It's been a while since I've posted, been a very busy bee lately. I've lived in London for nearly a year now and have to reaffirm the argument that it is the best place to shop in the UK. With so much choice between designer, vintage and even high street the wealth of choice here is immense which makes shopping even more fun. I've found some wee gems along the way whilst living here, pics of these items below, and I thought I would let all you keen beans eager to shop in the capital know where I like to hit up to find some amaze new clothes!
First stop on your London style journey should be Liberty on Great Marlborough Street. An Alice in Wonderland style shop stuffed with designer wonders, this shop isn't for those on a budget but definitely worth a visit if not to touch that amazing Vivienne Westwood dress Nicola Roberts has been donning lately. A great way to inspire you on your shopping trip as to what's hot this season, it's worth visiting for mental style notes and to see the architecture of this beautiful building. A contrast of dark and light beams make you feel as if you're in the the cottage from Hansel and Grettel, however one full of amazing clothes, shoes and handbags. My favourite sections include Christoper Kane, Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and Comme des Garcons. I also particularly enjoy a wee spy at the jewellery department (if you know me, I am a HUGE jewellery fan and advocate of jewellery design talent) If you're lucky, you leave Liberty with a shopping bag of delightful purchases and if not, bucketfuls on inspiration.
Just down the road from Liberty is the smaller Beyond Retro. A great shop, however I would heartily recommend that you visit the Beyond Retro on Cheshire Street, behind Brick Lane. If you know your music, Amy Winehouse filmed an earlier music video outside this store. The reason the East London Beyond Retro is my personal fave is because of its sheer size. It's HUGE. And also has the cutest, friendliest cat on the desk near the till (another obsession of mines - a cat, thank goodness I have a boyfriend). What can I say about Beyond Retro in that a measure of its success as one of the leading vintage shops in London is that it has various stores dotted throughout the city, ensuring that everyone has the chance to get their vintage on. I would dedicate about two hours to this shop as part of the beauty and art of vintage shopping is raking through the rails to find an absolute bargainous beauty. I have to admit, my average Saturday entails going to Brick Lane meeting friends for coffee, then taking a wander round the international food market, going round the book shops and spending the rest of the afternoon in Beyond Retro looking for my Saturday night outfit. A definite 'must do' when you're in London.
Now for those who know me, know that I am NOT a fan of high street. This is for two reasons - firstly, I find high street clothes tend to not last as long as vintage clothes and fall apart at the seams. Secondly, since I was a seven year old and turned up to primary school with the same Tammy glittery cat top on as my classmate, I actually (not exaggerating...) feel sick to the bones when I am wearing the same thing as someone else. In the world of PR I feel it helps to stand out from the crowd so thank goodness my chosen career path accommodates the crazy lady with the red fringed dress and matching hat and lipstick.
When I see girls in with top knots, shorts and leather jackets I think, "Please stay away from Topshop!" However, I'm not dismissing high street - I just think that women need to find a way of wearing the clothes and not letting the clothes wear them. Topshop Unique has some amazing designers on board, and I am a particular fan of the Mary Katrantzou collection, whose work I have loved ever since her beginnings as a designer. Her interiors influenced digital prints make for an interesting and unique approach to your regular silhouettes and definitely warrant a second glance on the street. I also love H&M, their jewellery is amazing - my most recent purchase a pom pom ring for a bargainous 2 quid - trust me, pom poms will be EVERYWHERE this summer.
Ultimately, I think if we as young consumers approach the high street in a different way we will produce a wide range of looks to make us unique - even if we are still donning the same black maxi from Miss Selfridge. Therefore, please do visit Oxford Street, just for a wee nosy around the biggest locations of all the high street stores.
Another tip for a lovely London shopping trip is to go off the beaten track and attend the various pop up shops and markets that appear. My particular favourite is Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair - http://www.judysvintagefair.co.uk. What can I say other than this is what heaven would look like for me. Normally requiring a few pounds entry fee, this is totally worth the money and something I would say is a must-do. And for those wanting to get their vintage on who don't live in London, look out for a vintage fair coming near you.
Another thing that seems to be taking over London is swishing! Defined as ethical fashion, 'rustling from friends' this is a great way to get new clothes - for free! All you need to do is go along to the next swishing night, take along your (clean) unwanted clothes, and swap away. A definite must do when you're in London, however again not to worry as swishing will soon dominate the a post recession UK in a swish! Visit http://swishing.com for more details.
If any of you out there want any more tips or tricks just ask, otherwise as be sure to find even more hints and tips coming your way on this site over the next few months!