourite of Lady Gaga, and she has also dressed the likes of Beyonce, Dita Von Teese, Grace Jones and Crystal Renn. Even if latex fashion really isn’t your thing, anyone who swears by Dazed and Confused or is interested in widening their outlook on fashion would pay the strange, dusty shop a visit.
Beyond Retro – 58-59 Great Marlborough St W1F and 110-112 Cheshire St E2
Closest Tube: Oxford Circus, Shoreditch High Street respectively
With its vast selection of handpicked vintage clothing representing every era of 20th century fashion, it’s no surprise that this store was listed ninth in Time Out’s September 2010 ‘50 Best Shops of London’. Or that it was awarded ‘CoolBrands’ status in 2009 and 2010. The shop supports charity and recycles old clothing as well as selling its own recreated vintage range, the Beyond Retro Label. Try on varsity jackets and clown onesies whilst listening to the in-store live bands that sometimes come to play music.
Calvert Avenue – Shoreditch E2 7JP
Closest Tube: Shoreditch High Street
I don’t think I need to explain the fashionable allure of up-and-coming Shoreditch. Three shops on this street may catch your eye; Luna and Curious boutique stocks clothing, jewellery and home ware with an emphasis on individual craftsmanship, Saboye was set up by a Central Saint Martins’ womenswear design graduate, and Ally Capellino sells simple casual leather satchels and messenger bags. On the same road is Calvert 22, showcasing contemporary Russian and Eastern European art.
Lomography Gallery Store – 117 Commercial Street E1 6BG
Closest Tube: Liverpool Street, Shoreditch High Street
The whole range of plastic toy cameras – Diana, Sardinia, Holga, you name it – can be found here, right in the middle of hipster Spitalfields. Come to admire the various camera models and designs, develop your photos or attend one of their in-store workshops. Don’t forget to also venture around Spitalfields market itself and the other shops in the vicinity such as Doc Martens. Cross the road to the original All Saint’s store. The Old Truman Brewery is close by too – a warehouse hosting frequent designer sample sales. Currently there is an American Apparel Factory Outlet open for a month only so grab some piece before they all go.
Redchurch Street – E2 Bethnal Green
Closest Tube: Shoreditch High Street
This street has some fantastic graffiti and a great East London vibe but if that is not enough reason to visit, there is APC, Aesop, and the Albion Café. At the end of the road is an Aubin and Wills store with a warehouse feel and an underground cinema. Short walk from Calvert Avenue mentioned earlier.
Rokit – 101 & 107 Brick Lane E1, 255 Camden High St NW1, 42 Shelton St WC2H
Closest Tube: Liverpool Street, Shoreditch High Street, Camden Town, Covent Garden respectively
Four stores around London of selected vintage wear and accessories – a gold mine for hipster fashion. Dazed and Confused magazine often features clothing from Rokit in their photo shoots.