Hostem’s exterior is so nondescript it’s easy to overlook. Once inside, you’ll soon discover why London’s fashion-forward brigade has been raving about this temple of menswear ever since British style guru James Brown opened it in 2010. Hostem’s modern-meets-heritage interior features reclaimed Victorian-era pine floors, burlap-covered walls, and squirrel-cage lightbulbs hanging on black cables. However, the clothes take center stage. The lower level showcases street and work-wear collections, such as Adam Kimmel and Visvim, along with several Japanese brands previously unavailable internationally and exclusive to Hostem; the main floor focuses on high-fashion labels like Geoffrey B. Small, S.N.S. Herning, and MA+; the third room is an ever-evolving space for the dis- play of up-and-coming designers. Even checkout is a special: Receipts are artfully handwritten by the store staff. The bill will run you a pretty penny, but the intimate shopping experience makes it worth- while. And don’t forget to pick up the in-house magazine, Sebastian, on your way out.
You may not recognize the name of the man behind this indie clothing store, but Simon Spiteri is the former head of menswear at Liberty, and he’s brought some of that iconic West End department store’s wonderful eccentricity to the East End. Spiteri, who co-owns Anthem with Jeremy Baron, focused on creating a tightly edited world’s fair of men’s fashion—from shirts to shoes—gathering together the best brands from around the globe. The dazzling roster includes 45rpm and Kapital from Japan, Barena Venezia from Italy, Dries van Noten from Belgium, and England’s own Oliver Spencer. Despite the fact that many of the brands are international, the store has a recognizable house style centered on classic, tailored pieces with elements of British heritage thrown in. The artisan-inspired interior is almost as interesting as the merchandise, with natural wood, bare brick walls, quirky vintage furnishings, and an eclectic selection of works of art, which are also for sale.
Behind the partly original “Golden Horn Ciga- rette Company” storefront lurks a modern industrial-looking space that’s more like a miniature department store than a regular men’s clothing shop. Along with a wide-ranging selection of heritage-inflected menswear, Present sells books, magazines, accessories, shoes, stationary, and gifts; it also boasts an in-store coffee stand that serves a first- rate brew. Founded by Eddie Prendergast and Steve Davies, who established their reputations with the la- bel Duffer of Saint George, the store caters to creative director types who want to be fashionably on-trend without looking runway obsessed. In addition to the house brand, you’ll find tightly edited collections from the world’s top labels, including Nigel Cabourn, Trick- ers, Nanamica, and Gitman Vintage. And style-minded urban cyclists shouldn’t overlook the Japanese brand PEdALED, which is riding gear that’s strikingly cool and impeccably functional.