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London Calling City Guide

Camden Town Shopping

You could easily spend a small fortune in London shopping (and I very well may have over the years). Whatever you’re looking for, London will have several of it. From expansive Flagship Stores to small independent shops and markets of all sorts the city is a shoppers dream.

If you know what you like be it vintage, books or some killer Vivienne Westwood – do your research before you go and make a list! Even better, go download the Yelp app if you have a smart phone. Yelp is an incredible community powered by user submitted reviews on pretty much anything in a given city.

The awarded star ratings are a good indicator of whether a place is yay or nay, and generally the reviews are pretty fair (and some simply hilarious!) Additionally, you can bookmark things you want to check out and still access your list and map of where stuff is even when if you have your data roaming or wifi turned off.

Below is a list of a few of my favourite shops to hit whenever I’m back in London. It’s a bit of a mix, so check these places out or get inspired to make your own list. And if you have any tips for me as to great shopping finds in London I’d love to hear them!

Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet Storm Troopers Forbidden Planet Geek HeavenPhotos: Danie Ware & Sébastien Cevey

Forbidden Planet is the world’s largest and best-known science fiction, fantasy and cult entertainment retailer and the largest UK stockist of the latest comics and graphic novels.” The London Megastore for this fantastic retailer is located on Shaftsbury Avenue near Tottenham Court Road. If you like Sci-Fi, Fantasy, or anything even remotely geeky you’ll want to make a beeline for Forbidden Planet. With an excellent selection of books, comics, merch and more, they often have really cool events and in store signings too.

Tatty Devine

Tatty Divine, London, UKPhoto: Marie Guillaumet

Oh my goodness do I love Tatty Devine! This often imitated store sells original laser cut jewellery in perspex and other sorts of materials. You can create your own as well or choose from their various lines. They often collaborate with other artists, designers or bands (such as Robots in Disguise) to create some really unique pieces. Bright, bold and fun. Tatty Devine’s jewellery are pop statement pieces to accessorize your look. With two locations in London (Brick Lane and Monmouth Street) for you to shop at.

Vivien of Holloway

Vivien of HollowayPhoto: Stephanie Chapman

If you love vintage but get frustrated when you find something you adore but it’s nowhere near your size or wish you could have several of the same beautifully cut frock, then you need to check out Vivien of Holloway, nearest tube store Holloway Road on the Piccadilly Line. Whether you consider yourself a Rockabilly or just love the era, Vivien of Holloway will sweep you off your feet with their fantastic collection of 40′s and 50′s style clothing, all new and made with period inspired fabrics and cuts “slightly adapted from genuine vintage styles”.

What Katie Did

What Katie Did, London, UKPhoto: Francisco Huguenin-Virchaux Uhlfelde

Following on in a similar vein, if you’re going to buy a stunning dress from Vivien of Holloway, you *need* to have equally fabulous underpinnings! Ladies, if you want some killer vintage inspired lingerie or stockings, What Katie Did will quickly sort you out. Their London Boutique is currently located on Portobello Road. I’ve been a long time fan of this store, and have some stunning pieces from here including a to die for 10 strap garter belt (hubba hubba!) The quality is superb and will make you feel like a starlet of old.

Snarl Hair Design

Snarl Hair for A is For ArsenicPhoto: Snarl Hair for A is For Arsenic, photography by Melissa Jenkins

Based in North London, and with over 11 years of experience, Ceri of Snarl Hair Design has done the best of them from rock stars to brides to ballet dancers (and even me!) I love this girl, and obviously am totally biased given she’s a good friend of mine. With that said I wouldn’t sing her praises if it didn’t warrant it. She’s an incredible award-winning hairdresser, specializing in extensions, wigs and vintage hair styling.

Angel Emma

Snarl Hair & Angel EmmaPhoto: Snarl Hair & Angel Emma

Emma of Angel Emma has over 21 years of experience in hairdressing (though to look at her you’d wonder where she’s hidden the fountain of youth in her flat if that’s the case!) Amazing hair, for amazing people – she specializes in human hair extensions and is an approved Cinderella Hair extensions stylist. She also does a mean Brazilian Smoothing Treatment, making the most unruly, unhappy hair silky smooth and lush to the touch. She’s like a sister to me and a dear friend. I can attest to her skills as over the years I have been absolutely spoilt by her and Ceri doing my hair. From extensions to smoothing treatments, colour and cuts these two North London ladies are the crème de la crème of hairdressing.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood London Ok, I could never afford anything in here, but that doesn’t stop a girl from looking! And with the flagship in London on Conduit St this is simply a must if you love Westwood.

Sister Ray

Sister Ray LondonPhoto: Jurriaan Persyn

Vinyl seeker? Oh man, you are in for a treat and a very, very heavy suitcase to lug back home after your trip. Berwick Street in Soho is home to several excellent record shops. I have to say Sister Ray is my favourite of the Soho bunch (c’mon, named after a Velvet Underground song for the win!)

Rough Trade

Rough Trade LondonPhoto: Jason Paris

Brilliant record label and shops. Such a cool, cool place with in-store events and gigs happening all the time. I am truly saddened to be so far away from Rough Trade now (though I’m certainly not knocking the ace record shops of Toronto!). Rough Trade have two locations, their Flagship in Brick Lane and their original shop from back in the day near Portobello Road.

The Great Frog

The Great Frog LondonPhoto: The Great Frog London

Incredible Rock n’ Roll jewellery from the Great Frog in Carnaby Street. If you love silver, hand crafted jewellery with edge, The Great Frog is a must. Their client list includes Rock & Roll elite such as Motorhead, the Who, the Beatles and Iggy Pop just to name a few.

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In addition these chains have massive Flagship stores on Oxford Street: Top Shop, River Island, Muji, H&M, Zara.

And for some excellent markets where you’ll be sure of some unusual finds, vintage, and more head to: Greenwich MarketPortobello Market and Camden Market

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