In the world’s most fashionable cities, there are a handful of streets with truly distinctive style credentials – and London is no exception. While Oxford Street is a high-street fashion lover’s dream, and Mayfair is home to luxurious Mount Street and Bond Street, London’s fashion and arts scene is seeing a new name come to the fore: Redchurch Street, in the city’s edgy East End.
Then and now
The street has a long and fascinating history. It began life as a narrow lane connecting Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, but by the late 17th century, the first residences had been built along its length. A surge in development in the 1730s produced terraced houses for workers from the city’s thriving silk and garment industries, some of which survive to this day. Since then Redchurch Street has seen lows and highs, but its more recent reinvention as the epicentre of east London’s modern art and design scene has put it firmly in the spotlight again for all the right reasons.
The street has been home to some of the most prominent names of the celebrated Young British Artists movement – both Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas worked here during the early 1990s – as well as a canvas for some of the most innovative and eye-catching street art in the city. Not just artists but all manner of creatives have flocked to the area, including those in fashion, an echo of Redchurch Street’s silk-weaving origins. Nowadays the street is famous for hosting one of London’s best selections of cutting-edge international fashion brands and local labels.
The latest labels
Redchurch Street is a great place to discover new names. To the western end of the street, French fashion label APC and multi-brand store Aimé bring their own brands of minimalist Parisian chic to east London. Nearby is Swedish denim expert Nudie Jeans, as well as British heritage label Sunspel, one of the best brands for luxury basics. The area has begun to attract some of the world’s biggest brands, too. Italian label Versus, the directional offshoot of fashion behemoth Versace, recently opened a store on Redchurch Street, while American fashion giant J Crew opened a new men’s store on the street late last year. Such is the influx of international big brands that commentators have described Redchurch Street as ‘the East End’s Bond Street’, and ‘the most fashionable street in London’.
Conceptual multi-brand boutique Hostem opened its doors on the street six years ago and has since become something of a Redchurch Street icon. Stocking some of the best in innovative international brands and directional labels, including Comme des Garçons, Dries Van Noten and Loewe, the store – in temporary headquarters on nearby Old Nichol Street for summer 2016 – is a firm favourite among London’s fashion elite, while Tracey Neuls’ eponymous boutique stocks some of most distinctive contemporary footwear in London.
While the incredible array of fashion on offer is impossible to ignore, shopping isn’t the only thing for which Redchurch Street is becoming known. Beauty parlours and barbers are also making their mark on the street. A firm favourite of the city’s best groomed gentlemen, Murdock moved into the street four years ago and offers a range of services for men, from haircuts to beard reshaping and manicures. The Painted Lady, a vintage-themed beauty parlour, offers a range of 60s and 70s-inspired hair and make-up packages, while Barber & Parlour combines a vast array of both men’s and women’s services in its refurbished warehouse space on the corner of Redchurch Street and Club Row.
Take a break
Aside from fashion and beauty, Redchurch Street has coffee shops and cafés that are some of the most popular in east London, thanks to their focus on artisanal coffee and relaxed good food. Among them is Allpress, which is known for its ethically sourced producer-to-roastery coffee beans. Another place to linger is Albion, one of the city’s most popular brunch spots.
Whether it’s the draw of pampering beauty parlours and barbers, some of east London’s best coffee shops or the eclectic mix of international and home-grown fashion talent, it’s impossible to resist the allure of Redchurch Street. And with more arrivals due this year, its new-found status as one of the best shopping streets in London seems certain to endure.