U.K. All the Way
Fittingly for a store named after a street in the East End of London, the quaint boutique Brick Lane was started by - and is popular with - devoted Anglophiles. Amanda Dugan, a Yank with a longtime love of all things British, opened the shop two years ago within walking distance of Venice Beach.
Brick Lane, which is located in a century-old Craftsman house, has the feel of a cozy cottage in the English countryside, complete with a fireplace in the front room. Its British bona fides include a signature red phone booth on the front lawn and a motto that would make Winston Churchill weep in his Watney's with pride: "All U.K., all the time!"
A walk through the premises makes it clear that Dugan, to borrow a line from the quintessentially British band the Kinks, is a dedicated follower of fashion. Her specialty "big surprise" is clothing from the U.K. that isn't readily found here in the colonies. Women's lines include, ISSA, Orla Kiely, John Smedley, Nougat, Sophia Swire and Anya Hindmarch. For men, there's Fred Perry, Oliver Spencer, Ted Baker and more.
"I buy things in style but not necessarily things that are trendy, " says Dugan. "I was raised with the premise to invest in quality, as opposed to buying things that are cheaper because you can buy in quantity. I buy pieces that will last you longer then a season - not just in style, but in the quality of the good."
Best of all for shoppers, the mood is as great as the merch. The ocean air is a far cry from Carnaby Street, but the English accents are irresistible. If you feel the urge, ask for a cup of tea and retire to the porch swing on a beautiful beach day.