At the cutting edge of fashion and design, London’s concept stores are a magnet for shoppers on the lookout for unusual finds. A pioneer of the genre, Dover Street Market – opened by Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe in 2004 – has since become an unmissable stop for fashion lovers. In its wake, other concept stores have brought a youthful energy to the shopping experience, thanks to exclusive edits and a sense of playfulness. From underground haunts to forward-thinking hangouts, here are the five key addresses to check out.
This youthful offshoot of design studio Something & Son doubles as a luxury fashion boutique and talent incubator. The Victoria venture’s minimal, industrial-style decor nods to its old life as a garage. Inside you’ll find emerging brands, a dedicated co-working space and, given its remit as a platform for exchange, a programme of regular exhibitions, styling sessions and creative workshops.
There’s no arguing about matters of taste in the case of Alex Eagle, the influential ex-journalist turned founder of this intimate boutique, occupying a Soho apartment. Combining art, furniture and fashion – all selected with Eagle’s aesthete’s eye – it’s just the place to pick up threads by handpicked designers like Isa Arfen and Catherine Quinn, or to find inspiration for your home.
This Shoreditch temple of cool is a major stomping ground for streetwear fans. Its extensive but spot-on selection of labels includes big international names like Vans, alongside English brands such as Folk. The two-storey space also makes room for hot new collaborations plus make-up, toys and the very latest hi-fi equipment. You can stop off for a bite in the café afterwards.
Husband-and-wife founders Emily Dyson and Ian Paley launched this concept store back in 2008, in Notting Hill, as a showcase for their cool, cult aesthetic. Their favourite fashion and homewares are laid out in a warm, welcoming setting, with a focus on indie labels (think LF Markey, Engineered Garments and Hay). Looking for a present? Try their cosy blankets and cute notebooks.
An Edwardian house in Mayfair plays host to chic e-commerce store Matches Fashion’s digital-friendly new boutique. Scan the QR codes on garments to find out more about exclusive collections, order something in your size or let the staff know your preferences. The concept store is also a lifestyle hub with a café, events progamme and recording studio where they turn out their own podcasts.