We all know that Brighton has a lot to boast about; a beautiful and buzzing seafront, an action-packed pier, an endless array of indie cafes and restaurants and an incredible and varied nightlife scene. Brighton has, however, one very well kept secret that captures the very essence of our Bohemian town; The North Laine. A shopping mecca for in-the-know Brightonians, this maze of over 400 colourful, wonderful and often weird independent shops keeps its visitors busy for hours as they wander through treasure troves stocking goodies that you just simply don’t find in the large chain stores.
The name of this riot of retail dates back to Saxon times when ‘laine’ was a word used to describe the large arable fields that lay in Brighton. In this case, the laine in question consisted of five separate farming plots which themselves were split into smaller sections of land. It is the access tracks between each section that actually make up what is now the North Laine. Bet you didn’t know that eh?!
The North Laine is so easy to find when you know where to look! As you arrive at Brighton station, instead of heading straight forward down the road well-trodden, swing a left and you are smack bang in alternative shopping heaven.
With hundreds of shops to investigate this festive season, we thought we would do some of the leg work for you and give you our guide to our North Laine must-visits!
Jump the Gun
Hop on your Vespa and take a trip to this one-stop-shop for mod-inspired clothing!
Jump the Gun have been selling mod clothing from the same location here for the past 20 years; from a button badge to a mohair suit (all of it new, and mainly their own brand) they have something for anybody who, like the owners and staff, are into the Mod way of life. They pride themselves on not ‘doing’ fashion; they are guided by what looks and feels right and for them that’s early to mid-sixties garb!
Gresham Blake is an infamous design-led tailoring business with over fifteen years’ experience, combining traditional skills with modern techniques. Their team is made up of highly creative and skilled individuals who are passionate about not only the brand but in ensuring every customer leaves suited and booted to their own individual taste and complete satisfaction.
They only use the best cloths from British mills and even weave their own in house fabrics which are not available anywhere else. They stock an impressive range of city tweeds and Mohair’s and have made suits from everything imaginable!
Infinity Foods Shop and Bakery has what is probably the largest selection of organic and natural vegetarian and vegan foods in the South East. Their on-site bakery produces delicious hand-made breads daily, they sell a seasonally changing range of organic fruit and vegetables and they stock an impressive array of natural body care products.
It is the Infinity Food mission to provide food that is as far as possible, natural and unadulterated, free from GM and hydrogenated fat, organic and ‘Fairtrade’ accredited and sourced from companies with high ethical standards.
As well as trading and building relations with producers and suppliers in developing countries, they are equally as committed to sourcing as much as possible locally in Brighton. Whatever you choose to purchase, you can be sure it has been sourced responsibly and you are buying from a company that prides itself in being fair not just in business but their dealing with both suppliers and customers.
Jaba Yard is a family-run shop selling clothes, accessories, gifts and home wear at competitive prices. After 15 years of listening to their customers’ needs they felt it was becoming increasingly difficult to source clothes in flattering shapes, natural fabrics at affordable prices. They therefore set out to fill that gap in the market by selling clothes made from natural fabrics that look good on real woman rather than just what’s in fashion.
You may recognise this shop from Mary Portas’s ‘Mary Queen of Shops’ series! Ju-Ju is one of the longest-standing clothes retailers in the North Laine, so they are certainly doing a lot right! If you want to go off-piste on the labels front, Ju-Ju is a must-visit selling more small independent labels than you are likely to find anywhere else. They are constantly scouting for exciting new designers creating on-trend clothing and accessories with that special twist for fashion conscious guys and girls.
Noa Noa is an independent ladies fashion boutique and designers that offer semi-annual collections that are created to inspire a bohemian way of life. The label was started in 1981 when the aim was to create a softer, romantic and more feminine collection than the harsh lines that were in vogue at the time. Now in the current day, they offer romantic, one-off pieces as well as more urban everyday wear, as well as a beautiful homeware collection. Noa Noa aims to provide ethically sourced and beautifully crafted garments for women of all ages and styles.
When all that shopping has taken it out of you, Little Jasmine is the place to head to for a relaxing massage, beauty therapy or spa treatment. Treating both men and women, they use essential oil blends, gels and creams to purify, soothe, revitalize & restore balance to both mind and body. The atmospheric treatment room is styled in a simplistic fashion, providing a calm retreat in which to escape city life. Whether you want massage therapy, skin therapy or nail therapy, Little Jasmine offers it all. They have developed their very own unique brand of massage that fuses various techniques from the eastern and western world and leaves you n a perfect equilibrium of relaxed and energised.
The clue is in the title for this shop; it’s simply a shoe shop for vegetarians and vegans! Stocking both men and women’s shoes and boots, the footwear is non-leather and made-to-order from both the UK and Europe. Whether you order smart shoes, walking boots, work boots, trainers, or sandals, you can be sure they are created from high-tech breathable and water resistant Micro-fibres that look and feel like supple leather and suede, as well as glues and accessories that contain no animal by-products.
Silverado is an independent jewellery shop that plays host to the best contemporary designers from around the world. Nearly all their collections are handcrafted and made in a variety of styles to sit all tastes; from sterling silver to gold vermeil and costume jewellery ranges. This is the perfect place for some self-indulgence, shopping for a gift for a friend or even choosing that all-important engagement ring. They even stock collections from local jewellery designers Orelia, Scarlett and Alexis Dove and items are priced to suit all budgets.
The home of home accessories, Abode brings you beautifully designed linen and soft furnishings, glass, ceramics, lighting and gifts. As an independent boutique, the owners are always on the look-out for exciting new designers and you will often find items you won’t easily find anywhere else. Littala, Marimekko, Jonathan Adler, Jars Ceramiste, Rouge du Rhin, By Nord, Donna Wilson, SCP and Geneviève Levy are just some of the designers whose creations can be found adorning the shelves, as well many others.
artrepublic is your go-to place for cutting-edge collectable art, limited edition prints and a high-quality framing service. Not only do they offer a choice of over 5000 high quality art prints, but they are also a fascinating resource for all that’s happening in the art world. Making art accessible for everyone is their mission, so whether you’re a long-term collector or want a one-off piece to decorate your home, there will be something for you and you budget. Discover the latest works by legendary British artists such as Sir Peter Blake, Damien Hirst, Banksy and Marc Quinn, plus highly sought-after imported works from Mr Brainwash, Shepard Fairey and RETNA. We also showcase artists making an increasing impact on today’s art scene including Dave White, Pure Evil and Magnus Gjoen.
Trading since 1990, Emma Plus is one of the leading fashion boutiques stocking stunning designer clothing for women sized 18 plus. They stock most of the major designers and even have an alteration service to ensure their customers get the very perfect fit every time – often free of charge! The staff are experts in their field so can answer all your questions in a relaxed and friendly setting.
Edited opened in 2011 and has created a unique retail experience, offering design-led products for the home, including, artwork, home furnishings, lighting, cookware and soft furnishings. The owners created Edited as they had a passion for good design and a urge for great customer service and ow the store is a staple visit for any design lover. Their aim is to decorate the homes of the good folk of Brighton with affordable, contemporary and well-designed products, made to stand the test of time.
Glass River is home to Architectural Glass Artistry. They design and make architectural glass panels to commission, with the design often including text, often hidden or secret, which forms a pattern. Intrigued?! You’ve got to see it to believe it. The glass panels are printed with ceramic enamels and then fired in the kiln, with the lettering then fused into the glass. A fascinating process, with the end result being stunning one of-a-kind pieces of art.
A haven for all things made in Britain, Appendage sells unique and homemade accessories for the individual and the home. Focusing on colour, print and texture, they offer a wide range of products including ceramics, cards, cushions, jewellery, lampshades, prints, mirrors and textiles are available exclusively at Appendage. If you’re looking for items that are brimming with individuality, style and personality then look no further than Appendage.
iO Gallery offers a superb election of arts and crafts to its customers and is run by artists for artists. Having been exhibiting for over 15 years, they display and promote both local and national artists, offering many emerging talents a springboard for their creations. You can find art from across a wide spectrum of practices and exhibits, including mixed media, ceramics, limited edition prints, paintings, mirrors and lighting, glassworks and silver jewellery.
Ensuring that the art on offer is affordable, the artists are treated fairly and they are as ecological as possible, their work ethic is to be applauded and is just one of the reasons that this gallery continues to go from strength to strength as a hub for Brighton artists and art-lovers alike.
Kerrieberrie is a haven for all bead and jewellery lovers! The shop is packed full of everything you need to create beautiful jewellery, including beads, tools, findings, guide books and all other jewellery-making must-haves. They love to source unusual and inspiring beads and for those who need a hand in putting it all together, they hold workshops in jewellery making techniques.
Many customer have a good idea of what they are looking for when they enter the shop, however if it’s a little inspiration you need you can’t help but be inspired by the sheer diversity of the products non offer and the expertise of the staff. As well as their DIY offering, Kerriberrie also stock their very own range of jewellery unique to the store.
Leoframes has graced the North Laine for over 25 years, selling limited edition and open artworks and contemporary screen prints from a huge variety of artists and publishers. From the undeniable talent that is Damian Hirst to the cutesy Belle and Boo and local artist Richard Marsh, Leoframes has something for every taste and budget. This family-run business also specialise in made-to-measure frames, so whether it is a precious photograph, newspaper clipping, important map, first pair of shoes, certificate or even piece of needlework, they will craft the prefect preservation piece. Choose from over four hundred mouldings, deep box frames and scores of mount boards, including conservation-quality mounts, plus anti-glare and UV protection glass.
Pen to Paper
Pen to Paper is a stationer with a big difference, offering stylish and traditional stationery and pens that you seldom find in your average chain store. If you are looking for a luxury pen, you’ll find the Lamy range covers the entire spectrum from ballpoint to fountain. If you are a keep letter writer, note cards by Pomegranate and writing paper and tissue-lined envelopes by Lalo will set you soaring above the rest! Moleskin notebooks and diaries are best sellers and the designer wrapping paper and artistic greeting cards are sure to grab attention at any party!
Zoingimage is a thriving and colourful shop in Brighton specialising in Photography. They produce their very own range of gifts using their own in-house photographs printed on a large selection of products including both large and mini canvases, fridge magnets, coasters, and clocks.
As well as their own creations, they stock a variety of Lomography products, fun and educational DIY cameras, instant cameras, instant film, 35mm, 120mm, photography books and plenty more photography-related gifts.
Once you have got to grips with your new and snazzy camera, Zoingimage also offer a printing service on a wide range of products such as phone cases, coasters, fridge magnets and more.
If you love a spot of make and do with your little ones, then this creative cavern will get your juices flowing! Whirligig is an independent and highly creative toy shop, specialising in all things to make and do – fun and memorable toys that will make children of all ages and abilities become inspired, think and really enjoy the experience. They have sourced a whole variety of unusual and unique suppliers, always trying to find new and different toys that are sure to win over their customers. You’ll discover sewing kits, origami sets, construction toys, model making and beautiful colouring in and activity books. If cutting and sticking doesn’t get you excited then they also stock a unique range of wooden toys, created by master craftsmen especially for your little loved ones.
This is the home of the super sleek and super stylish Dutch bicycle. These genuine design classics allow you to enjoy cycling in timeless elegance and comfort – perfect for those leisurely seafront cycle rides! Not just for playtime, the quality built into the Dutch roadster makes it a serious alternative to other forms of urban transport, making it easy to ditch the bus trip to work and get your bike, swish down the streets, past people and cars in full glory. Amsterdammers stock a full range of new bicycles or second hand women’s and men’s models, together with parts and accessories.
This is quite simply a cave of bargainous wonders for anyone who loves collectables, bric-a-brac, vintage and retro clothing and home accessories and furniture….and that is just the first floor! Take a trip up the stairs and you will find an independent maker’s vintage boutique, art space and workshop featuring over twenty designers, makers and hoarders. With everything from vintage clothing to hand-crafted jewellery, the ‘Attic’ as it is known, is home to the most curious array of homewares and accessories you could imagine, with a strong eco aesthetic and even stronger character.
Nandobbie is a small boutique specialising in mid-century and retro furniture, glass, ceramics, lighting and other artefacts. The owners aim to bring you the quirky, the unusual and the most stunning vintage, mid-century and antique furniture from antique Victorian gentlemans desks to mid-century 1960’s sideboards, art deco bars, chests of drawers and cupboards and storage units.
Nanadobbie’s lighting department is incredibly popular – perhaps due to it featuring items as beautiful as an art deco glass table lamp, a Maison Jansen style exotic palm tree or an urban and industrial standard lamp. They sell an array of different Hollywood Regency style lighting, high end Italian brass pieces as well as vintage desk lamps. All the lamps have been fully rewired and ready to go, meeting all safety regulations.