London's best fabric shops are pretty much on each extreme of the scale. One with one the softest cottons in the world and the other with a bold mixture of color and texture to tickle the imagination of any costume designer.
Ever wonder where the fabric used in the costumes for the one of the most popular HBO super series comes from? Well, I'll show you in this article. This is a visual tour of London's best fabrics shops that I hope you will enjoy.
London the cradle of Elizabethan Theater where more than 600 years ago gave birth to Shakespear whose plays are still performed all around the world, is also the birth of one of the best fabric shops in the world. In my opinion of course! But I am sure those that have been there would agree.
I wrote a while ago about a visit to what I thought was the finest fabric shop in the world in Florence, Italy. While I'll still stand by that call, I think these shops in London are very much up there on the list of the world's best.
Liberty of London
Liberty of London started its history back in 1875 as Liberty & Co, founded by Arthur Lasenby Liberty who brought back from his travels in Africa and the Middle East, rolls of fine cotton and printed them in London.
As with many visionaries, Mr. Arthur Liberty teamed up with fashion designers to print what they had in mind, offering the customer a new and refreshing approach to fashion.
For 143 years, people from all over the world have flocked to this spectacular place to enjoy a collection of an eclectic and tasteful array of fabrics from cotton lawns or better know as Tana lawn, to poplins silks, wools, twill, and jerseys.
“Liberty is the chosen resort of the artistic shopper.”
Aside from offering exquisite textiles for clothing, the store boasts expositions from talented textile artists and quilters.
While inside Liberty of London, I had the opportunity to chat with the wonderful embroidery designer Heather Everitt. Her exquisite butterfly designs are nothing short of extraordinary. If you leave in London check her out. She offers classes and workshops throughout the year.
One of the best parts about this fabric shop is that you can also buy patterns and notions designed with the fabric on offer in mind. Even if you are not into sewing, there are even some ready-made items for sale with this exquisite materials.
Walk a little further into the store and you will encounter one of the most wonderful collections of upholstery fabrics I've ever seen.
Some inspirations for your home. I know I wish I had a couple of these sofas around my house.
The Berwick Street Cloth Shop
My next stop is The Berwick Street Cloth Shop, a short seven minutes walk from Piccadilly in the heart of Soho.
This shop is what you will find aspiring and seasoned costume designers, Indy designers, and fashion students. For a small shop, the offerings are quite extensive, specializing in texture and colors.
This is truly an Alibaba's cave, great damasks and man-made furs, soft organzas and crisp taffetas that will through you in a spinning creative cycle. I was able to see wonderful intricate weave when the applied light would transform the atmosphere of an entire room. I think I could drop a pretty penny in this shop. Sadly, it is difficult to photograph, due to space and lighting, but I hope you take a couple of hours and venture into this shop.
I'm told that this is where five seasons of Games of Thrones costumes have come from as well as many movies such as Cinderella, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tide, and Maleficent to name a few. I had the pleasure of meeting Sophie, the store manager, who took me around showing me the many fabrics housed in the shop. Her enthusiasm and love for textiles was contagious.
Call ahead if you want to speak to Sophie. She works only Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Let her guide you through a most creative stimulating tour of the shop.
Hope you have enjoyed my picks on London's best fabric shops. Both establishments have, in my book, the most important ingredients, great products, and great people to show them to you. What else could you want when fabric hunting in the UK?
How to find London's best fabric shops