We’ve all heard it – ‘retail is dead’. And it’s not surprising either. Londoners’ lives are busier than ever, whilst precious weekend time is spent brunching, visiting exhibitions and travelling. Brick and mortar stores may well be declining, but concept stores are thriving. A visit to a concept store is an experience; experiential assets and attractive amenities attract shoppers who want more than just an in-and-out shopping trip. Visit one of the best concept stores in London and discover a new way to shop…
London’s Best Concept Stores
John Bell & Croyden
Not your average pharmacy. John Bell & Croyden – renowned as ‘the Queen’s pharmacy’ – has been dubbed ‘the pharmacy of the future’. Pop in for your pharmaceutical products (of which they have over 12,000) and stay for a facial and expert advice from the on-hand nutritionist. John Bell & Croyden, 50-54 Wigmore Street, Marylebone.
This concept store is all about reflecting the creativity of the part of London it resides in, Shoreditch. You can shop ready-to-wear and homeware from a carefully curated selection of brands, enjoy coffee from the café and take part in a range of in-store events which have past included talks from founders of the stocked brands, artistic installations, rum-tasting, and live music nights. Aida, 133 Shoreditch High Street.
The Shop at Bluebird
Having settled into their new home in Covent Garden’s Floral Street, The Shop at Bluebird is thriving once again. Here you can shop, eat at The Bluebird restaurant, delight in beauty treatments from Blink Brow Bar, and enjoy art installations – this foliage-adorned store is a destination in itself. The Shop at Bluebird, Carriage Hall, 29 Floral Street, Covent Garden
Dover Street Market
Dover Street Market is the coolest department store in town. Enter on the ground floor and explore jewellery, then either walk up the wooden spiral staircases to other levels or take the old-school elevator and explore a range of luxury brands, from Comme des Garçons and Gucci, to Bottega Veneta, which are all visually merchandised to look more like displays in art galleries than those of a shop. New spaces are regularly added to the London store, whilst the layout and creative design allows each brand to come to life rather than hang lifeless on a rail. Plus, the Rose Bakery on the top floor offers great coffee and patisserie treats and has an array of independent magazines ready for you to sit back and read and enjoy. The perfectly unique accompaniment to a perfectly unique store. Dover Street Market, 18-22 Haymarket, Mayfair
Couverture & The Garbstore
You’ll find this creative conceptual store situated within a three storey townhouse in the heart of Notting Hill. It’s a place to shop independent homeware, accessories and ready-to-wear brands, alongside other quirky finds, all designed within an open layout which makes the discovery element of this shopping experience so much more interesting. Couverture & The Garbstore, 188 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill
Their flagship store in Shoreditch is the result of a succesful host of pop-up concept stores back in 2013. Modern Society aims to connect with their customers, and their store is a pretty cool and comfortable place to do so, filled with their eponymous, high-quality unisex label amongst many other fashion brands. The space, designed by Trend and Fayre, often hosts art and photography exhibitions, and there is also a café so you can shop and then drop in the delightful comfort of coffee and cake. Modern Society, 33 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch
Whilst slightly off the beaten track, Bonds is well worth a visit. It’s compact and cosy and stocks artisan brands such as Earl of East candles and Austin and Austin organic beauty. It’s minimal without being cold, there’s a café area so you can fuel up whilst perusing the products, and you’ll even be in the presence of art – up the stairs you’ll find the studio space of resident KANA. They also host a range of workshops, from how to make your own candle to Liv & Dom clay classes at their King’s Cross store.