Independent Islington

Anyone who has shopped regularly in UK shopping centres and high streets knows all too well that most of them look the same!  But there are plenty of independent shops out there if you know where to look.

Let’s start with Islington, just a quick hop from Kings Cross by bus or tube to the Angel.

The outdoor stalls of Camden Passage Market (Sat and Weds) offer a huge variety if vintage jewellery and clothes. I bought 2 lovely brooches from a friendly stall owner specialising in brooches. She has seen increased interest in brooches in the last couple of weeks. All down to Kate wearing that lovely red brooch the other week, no doubt.

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Next stop “Fat Faced Cat”, my favourite shop of the day.

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This little gem has been here since 2004. It stocks beautiful vintage clothes, shoes and accessories for men and women.  They are all in pristine condition and are presented with lovingly hand-written labels : 1950s pink and black damask evening dress, 1970s black and silver evening bag, 1960s Pierre Cardin turquoise cocktail dress, …  I fell in love with this last one, but sadly it just didn’t fit.  However, the owners had just returned from one of their buying trips to LA and I’ll be back there next week to see what new goodies they have found.

There is another great vintage shop at 6 Charlton Place, just off Camden Passage, called Cloud Cuckoo Land.  It is a fun shop, pretty outside and packed inside with a huge variety of vintage clothes.  The friendly owner is there to give help and advice if requested.  I particularly like the selection of vintage hats and gloves which can be so hard to find.

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I wandered my way happily up Essex Road, stopping to browse along the way, then turned into Cross Street.  “Fentons” in Shilingford St had some unusual pieces. I was very tempted by an unusual grey and yellow silk scarf but, for once, I resisted. “Wild Swans” (54 Cross Street) beckoned me in. A cool Scandinavian-feel, beautifully presented store.  I tried on a few things, but not quite right today.

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However “Spice” shoes (309 Upper Street) had just the thing!  An awful lot of “just the thing” in fact. I came away with a beautiful pair of burgundy and black boots.  As I left, the grey and mustard Coccinelle handbag and the Che Mihara shoes were still calling to me!

Now hunger finally got its way and I settled down to a delicious Eccles cake at a table outside  Euphorium Bakery (202 Upper Street).  Now there is even less chance of me fitting into that vintage Pierre Cardin dress!  Even so, I couldn’t leave without going back in for a sourdough loaf to take home.

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