The sinuous, narrow streets and low-slung buildings around Brick Lane in London’s East End were once a part of a rough-and-tumble neighborhood. Nowadays, seedy has given way to charming, as scores of young Londoners gather on the sidewalks or sit on the curbs, happily eating takeout curry from a number of places. Indie rock music wafts through the air, adding to the festive vibe. With its bohemian flair and appealing mix of cultures, Brick Lane and the surrounding streets have become a destination for vintage lovers and trend-seekers alike.
Emin & Paul
Designed locally in Shoreditch, another hip East End neighborhood, the easy, streamlined designs found here owe a strong debt to Korea, where they also happen to be produced. Look for loose, oversize silhouettes in bold stripes and simplified florals as well as airy, summer-fresh pieces in white or shades of palest blue.
44 Hanbury Street; 44-20-7247-6145; eminandpaul.com
A cluster of dealers under a single roof makes for serendipitous vintage shopping of the most delightful kind. Spied on a recent visit: a 1960s cape woven in a vivid diamond pattern of violet, purple and orange; a flower-splotched Jaeger cotton skirt; a fuchsia suede suit from Paris, circa 1990; and bins of old vinyl records.
106 Commercial Street; 44-20-7770-6028; vintage-market.co.uk
Need a pick-me-up after all that shopping? Try Nude Espresso for great coffee and inventive brunch and lunch combos, like the potato rosti topped with smoked salmon; poached egg and dill-infused crème frâiche; or the baked beans topped with a ham hock and a poached egg. Leave room for the house-made scones or the lemon drizzle cake — or both.
26 Hanbury Street; 44-7712-899-335; nudeespresso.com
If all that vintage shopping sparks your creative juices, stop by this spot, where patrons are encouraged to draw and write on the walls downstairs. If you’re inclined to park yourself there with your laptop for a day, two hot drinks and a meal — try the Cheese Toastie with Keen’s Cheddar or Spiced Chickpea with Avocado — will set you back a mere 10 pounds (about $12).
42 Hanbury St.; 44-20-7018-1020; thecanvascafe.org
This mega-dealer emporium offers an appealing mix of old and new. Up front is a bookshop and cafe; beyond are racks of perfectly aged denim cutoff shorts, shearling coats in hues from caramel to chocolate, an extensive selection of 1980s Lycra leggings (including a pair sporting a Froot Loops print) crop tops cunningly fashioned from silk scarves, playsuits, on-trend knife-pleat skirts and enough ties to supply a lifetime of Father’s Day gifts.
55-59 Hanbury Street; 44-20-7377-8828; blitzlondon.co.uk
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