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Support These Independent Brands

It's more important than ever to support independent brands and local businesses. Here, Lauren Ashdown highlights her favourite picks, from fashion to food.

@ Madeleine Thompson Cashmere AW20 by Marie Noorbergen

Small businesses and independent brands are a vital part of our economy and community. In tough economic times, it’s crucial to ask ourselves as consumers, what can we do to help independent businesses flourish? Whether we spend our precious pennies online or in local shops, we must stand by our favourite brands and businesses.

The quality of design, care and customer service offered by indie brands is unmatched by global fast-fashion companies. Designer Madeleine Thompson (one of our own clients!) uses the medium of cashmere to dream up beautiful, art-inspired ready-to-wear - think rainbow stripes, lightning bolts and Mondrian grids. We also love House of Sunny, whose eye-catching and sustainable pieces are created in limited runs, and London-based brand Kitri, that creates reasonably priced yet beautifully designed clothes you can feel and look good in. Other brands to look out for are Daphine (minimal yet impactful, affordable jewellery), Meadows (romantic and feminine dresses inspired by Victoriana and prairie style), and Omi Na-Na (ethical fashion and homeware, with a carefully curated edit). The benefits of shopping from small, emerging brands are endless; from personalised service to a reduced risk of accidental ‘outfit twinning’, independently-run brands combine thoughtful design with a hands-on approach - what’s not to love? Most of these businesses offer online shopping and easy delivery options, too - and they're still shipping, as they don't have huge distribution centres that need to be closed during lockdown.

Next time you fancy popping down the road for a coffee or ordering a mid-week treat via Deliveroo, take a moment to consider your local options. Not only is food and drink sourced from independents usually better in flavour (and often in price, too), but it’s also helping to support businesses that don’t have the financial backing of mega chains. It may be as simple as going to your local train station’s coffee shop instead of a passing Costa on the route. If you’re based in South East London, check out Brown & Green’s various locations for Fair Trade coffee and wholesome brunch options. If you’re visiting Central, be sure to try Kaffeine or Flat White for artisan coffee, modern interiors and friendly staff. Heading Shoreditch way? Make a stop at Paper & Cup, whose non-profit offering not only provides delicious treats and divine coffee but also helps to regenerate the community, offering jobs to those most in need. When it comes to food, try to source produce from local suppliers and independent grocers (many of whom have launched box deliveries). Order Deliveroo from small restaurants such as Arancini Brothers (incredible arancini that happens to be vegan), Pickywops (pizza and pasta heaven), or Lucky Chip (maybe the best burger in London), depending on your location. Alternatively, check your local Thai or Indian offering.

With the ease of online shopping making product sourcing somewhat saturated, it does open up the opportunity to shop more consciously. Many small brands run without any brick and mortar stores and rely purely on online purchases. A great way to explore independent brands is to browse online for gift ideas. From bespoke bakes (Baked by Steph or Isobel Bakes) to playful cards and prints (Annie Dornan Smith) and wellbeing vouchers for infrared saunas or adaptogen elixirs (Glow Bar; KXU), there’s an unlimited selection of niche products and services to satisfy even the hardest to please. From Etsy to eBay, make use of online platforms that small brands can sell through, but also try to shop directly from the brand to help maximise their profits. Repeat after us: support small business!

Words: Lauren Ashdown


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