It’s common knowledge that London is one of the best shopping destinations in the world, with tourists often flocking to the capital for that sole reason. There’s just so much choice, be it for the high end luxury that lights up sloane street or for the ridiculous amount of vintage stores that possess the likes of brick lane. However with all that choice it’s always hard to narrow down what the best options are, especially if you’re here for a limited time. Well here’s a list of some of my favourite stores that have been leaned out based on experience, the selection and context of the store and how athletically pleasing and generally cool the place is, so here we go!
Dover street market
Probably my favourite store from this list, it combines two of my biggest loves. Insanely cool, aesthetically pleasing store with a both high end and more contemporary brands. After a move at the beginning of the year it now sits in the middle of Trafalgar square and Piccadilly circus station on the corner of Orange street. The new store has a pretty cool background to it, actually being inside a grade 2 listed building that was erected by none other than Burberry founder, Thomas Burberry. All this contributes to the extreme levels that the founder of the store Rei Kawakubo (also founder of Comme Des Garcons) goes to, as he utilises the natural interior of the building to curate different themes and stories that maximise the brands they have on display. The standout for me either has to be the dinosaur inspired Comme des garçons homme selection, purely due to the extreme craziness of it, or the tin-foiled Paul Harden selection which is effectively anti-visual merchandising but works extremely well in some weird and creative way. In terms of the selection of brands it’s insane as you’d expect considering the store is split across 5 floors, ranging from a Gucci curated section to raf and rick, all whilst including everything Comme des garçons you could imagine.
Watch out for – The rose bakery which has a selection of different menus for throughout the week along with the obvious tea and cake. You can get yourself some comme des garçons bakery merch whilst you visit as well!
The store located in the realms of Shoreditch at the back end of old street is more in the list for the vibe and the presentation rather than the depth of the offer, which is still strong to be fair. There’s a strong influence from contemporary brands with Scandi and Japanese culture littered around the store. The specialised and more niche offering allows the store to flourish without taking away from the pieces themselves whilst giving quite a homely feel which is further escalated with commune cafe on the bottom floor. The use of art pieces and the standout but understated feature of the ever-changing slogans on the cinema board are a really cool touch. Brand wise its got your staples with vans and norse projects but also some more left field and fresh like nicholas daley and junya.
Watch out for – Already said it but the cinema board is a really cool look and adds a very homely feel to the store
LN-CC (Late night chameleon Cafe)
Situated in Dalston, East London LN-CC is the epitome of luxury. From the brands on offer to the architecture, all the way to the general feel of exclusivity, everything oozes coolness and class. With brands to rival any store on this list, holding the likes of Gucci, Off-White and Prada it builds a great foundation for the store to build upon. Knowing that the product itself will entice people to come, the store can then focus purely on it’s visual merchandising and ensuring people have the best experience possible, and it 100% does. Not only does the store double up as an art instillation, it also has a library, record store, gallery and even a club up its sleeve to trump pretty much any other brick and mortar store. The aforementioned exclusivity feel is not only down to the luxury brands on offer, it stems from the fact entry is only guaranteed through either a phone or email appointment (you can try your luck for a walk in but it’s literally down to demand!)
Watch out for: Everything – just go. Here’s the details;
Email: email@example.com / Telephone: +(44) (0)203 174 0736 ) / LN-CC, The Basement: 18-24 Shacklewell Lane, Dalston, London. E8 2EZ
Included more in respect for the online offering rather than the store itself, the well renowned ‘wavey garms’ which originally started as a Facebook group actually offers a tangible store! The brand effectively offers a great variety of rare and vintage streetwear pieces dating back often up to 20 years+. The reputation as a vintage retailer in England is close to unmatched and has escalated over the years to the point that they’ve done collabs with the likes of Nike for air max day. With a wide array of brands from the more high end of the scale such as Fendi to classic streetwear like Palace this is a great place to grab your next vintage gem!
Watch out for: Nothing to do with the store but definitely check out their Facebook group before heading there! https://www.facebook.com/groups/waveygarms/
Doesn’t really need much of an explanation. Famous across the world, more brands than I could possibly count and once again presented in a way which keeps you enticed for hours on end. With more contemporary and streetwear gradually creeping into their range by the season the variety is only improving. A store with heritage and is truly the one store that i would genuinely class as a tourist attraction in the UK. As a result i’m going to stop trying to do it justice through words, just pop down to Knightsbridge and see it!
Watch out for: The Louis Vuttion section of the store is really cool, sectioned out into it’s own little store it oozes the brand aesthetic perfectly
Atika (Formerly Blitz)
The 6000 square foot haven for vintage shopping. Again situated in East London next to Brick lane it has everything and more you would need to get your vintage fix. With pieces in the 10’s of thousands there will always be a gem in there, which is definitely not the case for the large majority of thrift stores in London. With a good selection of price points and brands including likes of Burberry and Barbour alongside your classic denim offering with levis and tommy it allows them to then go above and beyond and get some more niche pieces in through likes of Japanese brands alongside a strong workwear offer. With multiple floors including a huge section dedicated to books and accessories the visual merchandising is great, the furniture (all selected from The dog & wardrobe on broadway market) creates a really distinct vibe which you associate with store.
Watch out for: Their selection of Japanese kimonos if you really want to go all out!
I’m yet to visit Browns’ first store to open in 20 years but i’m pretty confident it’ll deserve a place on this list once i have. Located in Shoreditch, hence the ‘East’ part the store looks like it’s covers a couple of floors. The most intriguing part isn’t the stacked about of insane brands they have but the fact it’s implemented some of the ‘store of the future’ features from parent brand Farfetch testings from their stint in the design museum in Kensington. The seeming key take aways i’ve seen from the features listed are workshops, an experience room and the start of augmented retail for farfetch and browns.