Londoners have a very peculiar idea of fashion: they love bright colours, quality fabrics and unexpected combinations. We have put together a list of ten great shops to help you choose something interesting.
Dover Street Market
If you are still crazy about black color, clothes with a funky cut, and Belgium and Japanese designers, this is the place for you. A huge six floor department store Dover Street Market in the West End looks more like a museum. Prices are definitely suitable for the Japanese designers, but you can always satisfy your shopping fever by buying something from the line of Ray Kavakubo Play. For instance, tennis shoes or a T-shirt with a trendy this year camouflage print. Tennis shoes are exactly same quality as a regular Convers (I had to buy them once just to get a buyers contact).
Looking at Alaïa, Lanvin, Anne Demeulemeester and figuring out perfume options, you might come across a Gosha Rubchinskiy label and Dr Martens. Once you are done shopping, make sure to stop at a nice coffee shop on the upper floor.
I can’t make up my mind which Good Hood I like better – online or offline. The latter is located at Hoxton Square behind the well-known sex shop Sh! worth visiting as well. Established in 2007, Good Hood is doing pretty good. They added more space for menswear brands in the basement and a small gallery across. Not that long ago the shop was one of the rare places where you could get a free at the time copy of SUP magazine. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world back then and regularly went to Good Hood. Now it is replaced by Vice, but it is still a joy to stop by. Collection is frequently updated, among the standard items almost always available are fluffy tie-dye skirts, Opening Ceremony shoes and Junya Watanabe outerwear. There is a big range of prices but every piece of clothing from Good Hood is well worth the money spent.
Yet another small vintage shop Mint opened in the most hip neighborhood of Dalston. Its' owner, bearded James Wright, sells american denim and vintage apparel. Similar to Beyond the Retro or Episode, clothes are sorted by trend and color, but they look much nicer than the competitors' stores. You can find, for example, a camouflage jacket or a leather backpack for guys. For girls, a cool denim dress a la Calvin Klein of the 1990s. In the basement you will find a variety of shoes and accessories, anything from sunglasses to bicycles.
Angela Flanders shop is my secret spot. If someone asks what kind of perfume I'm wearing, I don't like telling where I got it. Angela Flanders is a real lady-perfumer who lives on the East side of London, and a Victorian style store is named after her. Her fragrances are very strong and bright, with the main advantage of being trendy and fashionable, not like a beaten Comme des Garçons. At the store, the perfumes are divided into three categories, which coincide with a size of a bottle. The smaller the bottle, the stronger the fragrance. You can also buy candles and essential oils with same fragrances. Everything is made in London, at the old factory Benthnal Green. You are almost guaranteed to run into the owner of the shop, so you really should stop by the shop, even if you aren't planning to buy anything.
When finding clothing in London is not a problem, shoes are a little harder to come across. Of course, you can always go to Primark and buy fake rain boots Melissa or flats for £5, but the better option would be to visit one of the biggest stores of the Topshop chain.
London Topshop is a little bit of a hell. For whatever reason, they sell cupcakes, cut hair and do nails, so it looks more like a tourist attraction. There is, however, one huge advantage – a whole floor with just shoes! Downstairs, there is a real shoe heaven. There are shoes for any taste and budget: from cheap local label Oxford, classic Dr. Martens to popular Swedish brand of shoes with wooden platform Swedish Hasbeens. You will also find comfortable TOMS, buying which you will help african kids, and vintage shoes with trendy this season clips.
London – the city with the largest concentration of fashionable guys. And they all dress on the East End. Here is a fact: one of the favorite shops of all of my guy friends if The Present. As soon as they get paid, they run to there. You can buy anything you want there. Sometimes it would be socks, a notebook or a real slingshot. Other times you can find something more significant, such as the right backpack, which is good for a bike ride, as well as a business meeting. The bearded hipster will make you the best coffee in the world. A long time ago, I took a sip of that coffee, and for the first time in my life felt really sad they didn't sell anything girls in the store.
Pelicans and Parrots
For those who didn't master the art of digging through charity shops, and who doesn't have time to visit the car boot sale in Chiswick, but really want something vintage and cool, Pelicans and Parrots is the solution. Besides Roccobarocco lime green trousers, Yves Saint Laurent shoes and Christian Dior shirts, they sell kitchenware and interior items. Sometimes it's hard to tell what is a decoration, and what is for sale. There are two Pelicans and Parrots in London: the original one and it's sibling, Pelicans and Parrots Black. My favorite is the second one. You have to ring the bell to get in, but it's not intimidating, since they let everyone in. The prices are little higher than in Beyond the Retro, but a real Mulberry bag is definitely worth it.
Hub – a chain store that carries English and Swedish brands. There are two of them in town. Тhe first one is on my favorite Broadway Market. Тhe second one is located on Church Street in Stoke Newington, a trendy street, but for an older generation, where I've been strangely drawn more and more often. Hub is not ideal as far as brands go, but you can always find Acne and Won Hundred in there. The store owners, Louise and Georgie, sell their own brands, too, Beth Graham for the women and Yarn for the men.
This chain, without a doubt, is an oasis within the multi colored English style. Hub shops are so cozy, that I can almost never leave empty handed. I will always buy something little, like gloves, stockings, socks or a candle. During the sales you can find jeggings for £24. It's also really nice to stop by on a Saturday during the farmers market, on your way to lunch, or to get a pint at the Dove bar, or a cocktail in Off Broadway.