High street brands
Looking for a pair of jeans that’s more individual than the Topshops of this world? Pop into Replay, it’s a den of denim – the guys in here know their materials, textiles and how to get the best fit. Their attention to detail has seen them become loved by denim purists the world over. Each season has an element of heritage or vintage in it, updated with new technologies.
Jack Wills burst onto the high street scene a few years ago with its British preppy look that’s half Ralph Lauren and half Topshop. The brand draws on British heritage – so think plenty of stripes and tweed ideas but packaged for a modern uni student. In its Carnaby Street store there’s a games room with table football and guitars to play around with.
Looking for a rock not retro edge to your wardrobe? Then step into All Saints. The predominantly black and grey clothing for men and women comes with an edgier style than most of its neighbours. Asymmetrical dresses, black leather jackets and cropped sweatshirts come as standard while silk trousers take things up a notch. This is like smart emo for grown ups.
Channelling a French oh so cool vibe combined with British dapper tailoring, The Kooples make the just-get-out-of-bed look cool – for guys and girls. Think vintage style with modern twists, but the clothes are designed to look good in any era. Great for stocking up on the wardrobe essentials that make every look work.
Scotch & Soda
Dutch high street brand Scotch & Soda has burst onto the fashion scene in the last few years with their well made basics – think great T-shirts and denim jackets that will last for years. Vintage styles are here for sure, but they’re not so in your face and some of the men and women’s ranges could double up as work wear. The Carnaby Street store also has the Amsterdam Blauw denim collection.
Vintage and second hand
One of London’s most loved vintage chains, Beyond Retro is a basement bonanza of vintage. It’s hard to know where to start, so best to roll up your sleeves and get rummaging. Neon signs and disco balls nod to Soho’s seedy heritage but all of London’s past trends can be found in here.
Levi’s Vintage Clothing Store
Levi’s don’t just have a new store in Soho they also have a shop dedicated to all things retro where you can pick up authentic replicas of their older styles – across jeans, jackets, shirts and accessories. If you can’t bear to rummage in second hand shops, this is a dream destination.
While Soho no longer has its rebel image and the music industry has mostly moved on, Reckless remains. It’s a temple to all things vinyl and second hand; it’s been here since 1984 and even featured on the seminal Oasis album artwork, What’s the Story Morning Glory? If you’re after something rare or just want to chat music, pop in.
Harold Moores Records
If you’re after something properly vintage — older than the 1960s such as classical or jazz LPs — then this little goldmine is worth knowing about. The staff are really helpful and not stuffy, it’s cosy and you can take your time exploring the back catalogues.
A cheeky graphic lead fashion and accessories brand, Lazy Oaf fits into Soho no problem. Slogan T-shirts, primary coloured shirts, and bright pins and accessories add some colour to your world — it’s impossible to leave the store without smiling.
Nudie don’t just sell their cult jeans in Soho, they also repair any pairs for free. Their repair shop on D’Arblay Street is like a homage to all things denim, although they also sell a lot of Scandi-inspired check shirts and well made but plain T-shirts. For understated style you can’t go wrong here.
This modern take on the classic British tailors has a lovely little store on Newburgh Street. It makes ties, scarves, and accessories for both men and women that echo the flair of the 1940s and the cheekiness of the 1960s.
The best and brightest of contemporary cutting edge fashion can be found at Machine-A, which stocks both British and European designers, with a constantly revolving stock. This season you can find Gosha Rubchinskiy, Martine Rose, Craig Green, MM6, Cottweiler and ALYX all in store.
There’s nothing pretentious or po-faced at Monki, which puts the fun firmly back into fashion. Think embroidery patched jeans, day-glo colours, cheeky prints and lots of emojis. We heart Monki.
For the last 20 years, Agent Provocateur (founded by the son of Vivienne Westwood) has added some much needed sex appeal to Soho. For romantic underwear on the right side of seedy, look no further than the original Broadwick Street store — it also does accessories, swimwear and luggage.
Albam is a local menswear designer for men who think they don’t want to wear something fashionable. It’s manly but mod, simple but well made, and there’s styles for all seasons. Future classics is how we’d describe Albam.
Every guy needs well-made accessories and Jack Spade have just the ticket. This is their only store in the UK and they sell everything from leather laptop bags and satchels to mobile phone covers. Designed like a 20th century hardware store, this is the modern man’s equivalent.
All hail Liberty — the department store like no other. Taking up an entire corner of Soho, you can’t miss the grand, mock Tudor house with its wonderful florists right in the front door. Beauty geeks flock to the ground floor for the latest in cutting edge and cult products while others are happy to drift among the tables beautifully laid with scarves, jewels and designer clothes. Liberty has been here since 1875 and it really is in a different world.
This quiet little gem is what Soho is really about: creative purists setting up their own small labels and just getting on with it. Quality men’s and women’s wear are sold from the concrete and neon lit little store, mostly under the brand’s own label but with a couple of concessions from designers like Peter Jensen. Think well made denim shirts, wide leg trousers and kimono tops.
Japanese cult trainer brand Onitsuka Tiger can be found on Newburgh Street, tucked away from the main Carnaby strip. The trainer shop also has a streetwear clothing collection for men and women and you can pick up the cult Mexico 66, loved by celebs everywhere.
TOMS started out selling shoes with the premise that for every one you buy, a pair of shoes will be donated to someone in need. Years later they’ve become a cult brand selling bags, watch straps (which fund a year of solar light for a family) and sunglasses. The store in Soho is their flagship store and it has an ethically sourced coffee bar as well.
Vans‘ skate heritage can be seen in its Soho store with its riotous décor: the store hosts live gigs, band signings and mini festivals and always stocks Vans’ key lines. If you’re a fan, then this is the place to be.
Cult boot brand Dr Martens moved their key store to Carnaby Street from Covent Garden where their rebellious attitude fits right in. They’ve been making boots and shoes the same way for 50 years, and now you can design your own bespoke boots — from the laces to the sole — right in store. You can also pick up branded clothing and accessories while you’re at it.
Who doesn’t own a pair of Adidas? The iconic brand’s Soho store is a temple to all things Adidas and you can shop the latest collection and pick up the cult must-haves all box fresh, just how you like them. In store gigs and limited collaborations also happen, the brand has already released one shoe especially for Carnaby Street, so watch out for others.