Shop talk: Britain’s 20 best independent boutiques | Fashion


1. Kiti, Cardiff

A proudly Welsh, colourful confection of fashion treasures for women of every age. Owned by Gwenno Penrhyn, Kiti is named after her grandmother and a personal service comes as standard. Big on Scandi and LA brands like Anine Bing, Ganni and Stine Goya, it has the inside line on new discoveries such as Jaipur-based SZ Blockprints. Her displays are also sprinkled with all the extras that make a look your own, from Mishky bracelets (from £19) to bold sweaters from American Vintage (from £110), completing an edit that is bursting with special pieces that you’ll be able to pull out year after year.; @kiticymru

2. The Dressing Room, St Albans

An award-winning mini department store with an edit of more than 100 brands. Owner Deryane Tadd sources and stocks a prestigious mix of new and interesting designer labels including Lily and Lionel, Essentiel Antwerp, American Vintage and Hayley Menzies. They sit alongside premium brands including Citizens of Humanity, Paige and Veja. The boutique’s team of trained stylists are available by appointment at no extra cost (their styling videos are also worth checking out for those who can’t get to Hertfordshire).; @thedressingroomsocial

3. Gather & See

An online ethical fashion retailer launched in 2014 by childhood friends Alicia Taylor and Stephanie Hogg. Based between Nairobi and Leicestershire, they have worked tirelessly over the past nine years, running Gather & See across the two continents. The result is a site that stocks over 60 sustainable and ethical independent brands, from zero-waste Adadakin to the dreamy Studio Skall, with bags by the brilliant Been London. Great for a stylish discovery.; @gatherandsee

4. Maze, Bristol

Maze, Bristol
Photograph: PR IMAGE

Maze is an independent family-run business that is one of Clifton’s coolest offerings. With a considered collection of menswear, womenswear, homewares, apothecary items and curiosities from both established brands and local designers, the 38-year-old brand has stayed ahead of the curve by only working with the designers and stocking collections that share their values. They call it an extension of their own lifestyle, which isn’t just about selling clothes, but creating a space where people can browse, socialise and connect. Sign us up.; @mazeclothingltd

5. The Clever Dresser, Sevenoaks

Owner Sophie Carson has worked in fashion for more than 25 years, operating almost exclusively in the haute couture and high-end contemporary sector for the likes of Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. Consistently pulling together strong on-trend collections, The Clever Dresser’s summer dress edit is especially strong with key pieces from Hayley Menzies, Australian brand Alemais, Scarlett Poppies and bohemian embroidered styles from Devotion Twins.; @the_clever_dresser

6. Trunk, London

Trunk store, London
Photograph: PR IMAGE

A contemporary take on a traditional gentleman’s outfitters. Founded by Mats Klingberg in 2010, Trunk’s considered edit prioritises timeless style over trends. Located on what has become London’s insider’s menswear destination – Chiltern Street – it’s a one-stop shop for classic style with a modern spin. Be sure to check out its own brand of wardrobe staples like cashmere Breton sweaters (£225) and cotton shorts (£95) that sit perfectly alongside European stalwarts such as Barena, De Bonne Facture and Finnamore.; @trunkclothiers

7. Rivet and Hide, Manchester

Rivet and Hide open their first store outside of London at 59 Thomas Street in Manchester city centre’s Northern Quarter
Photograph: Mark Waugh/Mark Waugh Manchester Press Photography Ltd

Situated in the city’s vibrant Northern Quarter, with a southern outpost in London, Rivet and Hide is denim- geek Nirvana offering an unrivalled selection of Japanese selvedge designs including Pure Blue Japan, Studio D’Artisan and Samurai. Fans of Americana will find flannel shirts, bandanas and wool blankets. Expert advice on the perfect long-lasting denim is on hand, as is a complimentary hemming service that uses an original 1950s vintage sewing machine to achieve the authentic rope stitch.; @rivetandhide

8. Pampas, Glasgow

A contemporary womenswear store is in the heart of the West End. Founded in 1990, Pampas has consistently delivered a fresh take on the season’s best fashion for women. Think bright printed pieces from Belgium label Essential Antwerp, accessories collections from labels such as Rachel Jackson, lightweight tailoring by Frame and Paige and a great selection of summer dresses by Sundress.; @pampasglasgow

9. Urban Industry, Eastbourne

Urban Industry Eastbourne

A streetwear warehouse-cum-menswear shop whose MO is quality clothing and accessories from more than 90 worldwide brands and an impressive year-round edit of 300 footwear styles. Think gorp-core meets skate culture with brands like Gramicci, Obey, Karhu and Snow Peak on the roster. Its Responsible Production edit sorts brands by credentials including Blue Sign Approved, Vegan Friendly and Fair Trade Certified.; @urbanindustrystore

10. KoiBird, London

A vibrant curation of the quirky and the cool in central London’s Marylebone Lane. This is a retail destination with a difference, thanks to its ever-evolving range of ready-to-wear brands, exclusive homeware and niche wellness products. Founder, seasoned traveller and entrepreneur Belma Gaudio (also creative director) has recently launched Koibird’s Holiday Hub offering designer labels on the cooler side, from coverups to suit every style to great sea-friendly jewellery to keep your summer look feeling fresh. @koibird

11. Found, Bath

Found, Bath
Photograph: PR IMAGE

A concept store next to Pulteney Bridge at the heart of the area’s bustling community of independent businesses. Found champions new women’s and menswear brands alongside established favourites including YMC, Meadows and Universal Works. Its jewellery and accessories edit is particularly strong. Think zero-waste glass and pearl baroque earrings by Sandralexandra (£95), Eugenia hair clips (from £8), and covetable retro destination keyrings (£6.50) from Schitt’s Creek’s Rosebud Motel to the White Lotus Resort.; @foundbath

12. Old Town General Store, Stockport

Owner Tony Murray has spent over 30 years in retail, working for Flannels, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, but having his own store was always the dream. After recently moving premises, Old Town General Store is now three times the size it was, stocking a wide edit for men and women including Portuguese Flannel, Leon and Harper and, new this season, Stella Nova and Carrier Goods. In-store events including live music underscore the community driven vibe of OTGS.; @old_town_general_store

13. Wardrobe 44

This online boutique is the brainchild of journalist Alex Gorton. The former fashion and lifestyle editor changed paths six years ago, turning her blog and Instagram into a retail platform and testing the water with a collection of scarves. The boutique now stocks a collection of under-the-radar brands from Denmark, France and the UK. Her current favourites include Suncoo’s embroidered dresses, Saint-Tropez’s cotton dresses and her own line of tees.; @wardrobe44_shopLondon

14. Scout, Dublin

Scout, Dublin
Photograph: PR IMAGE

Located in Temple Bar, this small marketplace regular is a city favourite. Scout’s interior is beautiful yet functional, housing traditional Aran knitted jumpers alongside more modern brands like YMC and crafted labels such as Grenson shoes and Electronic Sheep. Mixing up the classic and the contemporary has become owner Wendy Crawford’s raison d’etre, resulting in a beautifully tactile melting pot of the two.; @scoutdesignstore

15. Roo’s Beach, Cornwall

Established in 2013 on the north Cornwall coast, Roo’s Beach offers an uber-cool edit of brands that chime with its “shop independent” ethos. The inviting beach-front store with surf-shack styling. With a passion for fabric, fit, and style, it champions brands such as American Vintage, Rachel Jackson, Frnch, LF Markey and Stan Ray across men’s and womenswear. The vibe is upbeat with plenty of colour and an emphasis on sustainability. Video styling tutorials hosted by Roo via Instagram are packed with useful tips and brand info, too.; @roosbeach

16. Envoy of Belfast, Belfast

A womenswear store that stocks an outstanding and judicious mix of international fashion brands and lesser-known special finds. Offering the style-savvy of Belfast a unique edit since 2007, Envoy’s rustic, understated chic setting plays home to contemporary heroes including Acne Studios, And Wander, and Casey Casey, as well as the more avant garde designer pieces from Simone Rocha, Comme des Garçons and Dries van Noten. Delivering a truly luxurious in–person experience, it’s a place in which you could easily while away the hours.; @envoyofbelfast

17. D.A.Y, London

Sisters Disha, Apee and Yukti founded Peckham-based D.A.Y (an acronym of their initials) in 2018. Growing up in a shop environment, the trio are continuing their parents’ four-decade retail legacy. Step inside D.A.Y and you’ll find a carefully curated collection of Scandi-inspired indie womenswear, menswear and lifestyle labels, from up-and-coming designers such as jeweller G Binksy and zero-waste pieces from Thinking Mu Men, to timeless wardrobe staples from Samsoe & Samsoe, plus locally sourced gems like Frekkle London’s colourful woven shopper bags (£38), and Southeast15’s comfy sweatshirts (£52).; @d.a.y_boutique

18. Epitome, Edinburgh

Cutting-edge, well-crafted designs that encourage thoughtful shopping under one roof. Stylish pieces from brands including the ever-wearable APC, Girls of Dust and Engineered Garments sit beside skincare, grooming, candles products and soaps that smell as good as they look. An eclectic mix of accessories from Kapital’s Happy Heel socks to crossbody bags from Hereu are joined by Cameron Taylor knitwear, the owner’s own line of Scottish-made cashmere.; @epitomeofedinburgh

19. Lowie, London

An independent womenswear label founded by Bronwyn Lowie in 2002. As someone who has upcycled clothes since she was 12, Lowie’s brand is big on sustainability. She offers free repairs for life on all her garments to ensure longevity. Lowie stocks products by like-minded brands, including a fabulous selection of organic, recycled dresses from Bobo Choses, Stella Nova’s jaunty knitwear, terrazzo earrings by Miss Pompom, and skincare products by Upcircle.; @ilovelowie

20. Peggs and Son, Brighton

Pegg and Sons, Brighton
Photograph: PR

Peggs and Son first opened its doors in 2000 and now resides at new premises on Duke Street in the heart of Brighton. A menswear go-to, it boasts the finest Japanese and American selvedge denim, Scandinavian shirting, handmade shoes and technical sports apparel. Stone Island sits harmoniously alongside MHL by Margaret Howell in an edit that brings together the best of international menswear. Scroll their impeccable Instagram account for weekly video insights into new brands and product drops, and look out for seasonal discount codes.; @peggsandson

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