With 227 independent retailers, Hackney is one of the leading London boroughs for local independent shops.
Shopping local nowadays means so much more than supporting local businesses. Modern trends are hitting the city’s retail spaces quicker than ever with more outlets focused on conscious consumerism. As one of the most culturally diverse areas in London, what better place to combine boutique retail therapy with sustainable shopping? From socially-responsible fashion to a bookshop that gives to those on low incomes, Hackney has it all. We’ve done our research to find five hidden gems that are not just independent but have something uniquely different about each of them.
Pages of Hackney
The award-winning Pages of Hackney leads the pack in a borough blessed with many independent bookshops. From the moment you step inside, you find a welcoming community, with books on every subject from gender and sexuality to graphic fiction and feminism. The shop hosts literary events, as well as a monthly Monday Book Club, which is not to be missed. If you’re the sort of person who loves recommendations, you can sign up to the bookshop’s 12-month subscription service where they’ll post you a new book each month. You can even buy a book voucher for those on low incomes. Once purchased, your voucher is pinned on a notice board for the shop’s Pay It Forward scheme. Uniquely, each staff member has their own profile on the website, complete with picture and book recommendations, adding to the community feel. Before leaving, make sure to check out the second-hand bookshop in the basement.
70 Clapton Road, E5 0RN
69b boutique was London’s first sustainable store dedicated to a better fashion industry. Still under independent ownership, this socially and environmentally responsible clothes boutique was established in 2011 in the east London enclave of Broadway Market. 69b has an irresistibly stylish approach to ethical fashion, stocking brands such as the Copenhagen-based Cras and super-hip denim brand Seventy + Mochi. From collaborating with local artists on conscious swimwear to exhibiting student-made jewellery in-store, 69b is really doing it all. They pay London Living Wage to their staff, offer zero-emission parcel delivery and work with social enterprises including Aerande and Pivot Jewellery. They even have a climate-positive website.
69b Broadway Market, E8 4PH
search & rescue
If you’re looking for a patchwork quilt or your next vanilla-scented eau du parfum, this is the place for you. This Church Street-based independent style store sells everything from Parisian-designed embroidered brooches to smokey Fragrance diffusers and handmade Delft tiles. There’s even a super-cute stationary area and a soap section at the back. All products are carefully curated by the in-house team there, making it the perfect gift shop. If there’s nothing you need, visit to simply enjoy the amazing aromas.
129 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0UH
If you’re looking for an undiscovered cultural gem, this is the shop for you. Brother is a pre-owned cult clothing fashion stockist with a focus on genderless clothing (hence the name ‘Bro+Her’). Whereas a lot of resellers focus on vintage picks from the 1960s, the fashion brand has a fetish for anything from the 1980s onwards. Brother is located around the corner from London Fields in the monolithic Netil House, complete with a rooftop bar. The artisanal Netil Market lies next door, along with the uber-hip drinking den Mare Street Market. Netil Radio is also based here, so you can listen to leftfield electronica while perusing the rails for the latest 90s homeware, 80s hardware and stylish contemporary clothing. Expect to find a rotating cast of surprises such as vintage Versace t-shirts and archive Vivienne Westwood pieces. It’s worth noting that the shop is only open from Thursday to Sunday.
Netil House, 1 Westgate Street, E8 3RL
Provisions Hackney Road is the second branch of the highly-rated wine and cheese shop that first opened in Islington in 2015. Provisions work with organic, biodynamic and natural winemakers to produce wine that is not only affordable but may just be the best wine you’ve ever tried. Better still, they also love mindfully educating people on wine. Build your knowledge from the basics with their ‘learn while you drink’ wine subscription, with bottles selected from small, independent winemakers. If you’re just here for the cheese, you can get your monthly fix with a’ Cheese Canteen Box’ delivered to your door. With a focus on additive-free natural wine (good for the hangover!) and raw milk cheese, a visit to Hackney Road is not the same without popping into Provisions.
308 Hackney Road, E2 7SJ