I was hopping to the post office on Camden High Street on Tuesday when my attention was caught by a new shop. Given that much of Camden High Street is chain stores + Burger King, my magpie mind was immediately engaged, not least because it actually looked interesting and well-designed, as opposed to yet another knocked up and shopfitted by a blind person number.
Turns out that it is another brilliant endeavour by the Camden Council and Mayor of London funded Camden Collective, to support creative businesses. (You may remember that my old Vogue House colleague Abigail Chisman did a Designer Jumble Sale pop up at at their other store on Camden High Street earlier this year).
The idea is to put Camden Town at the heart of the UK’s creative community, by supporting creative people into employment and into setting up their own businesses. They have three strands: to provide incubation space for creative start-ups supporting business growth in Camden, fellowships to bring together top creative talent to work with established local businesses, and Pop Ups to improve the quality of retailers on the high street by investing in vacant units, turning them into temporary shops before returning them to the market for sale.
There’s a fantastic range of stuff on offer here, from homewares, to jewellery, You can even buy some delicious looking cupcakes inside, as well as a cup of good coffee from this nice man at coffee obsessives Black Sheep Coffee.
I really cannot think of a better place to buy Christmas presents this year, and support small designers in this difficult retail environment. It’s literally a minute from Camden tube, in the first block south just by Pret a Manager, so there’s no effort involved in getting there either.
There are lovely home accessories from bulldogandmoose.com Look! Owls!
You HAVE to talk to the Brookes & Jones cake girls, who are as funny as their cakes are good. (Don’t buy cake from Pret next door, buy it here!)
The English Tee Shop was set up by an English teacher. She used British manufacturers to make her range of Ts, bags and cushions which play on words and English expressions. I love them. theenglishteeshop.com
And I really liked the jewellery and tree decorations by Sian Rookwood of Anathema Designs, who handmakes jewellery from upcycled materials: this beautiful ornament is just £8.
There’s some great, well-priced vintage from LLF Boutique
And Testspace have a fantastic selection of prints, posters, T shirts and more. www.testspace.info