Jeans may well be the most commonly worn item of clothing around the world but everyone knows it’s notoriously difficult to buy a pair that fit well. Luckily, there are a handful of shops and streets in London that offer as good a denim selection as you are likely to find anywhere in the world. Here are some of our favourites that not only stock some of the best jeans around, but also make the process that little bit less daunting.
Covent Garden once sat at the denim apex in London; that crown has now gone to Carnaby Street, but America Vintage is still drawing fans of proper Americana. It’s a destination in London for aficionados of vintage denim, many of whom still pay homage to that most storied brand, the one with the greatest denim folklore: Levis. Vintage 501s and 508s are piled up here in an array of washes. Apart from the jeans, there are plenty of other garments associated American workwear: washed t-shirts, heavy plaid shirts and boots.
20, Endell Street, WC2H 9BD More Info
Shopping in East London is largely limited to the very boutiquey or avant garde. But there are a couple of shops in close proximity to each other with fabulous denim. Dutch brand Denham and Japanese Edwin are both on Charlotte Road, in what many consider to be the heart of Shoreditch – the streets branching off Curtain Road and Rivington Street. Edwin and Denham are celebrated contemporary denim brands, producing styles and cuts that have developed cult followings. Similarly, both also decided to put their London stores in Shoreditch rather than follow the pack in Soho.
Charlotte Road, EC2A 3QT
Don’t be put off by the apparent distance to Donna Ida. It’s but a hop, skip and jump from Qbic, with the district line taking you direct to the other side of London at Sloane Square. Donna Ida is an upmarket denim store for women. The story goes that Ida came to London from Australia and couldn’t find a decent place to buy jeans, so set up her own store. She now has three, two of which are in close proximity in Chelsea and primarily cater for the famously wealthy ladies of this corner of London. It has since drawn a wider audience who flock to the wide range of women’s denim brands on offer.
106 Draycott Avenue, SW3 3AE More Info
The famous street has undergone an evolution from being the centre of mods in the 70s, turning into a parody of that identity in the 80s and later just a naff street with cheap sunglasses and novelty touristy tat. More recently, however, it’s developed a rather more appealing identity. Along with Great Marshall Street which runs parallel to Carnaby, you can find some of the best denim brands around within this pedestrianised small patch. There are two Levi’s stores (a mass one and more boutique outlet), Diesel, Evisu, Lee, G-Star, Flying Horse, Scotch&Soda and Albam.
Carnaby St, W1F
There are so many reasons not to include Liberty on this list: It’s a department store, it means having to negotiate the horror of Oxford Circus, it’s knocked smaller shops off this list. But Liberty really is a great place to buy denim. It’s also a much more charming and less mentally exhausting department store than behemoths like Selfridges and Harrods. Rather than carpet bombing and stocking as many brands as possible like many of its rivals, Liberty is known to take a careful approach to buying. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the denim section, where there’s a wonderful mix of styles, brands and prices, all within a manageable space.
Regent St, W1B 5AH More Info