It has been a long time since I’ve done something for my “Alex Loves Angel” section, my one-woman-challenge to put the amazing independent shops in my beloved Angel on the map. It’s not for lack of great shops in the area, I just got distracted. But, like all good things in my life these days, a ‘meeting’ on Twitter got me in touch with Lizzie Evans, the owner of Smug, one of my favourite quirky design boutiques ever – not just in Angel.
When Smug opened on the famous Camden Passage about 2 years ago, it was a little out of the ordinary nestled between all the vintage stalls and shops. It dared to be different, so obviously I loved it. From top to bottom it is filled with gorgeous unique and quirky things, ranging from scarves to stuffed animals to vintage Fifties furniture to makeup. When you walk in, you quite literally don’t know where to look first.
Everything in store is a real credit to Lizzie, who not only designed the shop herself, but handpicks every little item from designers all over the world. It’s clearly a passion project for her, and it really shows: she works closely with a lot of her designers, who often make exclusive items just for her shop. Stabo made an exclusive scarf with the Smug bullfinch and guinea pig logo, whilst designer Matt Pugh will be making one of his wooden owls in yellow for Smug’s 2nd birthday in June.
The shop is set up like a little home: there’s a kitchen area in the basement, with all the kitchen/dining items down there. On the ground floor you’ll find smaller items, like cards and scarves and stuffed animals and books and candles and umbrellas and… Perfect for those who just casually wander in. Upstairs there’s the larger furniture, a wall with “Smug’s TOP TEN gift ideas’, and regularly changing collaborations with artists – almost like a small gallery.
In a dream world, I’d walk through the doors of Smug one day, lock them behind me and just move in. It’s pretty much perfect.
I ended up leaving with a big handmade stuffed pig for my newborn godson – although I secretly want it for myself… I think this is a time when we should all support our independent shops a little more, so when it comes to gifts, this is now my go-to place: individual, unique, and there’s most definitely something for everyone. Mother’s day gifts, anyone? For the time being, you can preview a lot of the items online, but you can’t buy them just yet. But Lizzie told me that’s all about to change soon with a real online shop… hold on to your wallets!
13 Camden Passage
P.S. Apologies for the many, many, many pictures… I just couldn’t choose!