Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The New Islington Is Fine by Me; CITY LIVES

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The New Islington Is Fine by Me; CITY LIVES

Article excerpt


SO REISS has finally risen. It sits at the far end of Islington's Camden Passage, all smoked glass, sharp coats and gleaming doors, the final evidence, if it were needed, that Angel's quaint antiques quarter will have to coexist with big business.

It's a symbolic change for the area, and one that I had been opposed to.

The Sunday farmer's market was forced further from my doorstep by this redevelopment, and the long-running Saturday antiques market closed amid angry protests.

But seeing the shop now, sleek clothes spotlit in the big windows, I am convinced. Islington has been short of decent clothes shops, considering the throngs of monied professionals who buzz around Upper Street in search of food, drink and opportunities to spend.

I predict the opening of this store will be welcomed by local shoppers and visiting weekenders alike.

The reception may not be so warm further along Camden Passage. When I moved to the area a few years back, the alleyway was end-to-end antiques, vintage and bric-a-brac. Walking the length of it last weekend, I took stock of the street's recent transformation.

Maybe half the antiques shops are now gone, but the small businesses that have sprung up seem well-chosen.

Where books were once traded, now stands global-village, experts in adventure travel. Next door is PH, a tiny space packed with handbags, and then Max Oliver - the kind of boutique you'd browse in search of a girlfriend's birthday present. Across the cobbled lane is Ki Mantra, tailor-made for young urbanites, selling MBTs, fresh juice and massage treatments.

Further along, past the small flea market (a good place to buy vintage clutch bags and kid gloves) is a little run of design shops nestling among the antiques. There is Smug (tweed teddy bears), opposite the Oriental Art Shop (giant Ming-style vases), Vincent (for tiny children's shoes, including animal- print baseball boots), and Ruberg (Scandinavian jewellers with a line in gay wedding rings). …

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