There are no used clothes in Shoreditch and Camden, only vintage clothes to be reworked. There are no empty walls, just future murals. Untrendy bars open because they
create their own fashion. Both areas in London have an industrial past and are the neighbourhoods that have been rediscovered the most over the past decade. Shoreditch has gone from being an abandoned railway area to the international birthplace of the hipster movement. Camden, which has historically been the birthplace of punk, is a street-style multi-ethnic neighbourhood.
In Shoreditch, the East End of London, there are cafés with very clean lines alongside classic English pubs, amidst highly creative markets and new concept stores that are on the cutting-edge of the international scene. Boxpark, for example, was created in an ingenious modular way of working spaces. It is a shopping centre that was built by assembling containers; each one includes an independent retail space, and at the centre of all the boxes is a space with a concert hall featuring the most promising contemporary artists.
Probably the area with the highest density of hipsters in the world is Shoreditch. Here long beards, Apple gadgets, cereal bars, and fixed-gear bicycles have replaced pins and studs, Mohawks, and shaved heads. East London has always been anti-conformist and full of art galleries: amongst the many crews of creatives who have moved here, artists have been the first to revamp the area, attracted primarily by the immense spaces of the abandoned former industrial warehouses. This was also the area where Bansky began his career, covering walls and bridges with his first stencils.
From Shoreditch to Camden, being alternative is the norm. Starting from the legendary Market, one of the most famous in the world, where it is possible to get lost amongst the vintage stalls and street food stands from kitchens around the world, as well as to sniff out future trends or relax in new and innovative store concepts. Like the Cheese Bar, a taste-smell celebration for cheese lovers: a selection of the finest cheeses can be sampled along with wines from around the word.
Camden is not just a perfect mix of bars, vintage boxes, and street food stands. Another highlight of the neighbourhood is Regent’s Canal and its sluice that connects the eastern and western parts of London. At sunset, the lights reflect on the water here, boats pass by and music is played by street artists, creating a unique atmosphere. To get away from the chaos, just follow the river to find yourself in a more residential London, silent and magical, with Victorian style geometric façades, typical English buildings with red bricks, and bars frequented by the locals. Like the splendid Engineer Pub, where painstaking attention has been paid to every detail and the beautiful interior has the same atmosphere as it did a few centuries ago.
It is impossible to not let yourself succumb to wandering around and losing yourself without any specific destination in the city. As Herman Melville liked to say: “In just two places in the world can men disappear with greater ease: in the South Seas and in London”.
Alessandro Di Giacomo
photo Francesco Polidori – Mark David Alunni / Kemon
photo Courtesy of Cheese Bar