London is arguably the best shopping city in the world for men. Maybe that’s a bold statement, maybe not. But either way no gent there is starved for choices. Of course you’ve got the usual suspects, Savile Row, Jermyn Street, Mount Street, &c., and then there are the roads less traveled. Sometimes right around the corner, and sometimes a short tube ride away, if you’re willing to head off the main material thoroughfares some really amazing things await. After we introduced you to London’s Compass Whisky Box Company as well as E.B. Meyrowitz Opticians the other day, we want to present you the world of John Rushton and David Saxby.
John Rushton Shoes – a Character, Crockett & Jones, Alfred Sargent, and Cheaney
John Rushton is hands down one of my favorite shops in London. Just north of Oxford Street, sandwiched between an EAT and a pub on the otherwise-unassuming Wimpole Street, you’ll find an amazing selection of English footwear.
Most of the time you’ll find Mr. Rushton himself presiding over the tables of English Benchmade shoes. If you asked him what his main attractions are, I think he would tell you it’s his selection of Crockett & Jones, Alfred Sargent, and Cheaney under one roof. I’m not knocking that at all, but for me the biggest attraction is Mr. Rushton himself. You can find the shoes themselves many places, but there are few places I get as much pleasure from shopping as at John Rushton. Mr. Rushton and I inevitably get into a conversation about the waning quality of most shoe leather, the differences between English and American shoes, or some other such footwear minutia. If you really love shoes, this is the place for you. Just watch the John Rushton video and you will believe me.
And, as if that weren’t incentive enough, the Northampton shoemakers bring lots of slight seconds and samples to John Rushton every few weeks to put on offer alongside the standards. Mr. Rushton sells these at a fairly deep discount, and you can often pick up a pair for between 75 and 125 pounds. I’m often wary of seconds, but these are of such impeccable quality I don’t hesitate for a second to recommend them. Mr. Rushton vets them all and any shoes too damaged or imperfect to sell get sent right back.
Old Hat – David Saxby
Now, while it’s easy to pop up to Wimpole Street from Mayfair, getting to Old Hat and David Saxby takes a bit more effort. I promise you won’t regret it. Out on the Fulham High Street you’ll find David Saxby’s shops side by side, right in the middle of a typical high street scene, complete with betting parlors and news agents.
David Saxby, the man behind both these shops, is another of London’s great retail characters. Old Hat is his vintage store, which houses the greatest selection of used formal wear and morning dress in London. Now alongside these are shirts, hats, shoes, tailoring, outerwear, and pretty much anything else you might need. And it’s no charity shop. Quality is excellent, and I’ve seen old Savile Row, YSL, and Dunhill jackets on multiple occasions. I myself picked up a quite natty bottle-green velvet jacket with wide, seventies lapels and a flared skirt for less than a jacket would cost at the Regent Street Zara. It deserves to be mentioned, that Jeremy Hackett from Hackett is also a patron of Saxby’s Old Hat.
Just next door is Mr. Saxby’s namesake shop, where he offers waistcoats, cravats, socks, and a modest selection of new footwear as accoutrements to both Old Hat’s vintage offerings and his made to order tweed suiting. If you want real sporting tweeds, made in England, with a slightly dandy flair, there is no better value. Velvet collars and belts abound, and as I said, while there are models for you to try on, Mr. Saxby measures you and then has a coat made to your personal specifications – all this for the same prices as snatching up ready-made floor models, between 350 and 450 pounds depending on your styling. And if you ask nicely, he might even sing some country music for you while he measures.
The above are just two of many examples. Great products made and sold by great people makes for the perfect shopping experience. If you have any spots you’re partial to, whether in London or elsewhere, let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!John Rushton
93 Wimpole Street
London W1G 0EQ
+44 20 7629 1888
www.johnrushtonshoes.com David Saxby
60 – 62 Fulham High Street
London SW6 3LQ
020 7610 6638