Local Loves: Straw London

We’ve always got our eye out for independent makers and artisans who set up shop near our salon in East London. Which is why we were delighted when we spotted Straw London take over a much-loved spot on Wilton Way for the next few months. An Instagram favourite, Straw London source beautiful and unique vintage straw bags from far-flung places and bring them back to London through way of their online store and various pop-ups. Hand-sourced and each with an individual story, we love that these bags and have been preserved and are now finding new homes.

After a successful Straw & Friends pop-up on Columbia Road with some of our own favourite brands - Bug Clothing, Kana London and Eesome - Straw have now set up home for the next three months in a sunny spot right by London Fields. With a more dedicated space, brand founder Emily has expanded her collection of straw, crochet and wicker bags, as well as adding some beautiful vintage ceramics, jewellery, candles and other bits and bobs to the shelves. We thought it only right to catch up with our new neighbour Emily and find out a little more about all things Straw.

Tell us about Straw London and what inspired you to start the brand?

Straw London started as a personal collection which grew and grew and after at least six months of not being able to get into my living room, I decided it was time to start sharing my collection with others. I started collecting while shopping for vintage t-shirts at flea markets in California. I found such fantastic bags that pretty soon I was more interested in the bags than the t-shirts!

How do you go about sourcing your bags? Where are some of the far-flung places you’ve found them?

I’ve worked in fashion for a number of years and have been fortunate to travel to some amazing places. Wherever I go, I’m always on the look out for bags and baskets. Some of my favourite finds have been in California, Berlin and France. These are ones which I haven’t seen since and cannot bear to part with!

What do you think is so unique about a straw bag and why do people love them so much?

I’ve found that people love straw bags so much because they are beautiful, versatile and unique as each one is handmade. It’s a dying craft and I think people really appreciate that they are giving new life to forgotten items and techniques. Our collection is also a point of difference to the mass production of the high street/fast fashion. Each bag we source is labelled with its name and the location in which it was found. Instagram has been fundamental to the growth of the brand and it’s so great to see people’s responses to our bags. I’ve found that I’m certainly not the only one with a straw bag collection!

It has also enabled me to connect with artists all over the world and work with them on creating some exciting new pieces. Soon we will be stocking some of my own designs to compliment the ever changing vintage selection.

Tell us about your new home on Wilton Way. What are some of your favourite things to do/places to visit locally?

Tom from J Glinert was kind enough to loan us his beautiful space for a few months. Wilton Way is such a special street and it is great to have a shop window as our previous pop-up (Straw and Friends on Columbia Road) did not. It means I can get more creative with sourcing other vintage products such as ceramics and homeware which complement my bag selection.

It is such a treat to feel part of a great community. Everyone is so friendly and we are surrounded by some amazing businesses. Momosan for her beautiful curation of interesting products, Wilton Way Deli - Francesca is keeping us alive with her delicious Parmigiana, Amir from Footnotes has been so kind and welcoming and of course Violet - whose sweet treats are difficult to resist.

We are so lucky with great places to eat nearby but one of our favourites is an Aperol Spritz and bowl of pasta at Ombra after a walk through London Fields.

Thanks Emily!

Browse the Straw London collection here.

Images: Phoebe Ede for Glasshouse Journal

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