On a bright Sunday afternoon, after the paper has been read and a few coffees drunk I like nothing more than a stroll down Upper Street, occasionally stopping off at Euphorium Bakery but more often than not aiming for the ever popular and always tasty Ottolenghi. In addition to filling my stomach the walk through Angel offers a number of enticing retail opportunities. Diverse and Sefton are ever tempting as both play host to the latest collections from exciting designers including globally renowned labels and fresh, new design talent. Now the temptation to partake in a spot of weekend consumerism has increased with the introduction of Albam's third store at 286 Upper Street (right next to Ottolenghi...oh temptation!). Founded in Nottingham in 2006 by James Shaw and Alastair Rae, initially as an online mail order company with just seven designs in the catalogue, over the last few years Albam have gone from strength to strength and deservedly so. In addition to the original Beak Street store the bloggers' favourite brand have recently spread their offering out east to the historic Spitalfields Market and now to my neck of the woods with the store in Angel. The trio of Albam stores offer a significant platform for the brand while still keeping it tight to ensure that they are discovery/best kept secret for their loyal customers. The guys had their opening party last Thursday and I wisely left the camera at home before one too many beers were consumed but I returned sober as a judge to take a few shots of the intimate yet impressive new space on Sunday. Grab my outstretched virtual hand and let me guide you through the two floors...
This rail and window display will ultimately pull me inside every time I'm in the area. The fruit of the Albam x Quoddy collaboration is particularly inviting.
The guys consistently create well made staples that can effortlessly slot in to and ultimately add something fresh to any wardrobe. These are a selection of items that provide solid foundations for any stylish wardrobe to built around.
With the ever present danger of a May downpour the outerwear is a good option. The Parka Rain Mac (front) is inspired by a famous shot of Steve McQueen. The raglan sleeve mac is looser fit, crafted in England from Teflon finished cotton canvas to help ensure you stay dry.
A grey elbow patch cardi sits in front of a carefully selected rail just in front of the initial rail.
The elbow patch cardi.A simple cardigan knit, crafted from the finest Giza cotton. Details include tan suede elbow patches and an internal melton patch pocket. It is a simple and versatile piece, ideal for layering.
These colourful shopper bags help cut down on plastic bag use in some style. Made in England from 100% cotton canvas.
The attractive view of the basement level. Denim, footwear, knitwear and shirting are all very tempting.
Albam's ever popular denim is woven in Japan but crafted in England. Supplied dry they develop a character all of their own as they are worn.
The first issue of Inventory looks at home sandwiched between chinos and denim.
The guys are working on a book and exhibition which will document the craft and craftsmen that help make up Albam. To whet our appetite two framed images sit hand on the downstairs wall.
I have my eye on this shopping bag to inject a bit of Summer cheer and I think it is about time I tried on a pair of jeans.
As it grows, Albam continues to manufacture their products in Great Britain and where possible and, when it is not, they look as close to home as possible for alternatives. They now have good friends in Portugal, USA and Italy adding to the craftsmanship which is a fundamental facet of the label. We love how the duo aim to bring as much product back to Britain and how they have spent the last couple of years building a business which is enabling their British factories to grow and develop along with them. With the chaps opening this store on Upper Street there is a danger that my Sunday afternoons might become that bit dearer.