Six of the Best: London Fashion Areas

by | May 21, 2024 | London, Six Of The Best | 0 comments

Though British people have never, at least on the international stage, enjoyed the same reputation for chic as the French or Italian (indeed, we were sometimes seen as positively dumpy and whey-faced compared to our stylish Continental brethren), London has long been an outlier, a British city with a significant appetite for fashion and enough flair to go with it. It’s a place where many people dress with a flourish, making fashion-forward statements about who and what they are.

  1. What Are The Best Areas in London for Fashion?
  2. Portobello Road Area
  3. Marble Arch/Bond Street Area
  4. Camden Town Area
  5. Savile Row Area
  6. Knightsbridge Area
  7. Hackney Area

What Are The Best Areas in London for Fashion?

Having given the world such vaunted names as the late Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith and Alexander McQueen (though only the last of these actually came from the capital originally), London can hold its own in the world of fashion, whether that’s among people looking for a bespoke suit on Savile Row or yearning for young, experimental fashions in East London or Camden. It would be madness, however, to try to get yourself fully apprised of the city’s entire range of fashion options; better to pare things down to a key handful of essential areas and then work outwards from there.

Portobello Road Area

Friday is the day to check out the street fashions and vintage-wear of Portobello Market, where you’ll also find Edwardiana, Victoriana, hats galore, 1970s-style dresses and military-inspired apparel. You’ll also spot authentic Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Alexander McQueen. When it’s time to accessorise your new look, there are reversible, handmade headbands by Anna P and gold-plated jewellery from ByBarbarella. And once you’re in the area, it makes sense to drop in on Rellik, a hive of vintage fashions (see also, nearby Found & Vision). Both carry a wide array of collectables, including early and mid-period Vivienne Westwood and sought-after 1980s YSL.

And not far off, on Westbourne Grove, there’s a branch of Orlebar Brown – the perfect place for any man looking to achieve the Cary-Grant-in-the-South-of-France summer look. Its beautifully put-together swim shorts, t-shirts and tops will give you that effortless cool in an instant. And you’ve really only scratched the surface of this area, which is home to so many more designers and outlets than mentioned here. You’re just getting started.

Marble Arch/Bond Street Area

Years ago, Selfridges was the poor relation to Harrods and Harvey Nichols, snootily seen as as pretender to their crowns. Not so today. With its dazzlingly creative window displays, Selfridges is a fashion maven’s must-see during any stay in London. It often pushes up-and-coming designers, such as Dilara Findikoglu and Charles Jeffrey, as well as carrying apparel and accessories from long-established names including Westwood, Paul Smith, Acne Studios and The Kooples . Its airy, open spaces make it surprisingly easy to navigate compared to the stuffy, cramped interiors of some department stores. And, if you’re not in the market for high fashion but instead prefer your clothes doughty, old-school and sensible, you’re no great distance from the flagship branches of Marks & Spencer and John Lewis.

From there, you can also explore Bond Street and Mount Street, where you’ll find designers including Simone Rocha, Roksanda, Balenciaga and Scottish designer Christopher Kane. Better yet, many designers have their main HQ/flagships here, so you get the truest, most concentrated sense of their particular visions.

Camden Town Area

For years now, much of Camden Market has been little more than tourist-trapping tat; it has yet to recapture its glory days, but there are signs – in recent years, more indie designers have taken on stalls, so it’s not a totally busted flush. You’ll also browse through the expected punk, goth and rockabilly styles. If you’re in the area, don’t leave before you’ve checked out Cyberdog. This is a palace of UV, neon and electronic rave-wear, with many styles recalling the mid-90s. Everything you’d expect from that description is here: futuristic and space-age apparel and clubbing outfits for many moods. The ambiance is certainly heightened by the podium dancers, strobe lights and insistent music. Before exiting Camden Town, there’s another good stop-off – General Eyewear, where you can buy bespoke and vintage frames for your glasses.

Savile Row Area

This world-famous enclave is where the expense (which is significant) is something you’re willing to endure in order to get real durability and quality, rather than a flashy brand-name. It’s one of the most renowned areas in the world for men’s suits and apparel. And the options aren’t limited to Savile Row itself, but also the neighbouring walkways, including Clifford Street. Wherever you look, there is stylish understatement, not only in the coats, suits and knitwear but also the accessories. If you’ve only time to home in on a few selections, it’s worth considering Connolly for world-class leather, Anderson & Shepard for beautiful knitted pieces and Drake’s (Savile Row is home to the flagship) for accessories and ties. Of course, you’ll also be met by dozens of options for bespoke and made-to-measure suits, for which this area is still the finest on the planet. Some of the well-liked names include Dege & Skinner, Huntsman, Gieves & Hawkes (also supplier of school uniforms for places such as Harrow) and Henry Poole.

Knightsbridge Area

Knightsbridge, which falls within two of the capital’s smartest boroughs (Westminster, Kensington  & Chelsea), is easily among the city’s most luxurious shopping destinations, where you get two world-famous department stores within spitting distance of one another. Harvey Nichols focusses almost exclusively on clothes and accessories and should be top of anyone’s list if they’re on the hunt for shoes (with a refreshingly broad range of price points), while, at Harrods, luxury apparel is just part of the story, and the other departments cover everything from home technology to spa treatments. Once you’re here, you can walk in almost any direction and take almost any side-street, and you’ll bump into more and more high-end fashion, including Lulu Guinness (handbag heaven), Jimmy Choo, Hermès (home of the ultra-desirable £40,000+ birkin bag) and Christian Louboutin. You can also take advantage of more down-to-earth prices at high-street mainstays such as Zara and Reiss.

Hackney Area

What draws fashion lovers to Hackney is some of the vintage-wear available at the popular Paper Dress Vintage – for years, this two-floor shop (with men’s and women’s clothing) was a bit of a local secret, but following glowing write-ups in Time Out and New York magazines, that secret is well and truly out. If you’re looking for gorgeous pieces from the Victorian era through to the 1990s, it has to be on your list. And this shop comes with the added benefit of transforming into a bar at nighttime, sometimes with live music. But the real attractions are the garments and accessories and the fun way they’re presented. More vintage is to be found at nearby Market Cartel, which also sells furniture, homewares and lighting. For lovely coats and knitwear, it’s worth dropping in on Sunspel and for ethically-sourced/made clothing and shoes, the 69B Boutique at Broadway Market is the place to visit.