WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT LONDON’S NEWBURGH QUARTER
CREATIVE ONE-OFF CONCEPT STORES AND INDEPENDENT MENSWEAR LABELS SET ON HISTORIC COBBLED STREETS
Situated just behind Carnaby Street, in the midst of bustling central London, you can find the historic cobbled streets of the Newburgh Quarter. Whilst it might not be one of the most recognised shopping locations of the capital, it deserves more attention due to the calibre of stores and cafes/restaurants on offer. Quite often Carnaby Street can be intimidating, with the number of tourists passing through to Oxford Circus - in search of mainstream high-street stores - so if you are in search of something more unique and individual, you must take a diversion to the Newburgh Quarter. Here you can find one-off concept and independent stores, as well as creative menswear labels.
I was invited down to the Newburgh Quarter to take a look around these stores and speak to some of their owners, managers and sales assistants. From asking them about the area, one of the resounding comments is that there is a real sense of community between them all. As they are all aware, it is not the easiest of areas to attract heavy footfall, however through their product knowledge and passion for their brands, this is a great place to speak to people who know what they are talking about. There are some fantastic brands in the Newburgh Quarter, with some of them being their only European flagships, so it is definitely worth investigating.
Department of Coffee and Social Affairs
This is the perfect place to stop off for your daily caffeine fix and take a break from the hustle and bustle. The staff here are extremely knowledgeable about the handpicked unique coffees that have been sourced for their cafes. As well as their coffee, they have a wide range of delicious baked goods on offer and fresh sandwiches for a quick lunchtime pick-me-up. If you wish to take your coffee needs one step further, Department of Coffee and Social Affairs host a variety of Coffee School classes. If you aren't a coffee drinker it is still a lovely place to sit and catch up with a colleague downstairs, over a nice cup of fresh mint tea.
Levi's Vintage Clothing
This is the only store in Europe that solely sells the vintage collections from Levi's. If you love heritage pieces and are an admirer of the history behind Levi's, there is nothing you can't love about this store. It is the place to find a pair of classic 501s or an authentic replica of an original design. There is a lifetime guarantee on their denim jeans so you can return them here for holes and tears to be fixed. At the moment, the store is featuring a truly unique item. Back in 2016 Levi's had the incredible opportunity at a Christie's auction, to buy back a piece of history: the Menlo Cossack jacket worn by Albert Einstein. Levi's have gone on to recreate this jacket in 100% sheep leather and it even comes with a bottle of Einstein's tobacco infused scent. Only 500 were created, so this is quite a collectable item and worthy of a trip to the store.
C.P. Company's original designs were inspired by military and workwear clothing. Still to this day, with their history dating back to the early 70s, their clothes remain very much influenced by the same themes, as well as using innovative fabrics and dying techniques. C.P. Company are especially well known for their goggle jacket which features goggle sockets on the hood of their outerwear pieces. The original explorer jackets, designed in 1987, had the lenses sewn into the fabric at eye level (but these were eventually moved into the hood) and a lens also built into the sleeve, with the idea of explorers being able to look at their watches without having to alter the jacket. A stand out piece for next season is the Pro-Tek Goggle Utility Anorak jacket as well as their 3 button Lycra Stretch blazers.
Billionaire Boys Club
Tucked away at the back of the Newburgh Quarter on Marshall Street, you can find cult brand, Billionaire Boys Club. This is the European flagship store for Pharrell Williams and Nigo's (founder of BAPE) American and Japanese inspired streetwear, as well as their unique ICECREAM collections. The brand has created a huge following over the years and with this store producing some exclusive items, there is no wonder queues can be found lining the street during a launch. One of their most recent launches is a collaboration with Alpha Industries for a reversible orange NASA bomber jacket. The store carries some classic items which are repeated each season but it is the more unique items, such as their printed hoodies, which draw in the crowds. There are some exciting collaborations and launches in the pipeline for this store, so make sure you keep up to date with their news.
Oi Polloi may be one of Manchester's finest boutiques but taking up a location in London, in 2015, has also made them possibly one of the best curated menswear stores in the capital. The owners continue to focus on providing their customers with some (around forty) of the best sports, casual and workwear brands including; Patagonia, Margaret Howell, Our Legacy, Engineered Garments and Tender. This might be a paired down version of their original Manchester store but they have cleverly chosen products for the fashion savvy but understated London man. This independent store does exactly what it says on the tin - well in the window to be exact - "We sell good clothes".
The M3 shirt from Fred Perry still to this day remains their best-selling item. It was designed and worn by the man himself and although was originally designed with sport in mind, it can be found in many peoples’ wardrobes as a staple item. The small but stylish Fred Perry store on Newburgh Street is the place to pick up the new season colours. You can also find their full Laurel Wreath collection as well as the extremely popular collaboration with (one of my own personal favourite designers) Belgian born Raf Simons. This season he has focused on youth culture and reinvented the classic T-shirt, polo and sweatshirt with a boxier fit. He has also added an industrial feel with vinyl tape detailing.
After running a couple of pop-up shops in the nearby area, M.C. Overalls took up their first permanent residence in the Newburgh Quarter, just last year. The brand dates back to 1908 but was re-established in 2017. The store is quite unique in that everything is done in-house and the owner even encourages loyal customers to go downstairs to their showroom - to take a sneak peek at the following seasons collections. By doing this it gives the customers the feeling of being more involved with the brand and also it gives the owner, James, a good idea of which items will draw the most attention in store. I love the minimal and clean-cut designs of this workwear brand. They are probably most well known for their cotton overalls, however the collection extends to extremely versatile workwear jackets, bonded jersey hoodies, slim denim jeans and staple cotton T-shirts. For next season, expect similar styles with some bold colours to brighten up the spring/summer months, as well as some amazing reflective pieces.
This Washington based brand has two stores in the Newburgh Quarter, one directly across from the other. At No.13 you can find their apparel shop, whereas at No.9 they only sell their luggage and other accessories. Filson's focus is to produce high quality classic and durable menswear, especially their outdoor wear and Tin Cloth pieces. Although Filson don't tend to have frequent seasonal collections, new additions to their stores include an extremely useful 'rolling duffle' bag and a Swiftwater Rainshell jacket. This waterproof is ultra-lightweight, as well as breathable, making it perfect for a weekend trip.
The Shinola flagship store on the corner of Newburgh Street and Fourbert's Place is impressive and perfectly displays their beautifully crafted products. This Detroit brand are widely known for their watches and leather goods, however Shinola has many strings to its bow and have even designed turn tables. Soon to be added to the collection are their own headphones. The Guardian 41.5mm is one of their newer timepieces - in a rounded square shape - which is a more casual take on their classic style. In store, you can create your own style of watch with straps in various different colours and fabrics. Their super soft Navigator leather brief cases and weekend bags are certainly worth considering if you are looking for travel luggage. Some price points might be high in Shinola but the quality and style of their items make them worth every penny.
If you love to enjoy a glass of wine at the end of a working day, Antidote is the ideal place to relax whilst making some new discoveries. This cosy wine bar, situated at 12 Newburgh Street, has an extensive menu of organic and biodynamic wines sourced from small growers in France as well as a few other European wineries. It was here that I tried my first glass of Orange wine (Radikon - 2015 Venezia Giulla "Slatnik") which was extremely intense in flavour but surprisingly delicious! If you aren't a wine connoisseur, just ask one of the friendly bar staff who will happily help you. Antidote have just started 'Crazy Mondays' where you can buy a bottle of wine, from a selected seasonal list, all at wine shop price. If you need something to soak up the wine, you don't need to move far as there is a lovely restaurant upstairs too.
Mushroom, truffle and Parmesan dumplings may not be a typical Asian dish but I cannot recommend them highly enough! The Ugly Dumpling has taken residence in the tiny spot that used to belong to Pitt Cue, on the corner of Newburgh Street. Although the restaurant is small, their menu is packed full of flavour with some more traditional than others. You can feast on classic morsels such as pork belly, roast duck or prawn and chive dumplings, accompanied by delicious sides such as tempura aubergine and shredded broccoli with almond slaw. To finish the meal, you must try one of their sweet dumplings: blueberry with creme fraiche or apple pie. The restaurant aims to provide 'world finest ingredient-led dumplings' and with their innovative creations and seasonal produce they might just achieve this. Plus, the service is excellent too.
Finlay & Co
The first flagship store from Finlay & Co opened in October last year on Broadwick Street. Fresh on the Newburgh Quarter scene, this smart concept store is the place to find that cool new pair of sunglasses to take you into spring. Cleverly organised by shape and style, you can try on Finlay's own Italian acetate collections, sat amongst other favourite independent brands such as Cutler & Gross, Grey Ant, Wires and Prizm. You can even take a selfie in their in-store photo booth to make sure they are the perfect fit. The store also offers eye tests for spectacles and contact lenses with their own qualified optometrists.