Eight unique fashion stores in Coal Drops Yard

by Lauren Bravo, The Guardian

In a world of homogenous high streets, relentless online trading and soulless, could-be-anywhere shopping centres, Coal Drops Yard promises a unique retail experience.

Built in the industrial revolution, the Victorian brick viaducts that comprise the exterior of Coal Drops Yard have seen plenty of change in their time. Once the heartland of London’s rave scene, they’re now home to new boutiques and flagship stores. With a focus on craftsmanship, sustainability and conscious consumption, you’ll find design that challenges the status quo and products made to last. From fancy pants to unisex streetwear, sun-drenched LA style to seriously chic wet weather gear, here are eight stores you’ll definitely want to drop into – and dwell.

Beija London
Founded by sisters Abbie Miranda and Mazie Fisher, Beija London is on a mission to revolutionise the way we buy underwear and swimwear. Every elegant, sculptural design comes in three sizing categories, from wire-free bralettes to full support, created to fit and celebrate AA-G cup sizes without ever compromising on style. Having gathered a cult online following, the brand’s first bricks and mortar store is as coolly minimalist as its lingerie, with abundant greenery and plenty of space for fittings. In fact, Beija’s approach is such a breath of fresh air that it almost feels as good as taking your bra off at the end of a long day. Almost.

18montrose
With a roll call of labels including Stone Island, Maison Margiela, Rick Owens, Yeezy and Alexander Wang, concept store 18montrose is leading the way in unisex design. Technically, Coal Drops Yard is its third UK outlet (the boutique retailer also has stores in Glasgow and Nottingham), but this is their only London presence, and with more than 450 sq m of space, this is a temple to contemporary streetwear that goes way beyond the hype. The perfect place to get your kicks, and everything else that goes with them.

Form&Thread
Ethical, sustainable, sewed by fairly-paid workers in Portugal and packaged in biodegradable materials, everything at Form&Thread is transparent. Except the clothes. Favouring quality fabrics and muted colours, this understated menswear label creates beautifully timeless pieces; think mid-weight cotton twill shirts with off-centre buttons and oversized chest pockets, classic tapered chinos, and discreetly textured socks, all in earthy tones such as brick, pebble, olive and navy.

Lavenham
Lavenham has come a long way. Born in the Suffolk town of the same name, this thoroughly British brand has been making quilted gilets and jackets since 1969. The swinging 60s might be long gone, but this premium outerwear has stood the test of time. Whether you’re after an ironic city twist on rural style or just something warm and stylish to walk the dog in, all emphasis here is on quality, comfort and durability. They even offer a repairs service.

LPOL
Wife and husband team Katy Bell and John Maskell graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2006, so it’s fitting that their shop and studio is now based in Coal Drops Yard, only a stone’s throw from the world-famous art school. LPOL’s sleek totes, rucksacks and satchels are all crafted with a zero-waste philosophy; every scrap of leather is reused to make prototypes, wallets or bag tags. The brand name stands for Lost Property of London – although you won’t want to lose yours.

Outsiders Store
As the name suggests, Outsiders Store wants to keep you warm and dry when you’re outside. Stocking some of the biggest and coolest names in adventure wear, from pastel Patagonia anoraks to Blundstone boots and portable coffee makers, it’s a one-stop shop for happy campers, urban hikers and all that lies between. While the first Outsiders Store opened in Liverpool, the Coal Drops Yard boutique finds the retailer a second site in the heart of the capital, and home to a beautifully curated selection that’ll have even the most fashion-devoted Londoner yearning for a style excursion beyond zone five.

Twiin
If you’ve ever crushed on that photo of Farrah Fawcett on a skateboard, Twiin is a must-visit. London’s first LA-inspired concept store, influenced by similarities between the two cities’ style tribes (we’re flattered), the store stocks a mix of luxe contemporary and vintage pieces. While the furnishings are mid-century, the ethos is pure 2019: socially-conscious brands, golden lighting and Instagram opportunities all over the shop. Even a little rain can’t kill the vibe.

Wolf & Badger
Since launching in 2010, Wolf & Badger has established itself as a leading global online marketplace for independent brands. Wolf & Badger’s Coal Drops Yard store is an exciting physical space to shop, swoon and find inspiration – boasting more than 600 independent brands with an eye for design. One of Coal Drops Yard’s largest stores (you’ll have to go all the way to New York for another outpost), this light-filled emporium has three floors of fashion, homeware, beauty and jewellery, as well as an in-store florist, a Raw Press juice bar and a restaurant, hicce – former Murano head chef Pip Lacey’s new outing – to replenish you for another trying-on session. If this is the future of department stores, we’re happy to be served.

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