For the past year-and-a-bit I’ve lived in Angel, Islington. I loved it before I moved here, but now I’m obsessed with the place. It’s full of amazing restaurants, bars, beautiful places, the canals and some of the best shops I’ve seen all over the world. The people are friendly and it’s a tight-knit community – to say I love where I live is a bit of an understatement.

Being Belgian, a lot of my friends and family arrive on the Eurostar in King’s Cross, merely minutes away, but have never heard of Angel, and would rather go to Notting Hill or Oxford Street than this amazing neighbourhood, because their Lonely Planet said so. Every time I convince them otherwise, they’re Islington converts. It has been my intention to do something, a separate website perhaps, for a while, to promote the community I’m so passionate about, but then sometimes fate just makes that decision for you.

Yesterday I was invited to Sefton, one (well, two) of the best stores on Angel’s best shops on Upper Street. Consisting of a separate women’s and men’s shop just across the street from each other, Sefton represents to me just what Angel is about: great labels, some established, some really young and groundbreaking, although not cheap, nothing crazily expensive and a focus on quality. Although I knew both shops, hearing the stories and the passions from the team behind it made it quite a different experience.

Jules, the lovely PR, showed me around the men’s shop first and told me about Sefton’s history, which started in 1999, when owner Ben Elsdale started his first shop. She showed me Sefton’s own lines, a range of socks and small leather goods, all made in the same factories as some major brands – so same quality, but without the price tag. This will soon be expanded with a few essential clothing items as well, I was told. Unfortunately the owner and men’s buyer weren’t around to talk me through their incoming AW10 buys so I had to make do with what was in store, which was lovely as always.

Sefton’s own socks

Sefton’s leather goods

Off to the women’s shop across the street, which is what REALLY interested me, of course! I was introduced to Tina, who not only works on the floor, but is also the womenswear buyer, which in my opinion are always the best buyers. Who else knows their customer better than the person who actually KNOWS their customer? She showed me her book of all AW10 buys and new brands and explained why she bought what. Her passion and knowledge of the Islington customer is just inspiring. For example, I’m so excited that they took the risk and will be the first to sell Krystof Strozyna in the UK – a designer whose career I’ve followed since I attended his very first show at LFW 2 years ago – but the pieces she selected are perfect to introduce the customer to a new designer. Really worth checking out, I promise you! I also discovered young jewellery designer Hannah Warner, who they stock exclusively in the UK as well – who I’ll be interviewing for the blog very soon!

Another brand they (used) to have exclusively, along with Net-A-Porter, was Carven, a recently revived French couture brand, now more ready-to-wear with the BEST prices. It is causing a bit of a hype amongst the fash-pack, and I reserved the most AMAZING winter coat from their buys. No, I’m not showing you which one just yet, because you’ll all just go and buy it from under my nose and that would be stupid. As I’m Alex and have developed a bitch of a shopping addiction, I ended up leaving with a Carven dress from the sales (on now). It’s a LBD with a bit of a twist as it has a pouf skirt and open back.

To start my Islington series with, this was a great opener. You’ll see established names like Vivienne Westwood, Theory and Acne mixed with younger ones like Faster by Mark Fast, Markus Lupfer and Jonathan Saunders. This is exactly the passion and individuality which you can’t find in big department stores or the many chains on Oxford Street. Boutiques are one of the few things I miss from Belgium, where you have the most amazing multibrand stores. Here I’m often faced with having to go to own-brand stores or department stores. So I fully intend to continue this series and highlight some of the best places London has to offer, all within a stone’s throw of my house.

Sefton Women, 271 Upper Street, N1 2UQ
Sefton Men, 196 Upper Street, N1 1RQ
Online shop

Sefton Men and Women

Sefton Women Jonathan Saunders and Denim Section

The Carven SS10 Dress

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  • Alex, what an excellent read!!

    It's always fun & inspiring to get a peek into another place and it's retail community. Sefton seems to have a great flow and set up (I'm a sucker for glass displays).

    And the Craven dress looks gorg on you, so no judgment, only envy ;)

    Emily xx

    P.S. never encountered Disqus before, hope I do it right…

  • Liane

    I love this post and I love love love Seftons. The Sefton socks are my winter must-haves – sooo warm and comfy. xx