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Shopping Areas

May 23, 2010

Over the weekend, my friends and I spent a lot of free time doing what we do best. Shopping. I can safely say that we’ve mastered the Tube system – we know every single stop, where to transfer, and what stores are where. I’m studying fashion, so I HAVE to shop as much as possible, right?

Anyways, since we shopped so much, we encountered a number of different shopping areas in London. Each of these were unique in terms of the people, stores, atmosphere, and basic presentation of “fashion.”

Mayfair
If you’re looking to spend thousands of pounds on the highest designer names, Mayfair is the place to be. The streets are lined with all the usuals – Louis Vuitton, D&G, Jimmy Choo, Armani, etc. Apparently, it’s where most celebrities shop in London, so we had our eyes open for Jude Law or Sienna Miller. Didn’t see them. Bond Street is the central street in this area and has the most expensive stores.There is a small block of stores called Savile Row that’s famous for ridiculously expensive suits, and a small tunnel called the Burlington Arcade is lined with some of the most beautiful jewelery displays I’ve ever seen.


The customers were all very high class, high income adults, on their phones, walking fast from store to store. They were usually shopping alone or in couples. Nobody was in a group like we were, so we stood out a little. There were a lot of businessmen walking around, along with fashionable women carrying usually one or two shopping bags. Everyone seemed to fit the atmosphere of the upper-scale shopping area.
Brick Lane

Brick Lane is an area of London that has a lot of small stores and restaurants. There is one large covered market with sale rack after sale rack of clothes, but besides that the area consisted of mostly boutiques. The boutiques are small, intimate, and quieter than larger stores. There aren’t many clothing pieces in these boutiques, and what they do have is usually fairly expensive. There are one or two salespeople and they usually don’t interact with the customers very much.

The customers in Brick Lane were really unique. There’s no possible way to generalize their style because everyone was wearing their own individual style. Some people were dressed conservatively, others outrageously. I guess if I had to pick a very broad term to describe them with, I would say that Americans would classify these people as “hipsters.” A reoccurring theme among these customers were skinny jeans, colored tights, and anything else that would go against the “norm.” These people were shopping alone or in couples, or else sitting and eating with a large group of friends. They were walking slowly, usually carrying one shopping bag, and talking to their friends instead of focusing on getting to the next store as fast as possible.

Antique Store

The vintage store in Brick Lane that we went to was similar to what I might expect to find in America. Lots of dusty not-for-sale items hanging on the wall, clothing that I would never buy, and shoes/bags/other small accessories that I might consider buying. I actually bought a purse there. The store was large, open, and quiet. The salesperson sat at the register and didn’t interact with the customers.

The customers at this store were the same as those of Brick Lane, except a little older and a little more “vintage” looking themselves. While we were in there, there were a few elderly people and a few people my age wearing very unique clothes. They were all quiet, shopping alone, and slowly walking around while browsing through the items. Most of them did not buy anything.

Harrods

Way too much to type in a small paragraph. My whole next blog post is about this beautiful store. Basically, it’s my new favorite place in the entire world.

TopShop


TopShop is also up there in my list of new favorite places. It’s basically a Forever 21 on steroids. Five floors of thousands and thousands of clothes (women’s, men’s), bags, sunglasses, shoes, make-up, jewelery, everything. It’s almost overwhelming being in that store. There are different sections in the store feauturing different styles of clothes – vintage, grungy, sporty, summer, etc. Kate Moss even designed a whole line for TopShop. The clothes are moderately priced – usually 25-40 pounds for a shirt. It’s not as cheap as Forever 21, but it’s definitely better quality and WAY more things to choose from.

The customers in TopShop were young, trendy, busy, and definitely in the mood to shop. A lot. They were shopping in two’s or three’s, always chatting with their friends, and grabbing as many items as possible. They spent a lot of time in the dressing rooms, and every five seconds a “HEY COME OUT AND TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS SKIRT” would resonate through the room. They were all dressed in cute, trendy outfits and definitely looked like they were loyal customers of TopShop.

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