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While New York is at the forefront of all that’s new in fashion, Milan is all about craftsmanship, and Paris will always be the center of haute couture. London, however, seems to embody all of the above. The British capital is a creative hub, home to so many young and talented designers, but it is also the place where heritage houses like Burberry are founded and headquartered, and genius haute couture designers like Alexander McQueen and John Galliano have worked and were educated. And this old-meets-new vibe is very much reflected in the city’s shopping landscape as well.
Department stores like Harrods, Selfridges, and Liberty London are always a good idea. They carry only the best international luxury brands and it’s all under one roof—good option if you’re short on time. If you’d like to explore further what the British capital has to offer in terms of smaller stores and independent brands, then you’re in for a treat as well. Sustainable labels and up-and-coming designers are thriving here.
Keep scrolling for a list of the best places for shopping in London, for everything from tea blends to chocolate, accessories, and vintage haute couture.
Couverture and the Garbstore
Next time you’re in Notting Hill, don’t miss this cool shop, that has become a favorite of London’s fashion and design crowd thanks to its wonderful selection of independent brands, exclusive collaborations, and its in-house menswear label, Garbstore.
Run by husband-wife duo Ian Paley and Emily Dyson, the store’s goal is to promote independent brands from around the globe. The basement is where you’ll find Garbstore’s menswear line (designed by Paley) and the first and second floors are dedicated to womenswear, home accessories and childrens—and baby-wear—something that they’ve become really famous for. 188 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2ES
Amal Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Meghan Markle, and Victoria Beckham have all worn pieces procured by William Vintage.
The store on Marylebone Street spans two floors and only takes customers by appointment only. The owner, William Banks-Blaney, offers a truly exclusive shopping experience (velvet sofas, plush rugs, and high-end chocolate included) for those stepping into his store which specializes in rare haute couture vintage pieces. Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Balenciaga are only a few of the brands you’ll find in William Vintage. Appointments are made via email. 2 Marylebone Street, London W1G 8JQ
English people take tea very seriously so if you’re looking for the best tea blends and “biscuits” in the Kingdom, head straight to Fortnum & Mason on 181 Piccadilly. The store has been at the same location for over 300 years and there’s so much history in it that the company has even hired an in-house archivist. We come here to stock up on their herbal infusions and handmade chocolates, but the company is also very popular for its wicker picnic baskets that you can fill with their delicious jams and sandwiches. Naturally, there’s a tea salon in the department store so you can unwind with a cup of tea after your shopping spree. 181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER
Stepping into this concept store in Camden Passage, Islington feels a bit like visiting someone’s (very stylish and a bit quirky) home—and that someone is Lizzy Evans. Ceramic teapots, bowls, tea towels sporting the store’s hand-printed guinea pig logo are arranged on tables. Notebooks and beautiful stationery are displayed next to potted plants, and richly printed cushions, scented candles, and folded woolen blankets sit atop vintage furniture. And this relaxed, unpretentious vibe is exactly what Evans, an interior and graphic designer, was looking for when she launched the store ten years ago. 13 Camden Passage, London, N1 8EA
Late Night Chameleon Café, or LN-CC, is not your ordinary concept store. There is something incredibly futuristic about it—you are buzzed in inside (or can make an appointment for a personal shopping session), and then you walk through a bright spaceship-like hallway. The 6,000-square-foot store is divided into “product rooms” that are set up as art installations and there is also a gallery, a coffee shop, a bookstore, and an event space on site. The store carries a curated selection of objects, womenswear, and menswear by brands like Rick Owens, Yohji Yamamoto, and Helmut Lang, but you can also spot quite a few up and coming names as well as sustainable labels. The Basement, 18-24 Shacklewell Ln, London E8 2EZ
Once you taste Charbonnel et Walker’s decadent dark chocolates, you’ll understand why London’s aristocracy, and the Queen herself, can’t get enough of them. As one of Britain’s oldest chocolatiers, they are also among the very few that have the official Royal Family stamp of approval aka the Royal Warrant care of Her Majesty The Queen.
The company’s Mayfair store, located inside the Royal Arcade on 28 Old Bond Street, offers a delicious selection of traditional sweets like violet and rose creams, flavored with essential oils, sea salt truffles, chocolate bars, and beautifully packaged gift boxes for any occasion. One, 28 The Royal Arcade, Old Bond St, London W1S 4BT
Floris is one of those heritage British retailers, just like Fortnum & Mason, with hundreds of years of history. Established in 1730, they are actually the oldest fragrance and toiletries producer in Britain and the company is still family-owned by the descendants of its founder, Juan Famenias Floris.
While some companies are lucky to hold a single Royal warrant, Floris has 20, including Perfumers to Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II.
Their flagship store on Jermyn Street is also where Floris develops its new products and fragrances. The retail floor was remodeled in 2017 but it still sports dark hardwood floors and original Spanish mahogany cabinets and glasswork.
Fortunately, the company offers a travel-size range for some of its fragrances so you can pick up a bottle for yourself or a loved one as a souvenir from London. 89 Jermyn St, St. James's, London SW1Y 6JH
Interest in sustainable fashion is on the rise, and companies like Wolf & Badger are leading the way towards a more eco-conscious shopping experience. The company, which started out as a small boutique in London’s Notting Hill, has now expanded and even operates a store in New York, but it is its new flagship in London that puts it on our itinerary.
The 12,000-square-foot, three-story space located in the newly redeveloped Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross is a haven for customers looking to support ethical labels. Inside, you’ll find everything from womenswear and menswear to beauty and home accessories. The store also houses one of this summer’s must-visit eateries in the British capital—hicce x Wolf & Badger.
If you’re after bold, logo-stamped pieces the kind that supermodels would take pictures in for their Instagram feeds, then Mouki Mou is probably not your store. Founder Maria Lemos is not interested in selling you the latest It bag or dress silhouette. Instead, she focuses on well-made timeless pieces in neutral colors or “wardrobe-keepers that can be built upon, rather than things you might discard in six months' time,” as she put it, according to the Financial Times. In short, it’s about quiet, understated luxury.
You may, for example, find a brown V-neck hand-knitted vicuna sweater or a pair of off-white canvas espadrilles. There is definitely a minimalist vibe that both the store and the pieces in it ooze. That’s because Lemos sources a lot of the clothing and lifestyle items from under-the-radar Japanese brands such as 45rpm. Other more familiar names you may spot in the gallery-like store in Marylebone include Ancient Greek Sandals, Rachel Comey, and Zero + Maria Cornejo. 29 Chiltern Street, Marylebone, London W1U 7PL
“Buzz for Entry,” says a sign outside this small jewelry boutique just a short walk away from London Bridge station. Once inside, you realize that these words were not chosen at random. Bees, and nature in general, are somewhat of a theme here. A gold and silver honeybee and daisy locket, bee stud earrings, and a gold textured band with a tiny honeybee engraved on the inside are just a few of the bee-inspired jewelry pieces you can shop here. Having been raised in the English countryside, Alex Monroe designs all of his pieces with “nature and nostalgia” in mind.
We love his designs because while they can be a bit quirky and unconventional, they are extremely delicate and could be worn every day. 37 Snowsfields London SE1 3SU