A mistress of reinvention with all the style of an urbanite Dorian Gray, Shoreditch - home to contemporary art galleries, design studios and clubs never loses its appeal. A design megawatt with the gravitational pull of all things cool, it has long been the haven of the in-crowd. Regardless of whether you see it as over-subscribed or zeitgeist gauge, Shoreditch with its gritty edge and in-your-face personality remains home to some of London's most exciting independent stores and trends.
Start your walk at Rivington Street (at the corner of Shoreditch High Street) for some of the best street art in London, a reminder of how this inner city neighbourhood has retained its street credentials by flaunting irreverence in the face of gentrification. Continue all the way until you reach Shoreditch High Street to sample pure E1 design. The trio of House of Hackney, Present and Aida typifies the new Hackney – uber stylish with an eclectic mashing of influences and blending of styles that you’re unlikely to find elsewhere.
Cross the road at Calvert Avenue. On your way to Boundary Gardens, you’ll walk past one of Hackney’s great landmarks –Syd’s Coffee Stall established in 1919 and still run by Syd's family as well as Paper and Cup -a not for profit café created by the Spitalfields Crypt Trust (a local charity @PaperAndCup). At no 17 is Leila’s Shop (@Leilas_Shop). More larder than shop, it offers an enticing array of fresh produce, cheeses, deli good and teas and coffees. On a Saturday morning, you’re likely to find a food producer – on this Saturday, Basque cheese was being showcased. Next door is the very popular café with the same name.
Opposite Leila’s is Curious and Luna known for its eclectic array of home wares (@lunaandcurious). Run by a design collective, L&C has a reputation for showcasing emerging British designers. Their store features a gallery space, with current resident Barry the Barber enjoying the reputation of offering one of the wet shaves in London. Be sure to walk around Boundary Gardens to appreciate the architecture of the housing estates and the local vegetable garden created by the children of Virginia Primary School.
Take the shortcut down Boundary Street to Red Church, one of Shoreditch’s most interesting streets. Long-time resident Albion continues its enthusiastic cheer of "Rule Britannia" with its true British larder - you find Battenberg Cake, Yorkshire game, Climpson & Sons coffee as well as Eton mess and Apple Crumble Montezuma chocolate to name a few. Opposite is 7 Upholstery, a traditional upholster using modern design and traditional fabrics.
At no.85, bower birds Hassan Abdullah and Michel Lasserre have reinvented their design store as a café Tres Garcons Masons. The home wares are still there as are the highly desirable vintage handbags. Further along at no.52 is new comer Burro 3 Salvia Pastifico (@BurroSalvia). One of the few food artisan producers in the area; its arrival heralds a new side to Shoreditch known more for its restaurants and bars than food producers. The design element is clearly there but the fresh pasta is the star of the show. You can watch it being made before sitting down to lunch to sample. Pasta Convivium are held each month.
At no 77 is CaféAnd, a design concept store and café called the Kitchen (@CAFEAND). Here’s you discover wild herbs picked by foragers as well as other Greek food products. Simplicity is taken to new heights in its design with a highly select offering of home wares and an enticing menu prepared on site and when available, fresh organic produce from Growing Community (@growcomm).
At no 85, Labour and Wait offers traditional home wares – all beautifully crafted and a joy to own (@LabourandWait). Continue walking towards Brick Lane. If a caffeine fix is in order, stop by Allpress Expresso’s whole in the wall - La Marocozzo. Brick Lane deserves its own food walk with its array of vintage shops, Saturday street sellers, and traditional Indian supermarkets. The only place that we will pause is the Biegel Bakery - place an order for smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel and New York cheesecake. Remember, the line moves fast and hesitant orders are not tolerated!
Back along Bethnal Green Road, watch out for BoxPark with its line-up of both pop-up and permanent stores. Look down Ebor Street – home to the private members club Shoreditch House for those in the know but for the rest of us access is limited to more street art.
For the more literary, stop by Artwords Bookshop back on Rivington Street (no. 65a) for those hard-to-find journals. Another great book store is at number 3, Material Gallery and Bookshop (@materialgallery). Take a detour down Curtin Street for the design store SCP – this long-term resident of Shoreditch is one of the UK’s most (as well as internationally) respected manufacturers and suppliers of contemporary design, a real icon and champion of functional and beautiful design.
Complete your walk at TokyoBike, at 87-89 Tabernacle Street. Started in Japan, this store will satisfy any biking enthusiastic but for those with a design heart, you’ll find the small selection of Japanese home ware more than satisfying.
Brick Lane Beigel Bakery, 159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB. Tel. 020 7729 0616
BoxPark, 2-4 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6GY. Tel. 0207 033 2899
CafeAnd, 77 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ. Tel: 020 3487 0980
Syd's Coffee Stall, Corner of Calvert Avenue and Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JN. Tel 020 8346 476
Allpress Cafe, 58 Redchurch Street, E2 7DP. Tel. 0207 749 1780
Paper & Cup, 18 Calvert Street, E2 7JP. tel. 0207 749 1780
Albion, 2-4 Boundary Street, E2 7DD. Tel. 020 7729 1051
Leila’s Shop, 17 Calvert Avenue, E2 7JP. Tel. 020 7729 9789
Burro 3 Salvia Pastifico, 52 Redchurch Street, E2 7DP, Tel. 020 7739 4429
Maison Trois Garcons, 45 Redchurch St, E2 7DJ. Tel. 0203 370 7761
Milk, 118 1/2 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JN. Tel. 020 7729 9880
SCP, 135-139 Curtain Road, EC2A 3BX Tel. 020 7739 1869
Labour and Wait, 85 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ. Tel. 020 7729 6253
Luna & Curious, 24- 26 Calvert Avenue, E2 7JP. Tel. 020 3222 0034
House of Hackney, 131 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE, Tel. 020 7739 3257
Aida, 133 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE. Tel. 020 7739 2811
Present.com, 140 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE. Tel. 020 7033 0500
Tokyobike, 87-89 Tabernacle Street, EC2A 4BA. Tel. 020 7251 6842
Artwords Bookshop, 69 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY. Tel. 020 7729 2000
Present, 140 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE, UK. Tel. 020 7033 0500
Material Gallery and Bookshop, 3 Rivington Street, EC2A 3DT. Tel. 020 7739 1900