There's no shortage of new shops popping up all over the capital, but keeping track of them is another matter. That's why we've sought out the best of the bunch so you can spend less time scouring the net and more time browsing the racks.
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London's best new shops and pop-ups
The king of Tottenham Court Road’s decor shops has unveiled an heir to the throne: a fabulous new lighting den in W2. The 200-year-old brand is styling its new branch as a concept store, but much of what’s on offer here – an interior design team, a bespoke joinery service, a vast lighting range – speaks of old-fashioned retail excellence rather than innovation. A glorious art deco cinema building is a fine setting for the stylish store, and it’s an ambitious acquisition in a market where so many are focusing online. That said, we’re told a flash new website will follow too.
On a street populated largely by glass-fronted design agencies and white-washed, sparsely-stocked boutiques, Showroom Shoreditch stands out like a sparkly neon-yellow thumb. A seven-foot, disco-goth coffin looms by the front door. ‘It’s an infinity coffin – it used to be in the Tate,’ explains designer Kelly Jackson, showroom curator and designer behind cool jewellery label Only Child. Her scene-stealing statement baubles lie next to a massive ram’s skull decked out in Hirst-style bling and are fashioned from aqua quartz crystals, those glittering, colourful bits of rock last seen in a museum gift shop. Kelly has selected over thirty established and up-coming brands to sit alongside her own, which share a bold, brash, pop-art aesthetic. There’s printed swimwear from Auria, sequin-drenched separates from Rosa Bloom and mad glittery clutches by Etsy seller Luna on the Moon. It’s catnip for fashion bloggers. If you like your fashion to be tastefully minimalist, neutrally-hued and lacking any art-student fripperies (spoil sport), then look out for the more classic jewellery designs towards the back of the store. But if you’re brave enough to sport a bag shaped like a fried egg, or a dress covered in crocodile eyes, Showroom Shoreditch is the stuff of technicolour dreams.
Hackney Wick, Dalston’s cooler little sister, is home to fast fashion’s new foe, Everything in Colour. When you step inside the shop, you also step into a studio, complete with sewing-machines that are not just there for show. Designers Anna Crawley and Grace Clark (formerly at charity re-fashioners The Fara Workshop) make one-off pieces out of donated or discarded fabrics. They will also be teaching shoppers to do the same at in-store workshops. But the product is cool, not just crafty – their focus is on creating beautiful clothes that just happen to be ethically made, and cheap (from £25) too.
Finally, a store for men who like leather. The accessories label has reworked its original Shorts Gardens shop into a man-focused space. The gentlemen’s-parlour look is a well-trodden path for menswear stores, but the brand’s take is wonderfully wonky, with egg-yolk yellow walls, retro String shelving and a whopping Chesterfield banquette out back. Seeing the full men’s line in one place – beautifully British-made satchels, backpacks and leathery accessories – is proof of how far the brand has come: from founder Julie Deane’s kitchen table in 2008 to snagging a $13 million investment last year. Best in shop? The latest limited-edition Vivienne Westwood satchels.
It’s in E8. It’s a ‘creative space’. It goes without saying that owner Romain Camus has a beard. But he’s a proud champion of gentrification: ‘It can be about creating business and giving back.’ Ethical retailer One Good Deed Today is in a former abandoned office building. In its new guise, as lifestyle store, it’s easy on the eye, all ice-cream colours and shelfie-worthy displays. Camus set up his store after despairing of the waste in the seasonal retail industry (he has worked for brands such as American Apparel and Opening Ceremony). He buys product in small quantities, and it’s all non-seasonal – Pinterest-friendly bamboo toothbrushes by (£5.50), vegan detergents from Walachei (£9.50) and organic cottons by Swedish label The White Briefs (£22). Sound smug? It isn’t – 5 percent of sales go to charity Afghan youth project Skateistan.
When much-loved Soho streetwear hub The Hideout’s closure was swiftly followed by the boarding up of A Bathing Ape a few doors down earlier this year, streetwear aficionados were left bereft. But along came the opening of the Billionaire Boys Club store in Marshall Street, then Palace’s flagship on Brewer Street and now – in the spot once occupied by Bape on Upper James Street – A Number of Names* has arrived. Anon* is the PR and distribution agency run by ex-Duffer of St George buyer Craig Ford, and it represents the aforementioned Bape and BBC brands as well as other premium labels such as Gourmet, Ebbets Field, 6876 and Kinfolk. All are available in the new store alongside exclusive own-brand and collaborative items, with a brightly lit, ultra-minimalist, all-white interior that lets the clothing do the talking. Suddenly, there’s a bit of Soho that’s looking flash again.
The sight of Rihanna sauntering through an airport in a Palace T-shirt a few weeks ago confirmed the style-conscious skater’s worst fears – Palace is becoming… mainstream. Lev Tanju’s bedroom imprint has expanded into an empire of ultra-limited-edition hoodies and T-shirts. The new Soho shop has only a small selection of items, with five racks of T-shirts, sweatshirts, rain jackets and a pile of caps alongside a display of shoes, socks, skateboards and wheels. Prices range from £1 stickers and £12 socks up to £35 T-shirts and £280 signet rings.
The Great Divide is first and foremost a very cool men’s webstore, and this retail space has a failsafe edit of its wider online collection. Think striped Amor Lux T shirts, Red Wing boots, Vans shoes, Penfield jackets and Lee 101s – the modern uniform of most gents in the area. A lot of local chaps like their clothes, but feel genuine terror at the thought of a trip to Oxford Street, so this capsule wardrobe of all-killer-no-filler clobber should fly.
Rather like a posh version of east London's Hackney Shop, RSPV sells designer pieces from seasons of yore with around 80 per cent off their original prices - giving one label a month of exclusive tenure. The elegantly designed boutique is the project of stylist Pippa Vosper, and her own luxury tastes and enviable black book mean a stellar line up of designers are already on the agenda. Currently in store is high-end folky label Vilshenko, whose beautifully embellished maxi dresses start at £140 and reach £400, reduced from £1,400. Hey, we never said it was Poundland.
Tucked under a railway arch, this store has a full page of ticks on the cool boutique hit list – pot plants hiding under terrariums, minimalist wood fittings, and a corrugated metal roof that gives the feel of shopping in a hipster Anderson shelter. Like its Kingsland Road sibling, there’s carefully curated rails of understated designs from brands like YMC, Edwin and Levi’s, with bags and accessories from Sanqvist, Herschel and Nixon. It’s also worth asking the staff about the limited edition drops they have pencilled in the calendar.