Retail Therapy: London vs. Toronto

Everyone was right when they said I will love London if I love fashion. There’s so much going on in London’s fashion realm, and it’s almost hard to keep up with everything! And that’s the best way to encounter fashion in London: to go and experience it out there. My days are mostly filled with talking about the new items in this store and that, because really, London and fashion are both extremely fast paced, and if you lay back in your seat for a sec, you just might lose track of it.

Even though I probably haven’t been around the whole city to discover all the amazing vintage stores and flea markets to see some really great fashion finds, I did manage to get around some of the mainstream stores in the city and discover a little bit about it. And here are some stores and brands that are not at the moment available in Canada, but really should be.

(In alphabetical order)

1. COS

The first thing I asked my friend who has lived in London for some time is, “where’s a good place to shop?”, because this is a CRUCIAL question in life, I feel like… She suggested this store, and at first, I was skeptical, because what I prefer is very different from some people. But once I stepped in, I didn’t want to leave. All of their knitted sweaters are around £59-79, and coats are around £135-150, which is not cheap when converted to Canadian money, but really, their stuff is worth it. If you like minimal, boxy pieces, this is definitely the place for you. Check out their website and products here

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2. Couronne

Started in Los Angeles by a South Korean designer Jeong-Hey Seok, the stores could only be found in Seoul, but it now merges through Italy and Nigeria. It made its debut in London through Harrods – a popup store that lasted 4 weeks in 2012 along with the showcasing of other amazing Korean products from food to fashion. Even though you can’t see it in person, it is now open for international shipping, and is now seen very often seen in Peony Lim’s blog posts. Couronne is also a must-have item for most of the Korean celebrities as well. Check out their collection here.

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3. Eleven Paris

This one, I’ve accidentally found as I was walking down Carnaby Street, and it’s true that the best things come when unexpected. I loved almost everything I’ve touched and set my eyes on in this Parisian chic boutique. Thanks to my love for my boyish-attire, I must touch and check out every sweatshirt that I pass by. And the sweatshirts and tops from Eleven Paris are by far the most drool-worthy for me. If you like Kenzo, you’ll love Eleven Paris’s prints and detailing as well. I promised myself that I’ll be back really soon when I get my pay checks!!! Shipping is free to UK, so go crazy! Here is the website.


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4. Opening Ceremony

Okay, so OC probably doesn’t even need an introduction. All I wanted to say was that I love their designs, Comme des Garcons collections, and Kenzo collections, but never had the chance to actually shop in person when I was in Toronto. They do an amazing job of displaying their merchandise as well, so if you’re in London, drop by their boutique in Covent Garden for sure! Every piece will grab your attention, and when you go back home, you’ll dream about it, as much as I do…

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5. Last but not least, & Other Stories

Sister brand of H&M, but extremely different, & Other Stories has so much more notable designs. (sorry H&M…) The silhouettes are very sophisticated and minimal – you won’t even see how they’re related to H&M. More colours than its other sister brand COS, but more chic than its sister brand, I felt like Holly Golightly at Tiffany’s. They have great leather accessories as well, such as shoes and bags. Not only this, but they have skincare products in their stores too! It’s like killing 7 birds with one stone. If you like boxier cuts and less patterns, but beautiful colours, this is the place for you! Take a look at their website here.

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It’s weird that I’m even comparing the retail industry of Canada and London, because they are two very different countries with different values. But I’m sure the one similarity between these two is that everyone loves shopping. You’ve been good to me Canada, but London, I think, will be better to me retail therapy-wise. 😉


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