Sunday, 15 March 2015

Design Journal: Brick Lane


So whilst I was at home/feeling ill, I also managed to go into London to do some vintage browsing. I love going to Brick Lane as it's not that far from home, and there's great places to eat, and I love looking at the clothes despite not being able to fit into 99% of it. I really wanted to go and have a look around to see if I could find anything that might inspire my designs, especially as I feel that's where my customer would ideally shop if vintage clothes were bigger.

Unfortunately, I found it a bit of a disappointing trip. I don't know if it's because we went on a Saturday, so it was busier and all the nice clothes may have gone quicker? Or because Brick Lane is so well known and popular now that the nicer clothes tend to disappear quicker in general? And maybe lesser known vintage shops would actually be a better place to shop? I also found that despite being vintage, some of it wasn't vintage, and although vintage doesn't follow trends- all the shops definitely were. The biggest trend in Shoreditch at the moment seems to be the 80's Prince of Belair jackets/shirts, and the same old cut-off levi jeans that have stuck around for the past few years. (I find it's very samey) It was basically a sort of grungey/quirky Urban Outfitters 80's/90's vibe, which as much as I appreciate that look - it's not really what I'm interested in. I came across one vintage store dedicated to 40's and 50s fashion, but there wasn't anything that excited me inside, plus they charged 10 times the price as other shops. I was hoping to come away with either images, or an actual garment regardless of size, or maybe some authentic dress making patterns. Here are some very few images of things I found interesting: 

Beyond Retro advertising their shop around the corner. I wish all adverts could be vintage!
These two aren't vintage, they're both modern. I just love the print of this dress, and the felt flowers on these berets.

These are vintage. I'm loving the colour yellow at the moment, but I also like the scalloping down the front placket. The green and white dress looks very 60's to me, not 100% my thing but I like the colour blocking and the striking green.
This was the 1940's/50's shop. I do like the dresses in the window, and they were probably the best - hence why they're on display. I particularly like the check dress and is similarly to some of the things I have been researching, such as the Horrocks dresses.
I always love any dungaree dresses, despite not really liking denim. I love this yellow dress - I like the print for some reason despite it kinda looking 70's. But I also like the pussy bow top half, not keen on drop waist though.

Despite not finding anything too interesting, I still had a good day and I think at least I now know that Shoreditch is not the place for 1950's clothing. I would quite like to go visit Portobello Road to do some more research, as I haven't been there in a year. And I've been told there's a few vintage shops here in Nottingham too. If you have any suggestions of good vintage shops, particularly 1950's clothing, in or out of London, I would love to hear them?

So I did end up buying 3 scarves from Brick Lane because I liked the print and colour, and they were going cheap. (pictured above) I also recently bought Betty Magazine from online, and wanted to share it with you. I'm (obviously) interested in vintage, and how it mixes with modern society, and this magazine sort of has a perfect balance. That probably makes no sense whatsoever, but if you like what I like, then you will like this magazine. It features designers I like, such as VivettaOrla Kiely, who both have that vintage, feminine aesthetic. As well as recipes, interviews, playlists etc. I found it very interesting, and the covers are pretty to look at. I feel it's a magazine my customer would enjoy too.
I also recently bought Vintage Life Magazine which is a monthly magazine. Again it's about living a vintage life in a modern society but in a much more obvious way than Betty magazine (which is more subtle). This magazine is packed full of interesting people, brands, houses etc. I liked the fact it goes beyond fashion and looks at every aspect of life, which I have found really useful for my work. I'm actually tempted to subscribe to this magazine. It's so weird because I haven't really read any magazines in years because I stopped enjoying them. I've never really enjoyed the cheap fashion mags, or even the high-end ones like Vogue, but it's probably because I needed to be reading more 'alternative' mags like these.

I have actually recently been looking through Vogues from the 1950's in my uni library, and they are so amazing. If only Vogue was like that today! I will probably do a whole different blog post on the things I have found in authentic vintage magazines. But anyway, can you suggest any magazines that may be interesting for me to read?



  1. I love brick lane! ah I loved this post, it's so much fun seeing what you've been up to hehe!