Best shopping in Soho
Discover where to buy top notch vintage, retro records and fine indie threads with our guide to shopping in Soho
Some of the world's best independent fashion labels have steadily been moving into Soho over the past few years, joining a run of established record stores, vintage boutiques and jewellery and harberdashery shops. We've picked the best of the bunch below…
Smaller than its east London counterpart, this Soho branch of Absolute Vintage moves away from the bursting-at-the-seams approach of its sister establishment, though it does share its focus on shoes. Lined up by the dozen, both men’s and women’s styles are arranged in meticulous order by colour and by type. So, if you’re looking for a pair of gold loafers, black Dr Martens, or brown ankle boots, the search is made infinitely easier here.
- 79 Berwick Street, W1F 8TL
Since opening this Soho shop nearly 15 years ago, Agent Provocateur has become an international success story, with branches as far afield as New York, Moscow and Dubai. It’s the first port of call for the decadent and fashion-forward lingerie fan. The distinctive retro glamour of the London store’s pink and black decor is extended to the staff, who are kitted out in cleavage-enhancing pink nurses’ uniforms. Bras, from 32A to 38F, start at around £60.
- 6 Broadwick St , W1F 8HL
With its refined yet rather manly aesthetic, this menswear label dresses well-heeled gents, fashion editors and regular guys who like no-nonsense style. The focus is on classic, high-quality design with a subtle retro edge; Steve McQueen is an inspiration.
- 23 Beak Street, W1F 9RS
This charming little store – one of the more tasteful of Berwick Street’s fabric shops – lures customers in with artful window displays. Inside, the premises are neat as a pin, with wooden floors, bolts of fabric, spools of coloured thread and enticing trays of buttons. Downstairs, more rolls of gingham, cotton poplin, wools and hand-loomed silk await, and there’s a great selection of patterned fabrics.
- 47 Berwick Street, W1F 8SJ
Jack Spade started out with just one product: the ‘dipped coal’ bag. The tote-style sack was (and still is) hand-dipped in latex, and originally sold through hardware shops. That was back in 1996 – since then, the brand has steadily grown into a small chain of cult US stores and, in the last two years, created a strong line of men’s apparel to join its collection of bags and accessories.
- 83 Brewer Street, W1F 9UX
Kingly Court has helped London’s Carnaby Street to reclaim its 1960s reputation as the heart of swinging London (well, at least a vein of it, anyway). The three-tiered complex boasts a funky mix of established chains, independents, vintage and gift shops. The café-filled courtyard generates the most bustle, attracting custom to ground-level shops.
- Carnaby Street, (opposite Broadwick Street), W1B 5PW
Tucked away behind a black, unassuming-looking Soho shopfront, Kleins offers a glorious welter of trimmings: lace trim, ribbons, shoulder pads, military-styling frogging and iron-on badges and motifs of every description. Purse and bag frames, buckles, buttons, dyes (including shoe dyes), zips and metal corset stays, bra fittings and wires are among the other useful bits and bobs, and there’s a good array of haberdashery tools for sale too.
- 5 Noel Street, W1F 8GD
Cartoonish illustrations and a witty sense of humour have made Gemma Shiel's brand Lazy Oaf a cult favourite. Clothing, jewellery, accessories and stationery all feature bright graphic illustrations - from googly-eyed monsters to statements such as 'come classy, leave trashy' - and stock caters for punters with a sense of humour and a love of primary colours.
- 2 Ganton Street, W1F 7QL
Although Liberty trades well on its history, it constantly squeezes innovation into its wood-panelled rooms. Alongside one of the best edits for fashion shopping in the world, in 2011 it expanded its men’s floor, adding a huge tailoring and accessories chamber packed full of posh undies. The Paper Room soon followed on the ground floor with micro-floral Liberty print stationery and gifts, and then the Dining Room opened.
- Regent Street, W1B 5AH
Behind the 1950s green ceramic Soho frontage is Lina Stores, an iconic family-run Italian deli that’s been in business for over half a century. Indeed, Jane Grigson used to buy spaghetti in blue wax paper here years before celebrity chefs coasted the streets on scooters. Besides dried pastas (stored in beautiful wooden crates), there’s a deli counter chock-full of cured meats, hams, salamis, olives, cheeses, marinated artichokes and fresh pastas.
- 18 Brewer Street, W1R 3FS
Enter this glamorous boutique and you’ll find Lily Allen and her half-sister Sarah Owen have done all the hard work for you. They’ve scoured the globe for premium beaded ’50s-’60s prom dresses (many at £80-£120), 1920s silk slips, brocade gowns, and on the ’80s/’90s rack, an awesome pair of clown print Versace jeans (£120). At the top end are some fabulous Ossie Clark jumpsuits, which, if you can’t shell out £450, can be hired for £90.
- 48 Lexington Street, W1F 0LR
The shop formerly known as Digitaria, and formerly located on Berwick street, is having a third bite of the Soho retail apple with a store on Brewer Street. Soho's edgier outfitters have struggled of late, and the area has seen the lamentable disappearance of some of our favourites like the Pineal Eye. So it's good to see Stavros Karelis taking a gamble with another new shop, and one that doesn't shy away from the harder sells, like punky Louise Gray and conceptual neoprene from newbie RCA graduate Peiran Gong.
- 13 Brewer Street, W1F 0RH
Fabulous clothes at tiny little prices, in a shop stuffed with toys that look like owls. What's not to love? Monki, the sister brand of Swedish label Cheap Monday, has finally opened the doors to its first standalone store in the UK. Set over two floors on London's Carnaby Street, the Monki store shares a double fronted premises with Cheap Monday.
- 37-39 Carnaby St, W1F 7DY
Swedish organic denim brand Nudie is all about long-termism. And as you might expect from such an ethical brand, on-trend denim prints and colours don't have a place here: among the 11 different fits (from the super skinny Tight Long John to relaxed straight legged Average Joe) the washes tend to stick to classic, hard-wearing blues, blacks and greys. And although the store – and the collections – are decidedly masculine in feel, Nudie is very much a unisex brand.
- 29 D’Arblay Street, W1F 8EP
The Other Shop's original incarnation was B store – London's quietest fashion success story of the noughties. Originally set up as a shoe retailer, with a shop on Conduit Street, B store quickly outgrew its first home in 2006 and moved to Savile Row and then to this flagship Carnaby outpost. In the summer of 2012, the shop's co-founders Matthew Murphy and Kirk Beattie shut up shop – and re-opened with a whole new concept and name.
- 21 Kingly Street, W1B 5QA
The doors are always flung open at this lively dance vinyl hubbub. Recline on the battered leather sofas and egg-shaped chairs that give the chic space a 1970s gangster feel, or finger through rack upon rack of pristinely selected records favouring the deeper and edgier side of club music. The balanced selection journeys around the world taking in nu jazz, krautrock, minimal techno, exotica, dubstep and nu disco flavours, but fluorescent-clad kids best head for the front rack of French electro labels.
- 51 Poland Street, W1F 7LZ
- Critics choice
Rapha CC is a cycle clothing shop and café. This flagship Soho store shows that there is much more to the cycling-coffee pairing than a Lance Armstrong-style method of performance enhancement. The café area occupies a little less than half the floor space of this very smart cycle clothing shop, and it provides ample seating for those wanting to rest their feet after patrolling on nearby Regent Street.
- 85 Brewer St, W1F 9ZN
A favourite among Soho’s media types, this Berwick Street store is well stocked with unique buys. The owners head to Austria, Germany and Italy (among other European countries) to source apparel, so items have a fresh feel compared to vintage dens that rely on American and British secondhand. There’s also real attention to detail when it comes to arranging stock: items that work well together are paired on rails.
- 12 Berwick Street, W1F 0PN
Sister Ray is a mecca for Berwick Street's beat obsessives on their lunchbreaks with its flatscreen TV, cutomer turntables and turquoise walls – not to mention hugely broad stock. Much of the music is on vinyl (over 20,000 plates and counting) and the Sister Ray's dedication to back-cataloguing genres like drum'n'bass, gothic and industrial, hip hop (with UK talent well represented) and rock albums puts most megastores to shame.
- 34-35 Berwick Street, W1F 8RP
This stylish sound store in the heart of Soho has universal appeal. Its affiliation with reissue kings Soul Jazz records means its remit is broad. This is especially true on the ground floor (new vinyl and CDs), where grime and dubstep 12-inches jostle for space alongside new wave cosmic disco, electro-indie re-rubs, Nigerian compilations and some electronic madness. A good number of listening posts offer insights into a diverse mix of new releases.
- 7 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DA
The London outpost of New York's legendary skate shop brings together the cult brand's skatewear including apparel, accessories and decks. Ongoing collaborations with musicians, artists and designers ensures Supreme maintains the edgy style it originally made its name with back in 1994.
- 2-3 Peter Street, W1F 0AA
The fixed-wheel cycling scene – or cycling on a bike that has no freewheel so cannot coast – has seen an explosion in popularity and, in response, bike nuts Tokyo Fixed have moved from exporting keirin frames from Tokyo (back in 2007), to opening their two-storey Soho store in 2009. The shop stocks all things fixed-wheel, including frames, wheels, high-end exclusive brands.
- 4 Peter Street, W1F 0AH
You’ll find outdoor-pursuit-inspired, fashion-friendly collections for both men and women at Woolrich. The US label has a long heritage and packs its shooting shirts, hardy parkas and easy-to-wear knits with charming vintage details. It joins a row of high-end high street menswear shops on Brewer Street, including Jack Spade and Wolsey.
- 81 Brewer Street, W1F 9ZN
The flagship of the London label that made us go weak at the wallets for impeccably designed staples. YMC (You Must Create) is the place to head for simple vest top, stylish macs and duffle coats, tasteful knits and on-trend chino-style trousers for women, and a larger range of casual jackets, shirts and T-shirts in pleasing tones, chinos, nicely fitting jeans, shorts and shoes for men and women.
- 11 Poland Street, W1F 8QA