With London Fashion Week starting today through to the 22nd of September, we've tailor-made a list of designer boutiques in the capital's vanguard of artisanal fashion: the East End. There's a lottery of homegrown talent making headway on the scene, so we've also picked out a standout British name currently stocked in each store, with some of the fashionistas even based in the E postcode area themselves: from a men's shoemaker to a 3D printed jewellery company, take your pick...
96 Kingsland Road, E2 8DP | www.urbanexcess.com
The stuff that Pinterest boards are made of, Article Store is an eye-catcher - no less because the streetwear concession resides in a row of Vietnamese restaurants on Kingsland Road. The shop window's clean and neat aesthetic teases the cool kids on the block off of the pavement and into a parallel world of contemporary underground apparel, mainly for men in their 20s, 30s and 40s though there are bits and bobs for everyone. Essentially a showroom for founder Phil Stace's web brand, Urban Excess, it stocks a range of exclusive labels at varying budgets from Carhartt shirts and Sandqvist backpacks to Adidas trackies and Grenson shoes, offering the best in brand spanking new design and ace re-issues.
With its sister store based in South London, it's no surprise the eccentric Brixton features on Article's shelves, keeping noggins bang on trend with a spectrum of classic vintage hats such as felt trilbys with red tipped feathers, flat caps and beanies. Perfect for the upcoming season.
Luna & Curious
24-26 Calvert Ave, E2 7JP | www.lunaandcurious.com
While the cavalry hustles into Luna & Curious, they catwalk out thanks to a 'cornucopia of fine jewellery, ceramics, fashion, statio' put together by a collective of three young creatives - Polly George, Kaoru Parry and Rheanna Lingham. In 2006 they decided to put their heads together and open up this joint retail space; a independent mini department store filled with a curated selection of niche brands including their own individual labels, all quintessentially made right here in the UK. With provenance and handmade at the heart of the experience, this wonderland of shopping encompasses womenswear, homeware such as ceramics and accessories like jewellery to name a few - at surprisingly affordable prices. Located in 19th century social housing development, Boundary Estate, the boutique's industrial brick facade (and some wood panelling) hide a warm and friendly shop floor within, which is taken over by emerging designers once a month in themed events promoting the fresh, inspired and creative.
'Behind every product is a story, whether it be about the maker, the material or the process,' states the Luna & Curious website: Japanese Aya Nakagawa, founder of knitware product Colenimo, puts the narrative of her ascent as a fashion designer down to the local vibe. "Something about London makes things seem possible, the attitude towards start-ups is much more positive here," she says in The Holborn magazine, having brought her love of traditional fabrics, strong women, modern shapes and vintage details across seas to Boundary Street where she sketches, sources and produces her collections here in Britain.
41—43 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ | www.hostem.co.uk
The brainchild of James Brown, Hostem is a luxe menswear boutique on forever chic Redchurch Street. Planned, spec'd out and brought to life by JAMESPLUMB, the space won the top retail prize at the World Architecture Awards when it first opened, and the interior is still as compelling as ever with a low lit radiance that accentuates vintag materials and distressed furnishings. A distinctive collection that continuously reclaims current trends makes this a cult destination for style-savvy gentlemen, who desire clothing that homogenises the urban, haute couture and avant garde - with everything from silhouette cut trousers to soft touch cashmeres available.
Ensuring its clientele walk the walk, Hostem even houses bespoke shoemakers such as Sebastian Tarek; an Australian craftsman working out of a dark, dingy workshop in Shoreditch. He is a master at what he does, making footwear for the last two remaining members of the West End Master Boot Makers society - the folk who've been providing the Royal Court and co with the soles on their feet since the 19th Century. Having inherited a family legacy in the trade with an ancestor who carried out the same exact occupation in the 18th century, he moulds quality English shoes with his bare hands and a deep understanding of heritage; threaded into each hand stitched detail, manually constructed form and oak bark tanned piece of leather.
190 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6HU | www.glassworks-studios.com
Pitched right in the eye of the Shoreditch style storm on Shoreditch High Street, Glassworks Studio represents the area’s hip stylistic values with perfection. Originally an online shop, it came into physical form as a temporary pop-up and has never looked back - moving north with the hipster migration to Dalston with what is now the company's second permanent location. Back to the flagship, industrial touches of exposed brink and burnished steel complement rail upon rail of smart/casual womenswear brands, including Glasswork's own trademark, Kason’s big bobble hats and IRO jeans.
Local design start-up Wonderluk is the most recent addition; its space-age geometric 3D printed jewellery is the centre piece of the store's display, making a brave, bold and futuristic statement for all to see - jewellery is art you can wear.
4 Hollywell Lane, EC2A 3E2 | www.celestineeleven.com
Celestine Eleven can be found on a quieter street at the bottom of the Shoreditch Triangle, where punters can be forgiven for mistaking it for a slick interior design showroom or über cool cafe - it does serve coffee and have an in-house holistic centre after all. Once refreshments have been sipped and shoulders rubbed, there is an exciting list of mainly high-end womenswear designers to peruse (from BLK DNM jeans to Golden Bear belts), along with literary and apothecary products. The modular interior boasts a balance of clean minimalism and rustic edge that almost justifies the boutique price tags.
From Northern Ireland, Menswear Designer of the Year 2014, J.W. Anderson, can be found here - with each of his pieces providing a ‘modern interpretation of masculinity and femininity by creating thought-provoking silhouettes through a conscious cross-pollination between menswear and womenswear elements.’ The iconic style of right now is monochrome tailored pieces coupled with bold printed fabrics, so his collection truly hits a sweet note.