The East London Guide
Hackney, Shoreditch, Spitalfields and Clerkenwell are where the artists, creatives, and designers settled in the late 90’s and began to thrive, making this one of the most exciting places to shop and eat, not to mention people-watch. With the influx of cash from the city bankers, the “Silicon roundabout” gang nearby, and the arrival of the Ace Hotel, though, this area has lost some of its grit of late, with the real hipsters moving out, and pushing the boundaries of cool East London further and further afield.
Ally Capellino9 Calvert Ave., Shoreditch | +44.20.7033.7834
With stores in Portobello and Shoreditch, this perennial brand has endured the decades with its classic, pared down designs for both sexes. Simple totes and cool bike bags are our picks.
Botanique37-39 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell
Flowers in antique glass jars, succulents large and small, steampunk kids clothes, pressed flowers, it all may sound a little Etsy-esque, and well, it is, but it's so well achieved and so aesthetically pleasing that it's hard not to fall for. Botanique, both a florist and a shop for artisan wares, opened up its sprawling, wood-lined space on Exmouth Market in October and already promises to be a fixture on the local craft scene with a series of seasonal workshops for those interested in picking up a few skills.
Botany5 Chatsworth Rd., Hackney | +44.20.3759.8191
Beautifully arranged and sourced by Angela Maynard, an ex-product developer, this is a London green-thumb's dream with ceramics in muted tones, handmade woven baskets, all the succulents you could dream of, and hard-to-find skincare brands. Botany hosts mini gallery openings in the space, too, which is just another great excuse to head there more often.
Canvas Home57 Amwell St., Clerkenwell | +44.20.7833.2000
From the team behind Ochre, makers of objects, lighting, and furniture of pure beauty, Canvas is their showroom for basic household items like serving dishes, utensils, and vases, turned out in muted tones and delicate finishes. After launching first in the US, Canvas has finally opened its doors on a quiet street in East London, a perfect spot for a brand as elegantly understated as this one.
Clerkenwell London155 Farringdon Rd., Clerkenwell | +44.20.3826.1142
This concept store/restaurant/martini bar/wine cave/piano lounge/women's store/men's shop/gallery is pretty jaw-dropping: It does so many things—all in one location—and so well. This shop is a world unto itself, mixing design objects, antiques, fashion magazines, and home accessories high and low in a sprawling space in its namesake neighborhood. You might find a nostalgic and scrappy old pencil case appealingly arranged next to an antique brass protractor, right next to a Palomino pencil. There are also ceramics, glassware, throws, and pillows—all at a surprisingly affordable range of prices (you get the sense that everything here is priced for exactly what its worth and no more). The clothing array revolves around mostly British heritage brands like Olivia Von Halle, Zoe Jordan, J.Lindenberg, Troubador, and more. They're basically out to outfit all the hardcore design types who live in the neighborhood, of which there are many.
Hostem28 Old Nichol St, Shoreditch | +44.20.7739.9733
Winter through summer, the dominating color for men and women in this avant-garde shop is black—all meditated on by forward-thinking designers like Rick Owens, Dries van Noten, Comme de Garçons, P.R. Patterson, and Thom Browne. There's that, and the beautifully pared down, sleek interiors to delight in here, making an artful backdrop to the hand-selected pieces on the rails. Currently housed in a studio a few steps away from their original locale, the revamp will no doubt be something quite spectacular.
House of Hackney131 Shoreditch High St., Shoreditch | +44.20.7739.3901
This brand originally caught our eye with its wry animal print textiles and wallpapers for the home, all made traditionally in sumptuous fabrics, but with a slightly subversive edge. They've now taken their prints and turned them out in clothes, wrapping paper, and more which actually totally works.
Labour & Wait85 Redchurch St., Shoreditch | +44.20.7729.6253
Even the wooden brooms are carefully selected to fit in with the artfully stark aesthetic at Labour and Wait. Come for striped sailing shirts, Japanese enamelware, hand-forged gardening tools, leather satchels, and polka-dot primary-color handkerchiefs. In sum, a slightly random selection of household goods that come together beautifully.
Luna & Curious24-26 Calvert Ave., Shoreditch | +44.20.3222.0034
Run by a collective of designers and craftsmen, Luna & Curious brings together a pretty outstanding (and affordable) assortment of home wares, clothing, toys, and curios made by young, predominantly British makers. Every few weeks, they turn a section of the shop over to a new designer to arrange and display their wares however they'd like; it's always pretty inspiring.
Modern Society33 Redchurch St., Shoreditch | +44.20.7729.0311
Sure, it's a boutique, but this beautiful space is also a really great hangout spot. Stop by for a coffee, peruse their selection of small objects and tabletop goods, have a light lunch meeting at one of their gorgeous green marble tables, or stock up on Etre Cecile t-shirts, Pamela Love jewelry, and the shop's own brand linen shirts. With its laid-back vibe, Modern Society has quickly become a fixture on Redchurch Street, one of East London's coolest shopping drags.
Momosan Shop79a Wilton Way, Hackney | +44.20.7249.4989
Momosan, a teensy, whitewashed space a few doors down from Violet Cakes on the up-and-coming Wilton Way, is a collection of beautiful, useful objects owner Momoko Mizutani has found on her travels. While there is a definite Japanese bent to the look and feel of the delicate glassware, quirky ceramics, and home-y odds and ends, these are her finds from friends across the world. Ceramic mugs by LA artist Peter Shire, London-based Jochen Holz' delicate colorblock glassware, Japanese incense, and more: It's a hodge podge, but a painstakingly edited one—and at great prices—making this an ideal gifting destination.
Monologue93 Redchurch St., Shoreditch | +44.20.7729.0400
Shop owner Pavel Klimzak left an interior design agency to start his store, and he brought many new brands previously undiscovered in the London market with him. Along with more prolific design labels like HAY and Muuto, Pavel is mixing in exclusives from lesser known but equally innovative studios like La Chance and Atipico. We're impressed.
Ochre46-47 Britton St., Clerkenwell | +44.20.7096.7372
Ochre's furniture, custom chandeliers, lighting and accessories add an ethereality and rusticity to any room. They make beautiful pieces in all categories, from small details to the thematic pieces that make a room. The London location is a showroom so be sure to call in advance and visit with an interior designer.
Pentreath & Hall17 Rugby St., Clerkenwell | +44.20.7430.2526
Located in a tiny Victorian shopfront in the heart of Bloomsbury, Pentreath & Hall sells carefully chosen homewares and an ever-changing variety of unusual delights. Many of the objects, like co-owner, Birdie Hall’s decoupage plates, and Eric Ravilious for Wedgewood ceramics, satisfy the "look well under a glass cloche" category requirements. Photo: Simon Bevan
Present140 Shoreditch High St., Shoreditch | +44.20.7033.0500
Walk into this meticulously put together men's store and you'll start wishing you were a guy. Start with an espresso at the coffee bar by the entrance before browsing the internationally sourced assortment of plaid shirts, perfectly masculine totes, puffy fishermen's vests, and suede shoes. There's also an excellent non-apparel section where you'll find made-in-Japan stationery, vintage-inspired grooming staples, and an extensive collection of ashtrays.
SCP135-139 Curtain Rd., Shoreditch | +44.20.7739.1869
SCP works with a closely curated group of designers to manufacture their furniture and home accessories in workshops around the world. Donna Wilson's playful knits get a lot of airtime here, as do designers like Lucy Kurrein, Michael Anastassiades and more. Owner Sheridan Coakley does a lot of travel and always brings back great finds with him. Aside from the high concept furniture, lighting and accessories, this shop is one of the best in town for gifts.The other location is in Notting Hill.
The Goodhood Store151 Curtain Rd., Shoreditch | +44.20.7729.3600
This clothing and lifestyle store has expanded into a new two-story space, which feels like it came straight out of Copenhagen. In this trendy part of town where stores come and go all too often, Goodhood's staying power is due to the owners being, since 2007, arbiters of East London style, constantly refreshing their mix of streetwear essentials from brands like Wood Wood, Nanushka, Peter Jensen, and MM6. Last year, they expanded their concept and went into furnishings, bringing Nordic brands like HAY and Muuto to East London. So popular is their aesthetic that they're now busy helping other companies find their voice through Goodhood's graphic and branding agency.
Town House5 Fournier St., Soho | +44.20.7247.4745
Housed in a historic 18th-century townhouse, this antiques shop looks almost like a storybook rendition of an old London home. It's a great spot not only for antiques but also for discovering new contemporary artists as owner Fiona Atkins has an eye for talent and often hosts gallery shows in the back room. The shop also doubles as a florist, selling bunches made by local talent, Worm, and a wonderful coffee and cake stop in the cozy kitchen downstairs.
Viaduct1-10 Summers St., Clerkenwell | +44.20.7278.8456
The knowledgeable, friendly, and design-obsessed staff at this Viaduct showroom will introduce you to the work of all the up-and-comers, as well as the more established designers on the scene, like Patricia Urquiola and Japer Morrison. If they don't have what you're looking for, they can probably track it down. They're great for outfitting modern offices and much of their stock transitions easily into the modern home. GP's architect Al Martin even used Viaduct for the modern renovation of his London home.