Usually when I tell people I’m a retail designer the first question they ask is what are your favourite shops. So today I’m going to tell you exactly that and give you a list of six of my favourite stores in London. And they’re not the most fancy designer ones either (although there are some amazing designer stores in London worth checking out such as Tiffany & Co in Covent Garden), some of them are just your well known high street brands and some are small independent boutiques. But through the way they are designed, their layout, style and vibe as well as the products they are just a joy to shop in.
The first time I saw that H&M were opening their brand new first in the world concept store in Hammersmith I was like: why Hammersmith of all places? Why not Oxford Street or Westfield or another well known flagship destination? Why would anyone choose to trial a new concept in a small and shabby local shopping mall?
Frankly I’m still questioning their reasoning but I’m not the one to complain because this store is amazing and I’m super chuffed to have it litterally two minutes walk from my office. It’s just a beautiful space with stone flooring and plenty of greenery throughout creating an airy courtyard feel. The product displays are well thought out and mix and match homeware, clothing, accessories with pops of plants and cut flowers. There is an embroidery desk, a remake and repair area, self service tills but my favourite is the in store florist. The flowers are super gorgeous and I buy them regularly (currently sporting eucalyptus leaves and delicate white flower bunches in my living room).
I’m biased here because I’m a massive fan of Reserved and probably about three quarters of my wardrobe is by this popular Polish brand. Go check them out yourself, they are awesome! Uniquely in the world of fast fashion, large proportion of their clothes is also made in Europe which is great.
Their London flagship on the most famous shopping street in the city, Oxford Street, opened in on the 6th of September 2017 and it looks fantastic. Angled track lighting with ceiling mounted light boxes really draw you into the store. Store layout is spacious and uncluttered which means you can get an overview of the products straight away and clearly see every item on display. When I visit other Reserved locations in smaller towns in Poland I rarely see things that I like but here I instantly want everything despite the fact that products are generally exactly the same (the flagship does have a couple of exclusive ranges though which are not available in other stores). And this is all because of the layout! It literally makes the clothes jump at you - perfect for browsing and getting inspired.
I’m all for supporting local businesses and I’m incredibly lucky to have such a fantastic family run lifestyle brand right on my doorstep.
Rigby & Mac have three stores in South London but their East Dulwich branch is the one I visit most often. They sell a curated selection of stylish and unique homeware, fashion, jewelerry and gifts, and they also stock Annie Sloan chalk paints for all shabby chic DIY enthusiasts out there. The homeware product displays are arranged by colour which I love (I’d love my home to be so beatufiully and organically colour coordinated without feeling to matchy matchy one day) and I’ve bought numerous pieces here over the years.
I visit this little shop literally every time I’m in Shoreditch. They carry a unique mix of unique home decor (currently with emphasis on palm leaves, gold and wild animals), luxury candles, beautiful stationery, accessories, travel books, etc. They also have a small section with super stylish London themed items if you are visiting the city and looking for a gift or a souvenir that isn’t tacky!
This is a safe bet when looking for birthday cards and original secret Santa gifts too (oops! I might have just accidentally given away my secret, hopefully everyone will forget before December comes haha).
Their Islington flagship store was my lifeline throughout my university years after I was introduced to it by my cousin who was studying design too at the time. It’s a three storey treasure trove of art supplies and stationery with a warehouse like feel to it. Paints, canvas, brushes, sketchbooks, caligraphy inks - you name it they probably have it. Every time I go in there it makes me feel like a proper artist and I get inspired to draw more.
They also host regular workshops on everything from drawing, oil painting and calligraphy to crocheting and macrame.
This is an oasis of refinement and style in the midst of hustle and bustle of Greenwich Market. The store opened last year and stocks unique and ethically sourced homeware, accessories and gift pieces. The displays are gorgeous and I often pop in just to browse and daydream about what my perfect house would look like.
They always have plenty of natural materials like wood and raffia, golden cutlery, concrete flower pots, cosy blankets and dreamy sheepskins. All of my favourite things! The store is divided into areas based on function like dining, living and office. There is also a section with the cutest children stuff.
What’s your favourite store? I’m always excited to hear about new places!