On Sunday I left for London and here’s what I did on day one. I woke up early and left well on time to catch a train to the airport. I had checked whether trains were going and all seemed well, until I got to the train station. There had been a fire in the train station tunnel and no trains were going for a while. I got on the first train that left and after an uneventful journey I arrived at the airport well in time.
After a slightly delayed flight and another train into the city I arrived at my hotel around 1.30 PM. I freshened up and got reorganized in my room and set out into town right away. I took the underground to Liverpool Street Station where I grabbed a bite to eat and started walking towards Spital Fields Market and the Old Truman Brewery in East London (near Brick Lane). I knew there would be some markets there and Rough Trade East is located there as well so I was hoping to hit up all those places while walking around.
The weather was luckily perfect for walking and browsing around. It got a bit cold at times, but plenty of the markets aren’t exactly outside. Most of the markets are in these big halls so there is a roof over your head and it only got cold when I got anywhere near the exit.
The first stop was Old Spital Fields Market. It is a market where you can buy some edgier items than at your average highstreet store. You could compare it to a festival fair or a goods market. I already knew it wouldn’t be packing many vintage stores as the vintage scene moved a bit further east, but I thought it would be worth having a browse. Around the market there are some other regular stores and there are also food stalls in case you get hungry. After buying the most delicious donut ever (covered in icing with coconut sprinkles and filled with jam) and browsing all the stalls I set off towards Old Truman Brewery.
East London is littered with old vacant factory buildings and it is here that you will find a lively community of vintage and edgy clothes, mingled with the occasional places selling music and food. Old Truman Brewery is one of those vacant factory buildings and on Sundays there is a large market with a good section of vintage to go around as well. It was quite busy, but the vibe was really cool. There was music playing and tons of young people going about trying on sunglasses or the odd sweater. Where Spital Fields was littered with tourists I felt Old Truman Brewery had much more of a local feel to it. Me likes!
I browsed around for a bit and bought a great navy blue woolen sweater. I then set out around the back of the store and quickly found what I came for: Rough Trade East. It was busy but it’s a cool place. If you like your music on vinyl then this is your place to be. Unfortunately for me, one album I really wanted had sold out and the other artist they had never heard of so I think I’ll have to hit up HMV afterall. It is still a cool store though with many in store live performances happening and they are stocking tons of artists and music styles that are not main stream so it was interesting to see.
Since I had now seen the things I came to see I decided to just walk around and see what I found. I quickly walked into Hanbury Street where I found some amazing vintage clothing shops. One was called Absolute Vintage which was exactly like what you would expect from a vintage store: walls lined with shoes, everything organized somewhat by color and that musty smell that comes with most vintage stores. I didn’t end up buying anything but it is still a great shop to have a look at when you’re there.
I then walked out and was handed a pamphlet for another vintage shop called Blitz. And OMG: it’s the BEST vintage shop ever. It is very well organized. It actually looks like a very comfortable store with soft lighting and all the items look pristine and the prices aren’t too high. They even had a sale going on in the downstairs area and I picked up a few things from there. I will make a shoplog once I get home so I will show you what I got later.
By this time I was quite hungry and I went into an Indian curry house and had real Indian curry for the first time in forever. Last time I had any Indian food was when I was at William and Mary and that was 2005. It was really good and after feeling full and content I headed back to my hotel and watched some TV before going to bed.
All in all, I think the first day was a good one. East London is definitely a place I can recommend to anyone interested in fashion/ clothes and just overall quirky items. The minute you cross Commercial Street the scene becomes more local and less touristy and that adds to a great vibe plus there are plenty of food places to keep you well fed.