Whenever Shoreditch is mentioned the same adjectives are used to describe it, almost unconsciously as an automatic response. Trendy, fashionable, cool, London’s creative centre.
But why is this? Is Shoreditch really trendy and just why is it trendy?
Well there’s a definite artistic pulse which beats through it. Within just a few minutes walk of anywhere in Shoreditch you’re likely to come across the most amazing graffiti. That in itself signifies that something different is going on here. But a few talented graffiti artists doesn’t make an area hip. There’s also the London School Fashion in the area. As anybody knows, fashion and art students bring with them a different view of the world where theirs is a world of colours, shapes and sounds. The normal day-to-day humdrum of life for most of us is an alien concept to them. It’s their freeness of spirit which adds to the aroma of the Shoreditch air.
Although some of us more settled older folk may deride those ‘arty farty’ students, secretly I think we envy their freedom and optimistic view of the world. Enter the next wave of Shoreditich residents: those non-students who want to join in the fun, or at least hope that
some of the fun will rub off. With a bit more income at their disposal they can buy from those exclusive one-off shops which have sprung up to please them.
But there is yet another group of residents which is just as important and helps to keep Shoreditch grounded and not becoming the Notting Hill of the East. These are the traditional East End residents, the immigrants old and new, and those who are on the lower end of the economic scale. Without this group, Shoreditch would become self important and lose that ‘trendy’ tag in no time at all. Some would argue that the tide is turning that way already with Brick Lane becoming more ‘cultured’ every year and house prices starting to pull away from it’s norm.
Every Sunday on the corner of Shoreditch High Street and Bethnal Green Road is (I think) an informal market which appears to have crept down away from . The wares sold are akin to car-boot sale items with much being second hand. Although initially taken aback by the questionable quality of some of the items, I realised that this really is just a market like any other market, serving people who need to shop within a certain budget. Some sellers and buyers were clearly down on their luck having I’m sure experienced better times in their lives. However everyone was pleasant, and seemed happy to be exchanging goods and engaging in some early morning chatter.
The juxtaposition of Boxpark cloaked in market sellers and buyers selling goods a world part is stark. It was actually quite invigorating to see merchants worlds apart coexisting in the same space. The presence of Boxpark thankfully hasn’t driven this event away. It continues to serve a very necessary purpose for the community and Shoreditch in general.
It’s this complete mix which makes Shoreditch trendy and genuinely vibrant. I think I’m actually starting to see Shoreditch through the eyes of those baby-faced students. A place where the world is cool and everything and everyone sits, talks eats and sleeps together in, I guess…harmony.
I left Shoreditch today feeling happy.
Written by : Mervin