Now the shops are FINALLY open again, there’s no better time for a satisfying rummage in one of London’s quirky vintage shops. Thankfully, for those who need a little guiding hand, released this week is a gorgeous new book – Vintage Shops London by Michelle Mason (£12.99, published on 22 April 2021, Pimpernel Press), stylist and founder of Mason & Painter in London’s Columbia Road.
Profiling over 50 vintage shops, markets and stalls all over London, this will become your well-thumbed go-to to the capital’s treasure-troves. Taking you behind the scenes, Michelle tells the story of each store, its shopkeepers, their inspiration and what it is best known for. So, if you are tiles from French farmhouses or a 1920s daybed, you will be able to track it down.
There’s something so infectious about searching out – and finding – a real gem (whether it is a reclaimed paint pot or a 1950s cashmere cardigan), and Michelle injects the book with her passion. “Vintage shopping is an antidote to throwaway culture, non-sustainable products and fast-fashion,” she writes. “These small independent business – bricks and mortar vintage shops – represents the real and fun experience of shopping.”
“The enduring beauty of a vintage item – purchased with all its imperfections and age-worn beauty – and the desire to champion independent vintage stores and antique markets are the inspiration behind the book,” she says.
Reclaimed and repurposed objects have the ability to bring to life a whole room, an outfit or just evoke a special feeling. Michelle adds her own inspirational style steal tips and ideas for quick updates for the smallest spaces in your home without spending a huge amount of time or money, and shows how you can recreate your own ‘vintage look’ capturing the spirit of each place.
Organised by geographical area: North, South, East, West and Central & the City, you can discover Alfies Antique Market in west London, Rokit in north London (set up to sell American denim but now full of desirable vintage clothing), or Word on the Water in King’s Cross, plus many more places, many of which you may not previously have heard of. For other places, like the world-famous Portobello Road Market, Michelle will guide you towards the key stalls depending on your interests.
“I hope the book will appeal to everyone interested in interiors, styling, responsible shopping, reclaimed and vintage objects and authentic, beautifully styled shops, and encourage us all to go out and discover these shops with their treasures once we are all able to move freely again.”
Michelle Mason is a designer, shopkeeper and stylist and has worked for a number of clients including Sir John Soane’s Museum shop, the British Library, the National Gallery and the Southbank Centre. She is also cofounder of east London vintage shop Mason & Painter in Columbia Road, home to the weekly Sunday Flower Market. Her first book was Flower Market (Pimpernel, 2019).
Vintage Shops London by Michelle Mason (£12.99, Pimpernel Press, published on 22 April 2021)