Back in March we brought you some of our favourite fashion boutiques. But it doesn’t stop there! Here’s another round of independent ladies fashion shops in london for you to explore and adore.
What does a two-headed cat have in common with handmade shoes? You’ll find them both in F-Troupe on Marshall Street. That’s probably about it. These miss-matched objects sit alongside display cabinets full of early 1900s painted doll faces, feathery 1950s grouse-foot brooches (much lovelier than they sound) 1890s play bills, a very fashionable stuffed chick, and a huge stained glass window.
When you’ve finished checking out the curios, you can try on some of the coolest British-made shoes in the land; from suede boots made to look like tiger skin, to Harris Tweed wool-and-leather ankle boots and velvet ladies’ ballet slippers. F-Troupe specializes in shoes for those who build their outfits from the bottom up.
Yes, you can buy them in other stockists, but a visit to the F-Troupe store is a must for anyone who wants to rediscover the happy bit of shopping. It’s British eccentric at prices that won’t make you weep. And the Anglo-Japanese staff takes service to levels unheard of in the rest of W1.
How good does it feel to buy London designs? Very good, especially when the prices are as cool as the items.
Hub stocks local and international small designers at decent prices, and their sales are full of bargains. Simple, clean styling and really helpful, chilled out staff is the recipe at the two Stoke Newington shops. Men – pick up your lined leather Box satchels, Jacey Withers chains, and ace Yarn ties at number 88. Ladies – it’s all about delicate coral and metalwork jewellery, Shoreditch-made soft leather bags and clutches at number 49.
Both stores also carry the Hub Accessories line of hardworking but smooth leather belts, and contemporary designer clothes. If you’re keen on shop appearances, then you’ll also appreciate the vintage trunks, clothes rails and glass cabinets used for display. Plus it makes a good change to walk into a fashion store and see the owner teaching her teenage son how to work out receipts.
Who needs the sweet shop when you’ve got Creative Beadcraft? For crystals, semiprecious stones, metal and ceramic beads that look good enough to eat, Creative Beadcraft is the place. Even those with zero patience for making things will feel inspired by the visual feast on offer in this colourful shop.
Be your own stylist and get new ideas from some of the samples on display – whether you want to embellish a dress or hat, create your own necklaces and earrings, or decorate a room or table for a special occasion.
There are jewellery-making courses in-store throughout the year, from Beginner Level to Multi-Strand Wire Flower Necklaces, at £25 per person. For the experts, there’s an entire back wall of jewellery findings, plus pliers, braided wire, Swarovski pendants and flat backs, Czech fire-polished beads and Japanese Matsuno beads. If you keep losing earring backs or breaking clasps, then this is where you can pick up a bag of replacements cheaply. And if you’re desperately seeking a good birthday present for a pre-teen, the shop’s jewellery-making kits are your solution.
The East End Thrift Store
The East End Thrift Store is a Tower Hamlets legend. A good one. If you needed to, you could buy a complete outfit here every day of the week and still walk away with change.
Ok, it’s more secondhand than ‘vintage’, but the prices are too good to miss. Suede cropped jackets start from £2 and leather or chain belts from £4. There is a good range of 1960s-style prom dresses, starting from £7, and more Hawaiian shirts than you could imagine. You can find anything from T-shirts to wear while repainting walls, to classic evening dresses. Yes, you need to dig a bit, but the rails are pretty tidy so it’s not difficult to find treats.
If there was a prize for best use of warehouse space, this shop would definitely be in the running. First, it is vast enough that it will never be at risk of getting stuffy, which is always a plus when shopping. Second, all the rails are made old piping and scaffolding, adding to its recycled theme. The music comes from old school floor-stand speakers mounted horizontally at ceiling height – smart and cheap. There are also workstations for hemming and fixing items, so pieces can be mended when necessary. An absolute winner.
It’s brightly lit, has three big changing rooms, plenty of large mirrors, and carries vintage designer goods from names you have heard of – and admire.
It could be that Reign Wear was designed to be so tidy and calming in order to prevent viciousness between customers laying claim to the perfect pair of Sergio Rossi heels, or that gorgeous cream Escada jacket. Being in the heart of Soho means that items like pure wool, silk- paneled tuxedo jackets with tails go quickly. However, there is a high chance of finding something equally good on the next rail, whether it’s a pair of 1960s sunglasses or a leather clutch that will impress even the most discerning of fashion fiends.
Apparently most of the clothing is sourced in Germany. This explains the European brands focus and the higher cool quotient of the 80s stuff in the basement. Cool for me anyway, maybe Germany is importing English vintage…
Mudfoot & Scruff
Aside from the name, Mudfoot & Scruff is a surprise on two fronts. First, it sells pretty and reasonably priced designer shoes for both women and kids. Second, this one-stop-shoe-shop for mothers carries sizes you won’t find in most other places. For anyone looking for size 35s or 42s, this is a stop you should make.
Worked leather styles feature a lot, whether Latitude Femme cut-out boots or Fly London Mary Janes. They also stock lovely gladiator sandals in summer that don’t look like ancient bits of leather rope. Kids get Camper and Jelly shoes, again at reasonable prices. Service is very friendly and a cool display set-up makes good use of the small space. Everyone in the store seems to be a multi-repeat customer, and will openly tell you which ones are their favourites. Mudfoot allegedly beats Bicester Village for choice, but I’ll leave it up to you to find out the truth on that one.
Walking into Tracey Neuls is going to be your Alice Through the Looking Glass moment. Shoes in bright pink patent, coral lace, sunny yellow and white leather float at eye level or sit in easy reach around a shop layout that gets regular redesigns. The aim is to let you see every bit of every shoe without having to ask someone to haul them out of the backroom. Aesthetically pleasing, yes, but it’s also a powerful sales technique. In fact, you’ll want to handle every piece in this shop.
Materials include wood, soft leather, cord and lace, all put together by hand in Italy from Tracey’s models. Remember, when you walk out of here, that the shoes you have bought are little works of art. Thankfully, they are works of art with leather soles that you can wear hard. The lace-ups definitely withstand treks through parks and down London streets. Perhaps best of all, they are super-comfortable. Free from bad stitching and hard bits. TN-29 shoes are not just pretty faces.
Two points: the shoes fit a bit small, which is great for people with little feet as they are highly likely to find a pair; and the sales are definitely worthwhile if you’re watching the bank balance.