The fashion in Brick Lane and Spitalfields is vibrant, ever changing, ever drawing on its rich past, with a history going back to the 18c Huguenot silk weavers, waves of 19c Jewish tailors and cloth sellers, Bangladeshi and Pakistani leather workers, some of whom still sell their jackets today. You can find fabulous African-Dutch wax cottons in Petticoat Lane, plus all kinds of inventive, cutting-edge designs in Spitalfields Market – often sold by the designers themselves, who have to shoo away employees from major brands aiming to rip off their ideas. You will find rare and beautiful things at some of the most reasonable prices in London.
And then there’s the vintage. We curate the shopping for you, helping you find the best on offer in an area heaving with vintage shops of widely different ranges of quality, design and style. We can hunt out particular kinds of vintage or we can dip and dive our way through an incredible range, from last decade’s streetwear to last century’s elegance or psychedelic mania. There is truly so much for everyone in this vintage world, providing remarkable opportunities to the development of personal style.
On this tour, the vintage shopping is well seasoned with a feeling for the past, as we make the old brick buildings release their ghosts. We take you back in time to when a gentlewoman could sketch flowers in a nearby field and intermingle them with her drawings of foreign plants to create the very latest in silk textile designs; to when journeymen weavers rioted violently against their masters, resulting in mob murder and hangings. We imagine life as a seamstress in a busy clothes factory, the low wages, long hours, the great sense of camaraderie.
This area has known tremendous poverty, and it has built strong communities around efforts just to keep the poorest alive and clothed and fed. Second-hand clothes have pretty much always been on offer, but now, in the massive range of shops and market stalls, they are being turned into new art forms. Just to see what’s happening is a thrill.
Excellent food and drink (optional)
Where does the experience start?
Duration: 5 hours
Duration: 9 hours
Tour only for £50 per person
If you don't have the time or inclination for food and drink, then we can give you a private tour lasting 2 to 4 hours for £50 per person. When you book, you can decide the length. Also, for two or more students, we offer a discounted tour for £30 per person. Simply specify that you are a student when you book.
"We return to London every December and for some while we return to Cindy -- to learn lots of things about London, fashion and how to meet people from all over this town.
Brick Lane has been our 4th tour with Cindy - as interesting and astonishing in detail as all the others. Just go and have fun with Cindy." Ulrike Breyha, Vienna
Curated by Cindy Lawford and Fashion Tours London
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