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London Boutique Clothes Shopping Done Easy

London is a great place to find unique boutique clothes, but it is not the simplest thing to do. Find out the best and easiest places to find United Kingdom brands and designer clothing without aimlessly wondering the streets of London all day.

In 2007, I landed in London’s Heathrow International Airport ready to begin a one year Masters in Finance program at London Business School. I only had two preconceived goals before arriving. First, I needed to earn my degree because tossing away over $100k in student loans would have been dreadful. Second, I wanted to have fun. In all honesty, I would say that earning my degree was my second priority.

I never imagined that I would open an online clothing boutique,>T.I.L. Darling, with my classmate and now girlfriend. We called it our “final project,” but in reality we were pursuing our personal dreams. Being finance students, we did not have any experience starting and operating an apparel store. So, we researched as much as we could. One aspect of our research was sourcing boutique clothing.

I do not claim to be an “insider” when it comes to shopping in London, but I know enough to find uniquely London boutique clothes without aimlessly wandering the streets, which still is not a bad idea when you really want to learn about the city.

Probably the most accessible and convenient place to find boutique clothing is Topshop Oxford Street, which is right in front of the Tube Station. Topshop is a British clothing store chain and its Oxford Street location is said to the the world’s largest fashion store, which also serves as its flagship store. Topshop Oxford Street is very overwhelming, but if you focus on the lowest floor - the basement - you will find the concession brands. Concession brands are not owned by Topshop, but rather a collection of United Kingdom brands and independent designers that Topshop finds special. It is no secret, but>T.I.L. Darling carried a handful of the same brands, such as TFNC and Darimeya. Other brands also include Lipsy, Orion, and Jovonna.

If you are truly looking for London independent designer clothing, then the Laden Showroom on Brick Lane, closest to the Aldgate East Tube Station, should be your main destination. The Laden Showroom was opened in 1999 by siblings Adele and Barry Laden. According to their website, celebrity shoppers include Victoria Beckham, Lisa Tarbuck, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. They carry over 55 independent UK designers, each with their own little section. Without a doubt, if you are looking for truly unique and designer clothing, then Laden Showroom is your one stop shop.

Finally, exploring the open markets during the weekend is a more hectic and exciting way of finding boutique clothing. There are a handful of markets throughout London that I have not visited, but the two that I know of that you will be able to find independent designers showcasing their work is Portabello, near the Notting Hill Tube Station, and Sunday UpMarket, near Aldgate Tube Station. Also close by is Spitafield, as well as the Laden Showroom on Brick Lane.

There are tons of clothes at the markets, but you have to remember that not all of them are not really boutique or designer clothing. This is especially true for Camden, which is still fun to visit. Probably 90 percent of the clothes stalls carry inventory from the wholesale district of Commercial Road in London where they essentially just sell cheap knock-offs of original designs. For the bargain shopper, this is great, but for the boutique and designer shopper, it is not what you want.

The only way to truly tell if the stall is carrying designer clothing is simply by asking the stall owner. The stall owners are usually the designers and will be more than happy to let you know. After a while, you can just tell which stalls are carrying really unique pieces and which ones are carrying “commercial road” goods. These stalls are not easy to findFree Web Content, but of course there is self reward of getting unique almost one of a kind fashion.

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