When it comes to alternative shopping in London you really are spoilt for choice, with so many areas spread across the city you almost won't know where to start, that's where our alternative shopping guides come in handy. With our second part to our London guide we'll take you to the East side of the city across Shoreditch and Spitalfields for a rather vintage inspired alternative day out.
An area that's become home to a flurry of vintage and alternative shops over the past few years, you may be pleasantly surprised with what you'll find. With plenty of shops, bars and venues to visit, you certainly won't run out of things to do.
A good start as any, is a visit to Spitalfield's, infamous for it's markets which are teaming with vintage finds, it's also home to a great selection of alternative shops that you know and love, and may be pleasantly surprised to find them located nearby to each other. A hop off at Liverpool street takes you to Spitalfields, with the darling Lulu & Lush located on Commercial street, otherwise known as FairyGothMother, this shop is teaming with luscious corsetry, lingerie and gorgeous gowns - Update 2017 - They have now moved their studio to: 8A Evelyn Court, Grinstead Road - by appointment only.
Head up towards the market and you'll find even more shops to visit, Collectif are located just on the edge of the market at Brushfield street with their East end shop, from there take a walk around the market for plenty of vintage finds.
Turning down Hanbury street you'll find more shops to browse, like Absolute vintage and Blitz for even more vintage finds - Note October 2020: Absolute Vintage has now unfortunately closed. Just down on Princelet street is the legendary fetish designers House of harlot if you prefer something a little 'squeakier' for your wardrobe. From there your just a stones throw away from Brick Lane which will lead you up towards Shoreditch. As you wander along the street you'll find the likes of Beyond retro, Rokit and The vintage emporium on Bacon street, which is certainly worth a visit for their vintage tea room.
Then at the top of the street you'll find the infamous Tatty Devine where you'll find an abundance of their kitsch jewellery and accessories. Not too far away from there is a lovely surprise nestled amongst the aisles of Box Park, Playful promises gorgeous vintage and modern styled lingerie and clothing tempts you inside for a rather pleasant surprise - Update 2017 - Playful Promises have now closed their Box Park shop. Speaking of surprises, you may want to venture up towards Calvert avenue to visit Luna and curious, an emporium of delightful finds from anatomy adorned homewares, to Bonnie & Clyde tights and mourning jewellery, you never know what you'll find inside!
If you fancy doing something different you may want to book yourself in for a trim or a colour at Rockalily cuts on Kingsland road, a rockabilly styled hairdressers that certainly knows their classic cuts, if you want the perfect Bettie fringe they can do it for you. - Update 2020 - Rockalily Cuts has now unfortunately closed.
With all that shopping your bound to be parched, the East end is full of plenty of pop up diners and restaurants to visit you'll be spoilt for choice. If you fancy something different yet traditional you may want to pay a visit to Poppies on Hanbury street, a vintage styled fish and chip shop that's choc full of 1940's finds and also makes a rather tasty fish supper. If it's more of a 50's diner that takes your fancy then The love shake on Kingsland road is worth a visit for their boozy shakes and delicious dogs.
For entertainment there's plenty of boozy tipple in the area, with the sultry speak easy The nightjar on City road, and the rather amusingly named Danger of death bar on Brick Lane that are worth a visit - Update 2018 - Danger of Death has now closed.
Mc Queen over on Tabernacle street is a sultry glam rock styled burlesque bar, where you can find a variety of entertainment on, if it's cabaret that you love then you'll want to pay a visit to Shindig a recently new night at Ace Hotel on Shoreditch high street that brings together comedy, performance art & music for one hell of a night, alongside Vogue fabrics on Stoke Newington road that runs regular cabaret nights.
If however all that raucous fun doesn't sound up your street then you may just love to pay a visit to the cutest new addition to Shoreditch, Lady Dinah's cat emporium on Bethnal green road, yes, it's a kitten cafe, prepare to have your heart strings tugged at as you sip on a cuppa surrounded by cats, we can't wait to book ourselves in!
There's certainly plenty of variety across the East end of the city, you never know what you'll find!