Dispatch from London: Labour and Wait

At least five people recommended that I visit the shop Labour and Wait, in the Brick Lane area of London. A meld of a hardware store, curio shop and fashion boutique, Labour and Wait offers timeless and classic design basics for living simply:

"The inspiration for Labour and Wait came from owners Rachel Wythe-Moran and Simon Watkins, both designers with menswear backgrounds who grew frustrated at having to redesign products and ranges every season.

There was no time allowed for products to mature and establish themselves and, in time, become classics themselves. The demands of seasonal retail trends had become more important than the products being sold.

To counter this, Rachel and Simon envisioned a place where functional, well designed, timeless products would always be available. Taking inspiration from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s exhortation to ‘Learn to Labour and to Wait’, they set up shop in 2000 in the old Victorian terrace of Cheshire Street, in the heart of East London’s market district. Here, they gradually sourced all the products that fitted their ethos of functionality, quality and honesty, and slowly established themselves as one of the leading independent shops in London." Read more on their website.

The shop is empeccably curated and very focused in its aesthetic. Simple tags, twine and butcher string brand the everyday items such as brushes, pencils and enamel cups. Their extensive inventory is available in their online shop as well.

Shopkeeper Richard was very agreeable to my photo-taking while he was busy assembling the workglove packaging (which makes all the difference in elevating the mundane into something special).

He asked that I take a portrait of him smiling for his mum:

Well worth a visit when you're in London.