A sartorial East-meets-West romance
The East has become the new West. Even the classic city banker with speed dial access to ‘members only’ clubs secretly wants a peek-a-boo into this fascinating area which blatantly is coolness personified. Shoreditch is no longer an oasis for fashion nonconformists; it has now become home to a new breed of hipsters who incorporate a sense of demure refinement into their attire, along with a sense of discernment.
A walk down Kingsland road is itself an experience, with such distinctive local scenesters who herald trends you probably won’t come across in glossy magazines and glitzy campaigns. It might only take you three minutes and forty two seconds to spot a guy in a double denim look with a quiff, the jacket being an iconic classic one with flap pockets. And just five minutes and three seconds to spot one with a waxed cotton trench, fully buttoned front chambray shirt, and high waisted pleated trousers worn with desert chukka boots.
It is true that a lot of leading British brands take inspiration from this neighbourhood. The folks of Shoreditch emerging out of their burrows from the countless sunset cocktail bars and underground clubs are truly a breed which does not play fashion by the book. Against this urban backdrop you will find refined ensembles which might be more suited to the vintage pastoral looks in the mid-West, or urbane looks with updated fits and details inspired by outdoor fishing. Their expression and sensibilities are deeply rooted in belonging to a crowd who refuse to abide faithfully to any one source of inspiration or purpose. There cannot ever be a typical style handbook for this crowd, as their’s is injected with a customised exclusiveness which could be brought about from a twenty pound jumper purchased at a thrift store, or from a two hundred pound handmade tee bought in one of Shoredtich’s exclusive boutiques.
There is a certain superiority these true residents demand when someone enters their territory, and is often greeted by a millisecond glance of [pretentious] judgement. There are a lot of Londoners who choose not to create their havens in the typical Shoreditch surroundings, but secretly aspire to live the Shoredtich life, which has, in a way, led to the ‘gentrification’ of Shoreditch – mostly led by a lot of posh privileged public school types camouflaging to become a part of this fashion ecosystem.
These days, a lot of specialised menswear stores like Present quench this thirst of folks who refuse to be told how or what to dress in. As well, areas such as Hoxton, Dalston, Stoke Newington, and London Fields are now broadening the menswear scene in London, offering a sophisticated level of ruggedness of the streets with a great concoction of influences.
Long live the hamster.