In one of the classic cases of 'small world' syndrome, I recently rediscovered a good friend of mine who I went to school with when I was growing up in Cyprus. Penelope Sacorafou has now set up Fox and Squirrel with her colleague JoJo Provatidou and a team of art and fashion experts. The company provides a great blog and specifically tailored, themed walks around some of London's hidden gems. You fill out a form before your walk so that its specifically suited to you and your group.
I was lucky enough to go on one of the Fox and Squirrel fashion walks last week, led by stylist Jojo Provatidou. We began by exploring some of the oldest streets in East London where the French Huganoughts set up their silk weaving industry.In these streets so rich with fashion history, we visited fashion boutiques like Keep Zero Gravity, stocking unique designers alongside changing window displays designed by local artists.Its these independent London stores that make East London such a rich hunting ground for those after cutting edge fashion, be it vintage or designer.
The next stop I got really excited about was 123 Bethnal Green road- a venue I'd visited for the launch of Amelia's magazine in their basement tearoom, where they now sell all sorts of delights, from locally sourced honey to vintage crockery.
The shop stocks a host of brilliant British designers, all of whom make their clothes here in London. From interior designs like cushions made from vintage materials, to crockery made by Carrie of Guts for Garters, up and coming ethical designers like Ada Zanditon and Goodone, and beautifully presented jewellery.
Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately for my bank account..)my boyfriend still dresses like a 14 year old boy, so I have done little research into good shops for menswear.If I had a stylish male friend to shop for, then a store we were introduced to on our walk would be my first stop. Hostem is however, much more than just a store.The fixtures and fittings are works of art themselves, and the back room is constantly transformed by different designers. During Design Week it was even turned into a 'one room hotel' by husband and wife duo James Plumb, with a four poster bed made out of an old wardrobe.
The final stop was a real show-stopper; the new, appointment only store from LN-CC.This is retail at its most futuristic, an online site with a unique London store available for visits, anytime of day or night.Curated by an incredibly qualified team of buyers, the fashion, books and records available are all that bit different, all the sort of thing you might choose for someone who already has everything, and so is only interested in the truly original and unique.The space is something wonderful; my friend Gisele has written a really beautiful post about the store here with much better pictures than mine. The venue also has a back room for parties and events with a state of the art sound system and even its own tattoo artist. This is all in answer to the public's desire for something more than the average shopping experience-if you can stay home and shop online, there's got to be more to entice you out than what you find in your average high street store. And Fox and Squirrel can show you some of the places to get that little bit extra.