Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Closing, the Vintage Chelsea Fashion Shop Where Stars Drop in; Pop Shop: Kylie Minogue Buys Clothes at Steinberg & Tolkien in King's Road

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Closing, the Vintage Chelsea Fashion Shop Where Stars Drop in; Pop Shop: Kylie Minogue Buys Clothes at Steinberg & Tolkien in King's Road

Article excerpt

Byline: ELIZABETH HOPKIRK

WITH customers including Madonna, Kate Moss, Kylie Minogue and SarahJessica Parker, you would think the shop was thriving.

Instead, Steinberg & Tolkien, one of London's best-loved vintage fashionstores, is shutting after being hit by a series of rent increases and theexpanded congestion charge zone.

The shop in King's Road opened 14 years ago and is a treasure house of clothes,jewellery and accessories from top names in haute couture. As well as stars, ithas been the first stop for stylists, fashion editors, costume designers andlovers of antique outfits.

Now its stock, which ranges from Victorian antiques to Nineties designer wear,is being sold off with discounts of up to 80 per cent before the shuttersfinally come down for the last time on 28 September.

It is yet another example of one of London's independent shops being forced toclose by costs and competition from the big retail chains, an issue highlightedby the Evening Standard's Save Our Small Shops campaign.

Steinberg & Tolkien's rent has gone up [pounds sterling]40,000 since 2004 and this year it isdue to rise from [pounds sterling]83,000 to [pounds sterling]109,000.

Co-founder Tracy Tolkien, 45, said: "It's just gone up and up. Only the likesof Starbucks can afford today's rent.

"I don't blame the landlordsthey're not a charitybut the rates have also gone up from [pounds sterling]9,000 a year when we opened to [pounds sterling]36,000now.

"The congestion charge and red route haven't helped either. We'd need to makedouble what we bring in now to keep going. It's so sad. I just want to burstinto tears." Manager Ruth Stuarts-Warwick added: "It's such a shame and we'vehad a huge response from our customers.

All the top designers come in every season to buy things for inspiration.Literally SAVE OUR SMALL SHOPS C A M PA I G N EVENING STANDARD everyone who isin town seems to pop in. We never know who's going to walk through the door. …

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