‘Lovely shops’ are everywhere. It used to be that town centers were all about chains. H&M, Costa, Starbucks, Nero, TopShop, another smaller Nero, M&S Simply Food, another smaller Costa… You knew where you were. You could get an overpriced coffee and a tiny Italian biscuit from Nero, a diabolical cotton-mix work shirt from BHS and a bin bag full of water inflated chicken objects from Iceland. Great days.
Now, you can’t move for ‘lovely shops’. You know the sort of thing. Full of crockery that mixes 50s chintz, with a stencil of a gorilla throwing a grenade. Bath robes made of hemp. Faux rococo chairs reupholstered with vintage swimming trunks. Neon fabric cushions, printed with the word ‘neon’. And they’re always full of fucking soaps. Soaps in boxes. Soaps in dishes. Soaps with bits of gravel in. Soaps tied together with soaps.
In every town, right now, someone’s saying, “we’ll just have a quick sit down in Costa… then I must take you to this lovely shop round the corner. You’ll love it, it’s just lovely.” Grrrrrr…. lovely shops. Bloody lovely shops.
Thing is… everything I just wrote is a lie. I like lovely shops. They’re good aren’t they? Much better than Argos or Cash Converters. I went to a couple recently and popped off some snaps with my Jurassic iPhone. Have a look at them. They’re both so bastard lovely you’ll probably start crying.
Bias is on hipster thoroughfare Bellenden Road, in Peckham Rye. It sells rucksacks with bright straps. And other stuff.
The back room’s got a bit of dudegarb. Universal Works and this brand…
… People Tree. I must say, I’d never heard of it. But I don’t mind these pocketed Ts. A bit standard, but the quality’s there. I know. I had a feel. Most importantly, People Tree are all about sustaining the sustainability of sustaining stuff. You know, sticks and grass and that. I don’t know a great deal about their cause, but I assume they’re broadly against nasty people prodding children with swords so they make trainers faster. Or is it something about not filling the clouds with petrol? Either way, I think they’re a good bunch.
It puts the lotion in the basket. Sorry, I didn’t. But I did look at these, they are some emollients and probably hairspray. But like, dude hairspray.
This out of focus shot illustrates Musgo Real. I’ve been thinking about getting some of this. It’s mightily old school aftershave. From when brah stuff was actually called ‘aftershave’. Thing is, it smells like old men. Mixed with oranges. It’s cropping up all over London this Musgo Real. They also bang it out in none-more-heritage homeware store Labour and Wait. Anyway, if you find yourself in the Bellenden Road end of London’s fashionable London, dive into Bias.
And when you’re next in Bath… look up Found. Again, not a massive amount of garbs for the discerning broseph, but, well worth a look if you’re in the market for a Comme des Garcons wallet.
They’ve been acknowledged as being a shop by some magazines.
They do their own totes.
And a bit of YMC and (cough) Penfield.
And some of those screen printed pictures, with slab serif fonts, that looked a bit modern a few years ago.
And some double monk DMs, for quite a hefty hand-written price.
And a magazine about Boris Becker. Sorry, Mr Boris Becker.
Both stores deserve support as examples of people having a go at being the retailers they want to be, during the toughest time in the UK high street’s history. So do pop in. Spend your money in independents. And help keep the creative, the different and even the cookie-cutter-sort-of-a-bit-similar indie alive. Buy their stuff. Spend your money. So I don’t have to. If you mention you read this, they might send me something for free.