Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

Part of my role as your Fashion Junior is to act as roving reporter, heading out and about to tell you, our loyal blog readers, all about the latest London fashion happenings. For any of you residing in East London, you may well have already come across the Blitz Vintage Department store on Hanbury Street, as it has now been open for nearly a month. It has been described as the Harrods of Vintage; quite a comparison to live up to. The store is a labour of love for Vintage aficionados Jan Skinner, the store's owner, and John Howlin, the store manager. The pair, who have been involved in the East End Vintage scene for some time, have a long-held vision of a vintage store with the museum-like quality of Liberty or Dover Street Market. It sounds like it has been quite a ride to get to where the store is now. So, last Thursday evening I dragged my vintage expert friend Harriet along to help me analyse what all the fuss was about at their launch night.

Shopping for me is not just about what you buy but also how you feel when you're doing it which is why you will never find me elbowing my way through piles in Primark or rummaging for one item of hidden treasure in a heap of jumble. For some, this is the thrill of the shop, for me, I like my potential purchases where I can see them. Thus, one of the major plus points I found at Blitz was that this felt like the serene shopping experience one might expect in a concept shop, boutique or department store, perhaps not as luxe as Harrods, but certainly not your average vintage emporium where one battles with musty smells and rails crammed so full your (well, my) heart sinks. Let me be clear, Blitz does not offer anything particularly revolutionary in terms of what it is actually selling clothes-wise. Although the selection and prices are excellent, they are not the only people in London doing vintage this well. It's the store experience which makes Blitz stand out. Harriet and I also loved the way the stock was merchandised with an almost painstaking amount of thought; all the sleeves on all the shirts were rolled up, silk scarves poked out of Dr Martens and shoes lined up jauntily.
Beautiful Vintage-esque underwear from What Katie Did

What did we say last week about polkas?

It was away from the fashion that Blitz really came into its own. They had some super cool vintage kids stuff- I seriously considered purchasing baby cowboy flares complete with holster for any sons I may or not have in the very distant future. There was a great selection of  upcycled homewares, most of it highly desirable, like this collar display case, I'd love to have that in my hallway. Some of it a tad weird, like child mannequins with adult limbs attached.

 And la pièce de résistance had to be the most brilliant book selection I think I have ever seen, anywhere, at such amazing prices. Said section of the store is very conveniently situated beside the coffee bar with its 1950s Fiat installation. When we visited, the place was obviously a buzz with press and general launch night excitement, but I can imagine easily whiling away a few weekend hours perusing the library from a lovely leather armchair with a cup of coffee. Among my purchases were Margaret Atwood's 'The Year of the Flood', 'Panic Attack: Art in the Punk Years' and Alex Ross' 'The Rest is Noise'.

Blitz promises to be more than a shop, but a destination where locals can go to hang out and pursue their creative whims. I hear that there are some exciting collaborations coming up which will keep the concept fresh and position it as a serious contender to non-vintage shops. They are offering photographers, stylists and bloggers the chance to use the space for shoots and they will let clubs and societies use the store to meet in. The Japanese journalism collective 'Parsnips' are already frequent visitors and much enthusiasm has been shown in Japanese publications like Madame Figaro and Visionaire. Even if you do not fall into any of the categories above, the store will, as the name suggests, bombard you with fashion, home and literary inspiration and ideas.

Images: Bethan Holt/ Harriet Anscombe.


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