Getting Mercantile in W9


Ok, so I'm not a West London deviant but I'll make the exception for some of the extra 'spesh' places.  On the basis that I trekked out to W9 on a bitterly cold Saturday when our good ol' Tube was conking out all over the shop, Merchant Archive in Queen's Park is officially 'spesh' in my book.  I was secretly worried I'd be disappointed and come away with nothing but a glum face, wearing the t-shirt "I've survived the Bakerloo line…". 

Disneyrollergirl, always on the spot and on the trot with her posts wrote about Merchant Archive back in April which just goes to show how looooong it has taken for me to get my arse into gear.  Thanks to this image from Volt magazine, I was once again reminded of Merchant Archive, this tucked away vintage retreat run by Sophie Merchant.  They featured a 1920s piano print jumpsuit which is also online on their e-store which is a fairly accurate indicator of what Merchant Archive's vintage selection is all about…



It was a case of literally walking in and doing a quick sweep around of the rails with the eyes and then immediately seeing things that sprung out from a distance.  Then upon closer inspection, piece after piece of amazingness came flying out at me and so I ended up taking up probably a bigger chunk of time than Sophie had expected.  For that I apologise as well as for over-fingering her treastures.  Whilst Sophie may be Merchant by name, I wouldn't say she's mercantile by nature judging by her selection of pieces which are often, rarities in terms of age as well as being pieces that she genuinely LOVES.  I use capitals because as she showed me around, her enthusiasm about every piece was infectious.  Not that she needed to infect or convince me in any way because I was already ooh-ing and aah-ing all on my own… disturbingly so actually…

The oohs and aahs first started off with this pale blue dress embroidered with flowers, which is so artfully frayed I though an independent designer had done some clever shredding.  It's all the natural wear and tear that has given it this level of distress that is actually kind of perfect.  This isn't distressing of the holey jean variety.  Oh and that it's powder blue mixed with peach almost tipped me over to buying it but alas at the time, I was mulling over whether such a delicate thing could survive my brash clothing treatment.


DSC_2304 DSC_2307

Another stunning bit of natural wear and tear on this peach jacket with lace detailing that is also perfectly aged and yellow.  Quite often, highgrade vintage is often rated when it's in immaculate condition but I think in the case of these two pieces, they're almost preferable with the severe aging…



Sophie's selection does excel in late Victorian-early 20th century pieces and she has managed to spot the pieces that look like they could be flung on or paired easily.  I may have a penchant for challenging clothing but I'm definitely not going to object to a beautiful Victorian blouse or jacket that goes with say my Preen leather trousers or super thick leggings just like that.


DSC_2320 DSC_2321

Same goes for this tiered cape that is calling to be flung over a ton of my blah blah blah pieces // The collar on this dentelle black lace tiered dress makes me cry a little for having to leave it on the rail…

DSC_2365 DSC_2361

My crushed velvet obsession was excarcerbated by this orange ruffled jacket with Elizabethan-esque sleeves…

DSC_2345 DSC_2352

In the window is also I think one of the most covetable pieces of vintage Lanvin I've seen.  Sure, I'll be searching on eBay and come across some nice prints but never have I seen a pair of high-waisted wide-leg cream wool trousers that look like you could live in them…


Sophie and I share a love of unusual hats/headpieces as prvoeen by this 20s' chain-malil effect knight's hood and 60s Balenciaga fluffy wig hat.  The hood is kind of like an upgrade of my old aviator cap…

DSC_2324 DSC_2326

I have never really got on board with the whole 'pirate' thing until I saw this beauty… I'd probably try and get away from pirate altogether and just concentrating on going all op-arty in the outfit to try and do the pattern justice.


In the back of Merchant Archive, there's a glass display unit filled with vintage bits and bobs, beaded pieces, feathers, trimmings etc forming an antique haberdashery of sorts.  Most bits and pieces are genuinely old and in some ways as lovely as the whole vintage pieces just because you can well imagine a piece of fabric sewn onto something of your own as an epaulette or a trimming going on the hem of your own skirt. 


Love the fact that these tapestry bracelets come as a pair… could well see them as shirt cuffs…


Like a few other boutiques that have opened up in London, Sophie has also mixed in new designers along with the vintage at Merchant Archive, concentrating on labels that have little retail representation in London such as New Zealand label Zambesi (illustrated by the PVC coat on the left) and Common-T (the dyed dress Sophie is holding up), a Bangkok-based label she came across recently on her travels.  I'll also have to investigate a designer I hadn't come across before; Stefania Borras, who Merchant Archive are currently stocking…

DSC_2318 DSC_2374

More familiar new offerings come in the form of Bordelle


…and Fleet Ilya


Of course, the whole experience of Merchant Archive, whilst relying heavily on the carefully selected pieces of vintage is also aided by their surroundings; the interiors of an old Lipton general store that have surprisingly survived through the years… plenty of "original features", that property buzzword that gets Kirsty Allsop all excited…


Respecting the original interiors, the rest of the store is decorated accordingly…

DSC_2339 DSC_2382

DSC_2342 DSC_2333

DSC_2356 DSC_2357


Like many of my favourite stores in London, Merchant Archive also tries to create their own universe that represents what they're about so at the moment, they've dedicated their space to the special collective project of Anna & The Witche's Bottle, a children's book illustrated by fashion illustrator Rohan Eason, written by Geoff Cox which was created to go with the music of Martin Roman Rebelski (from the Doves).  It helps that Eason's beautifully detailed and strictly black ink illustrations fit perfectly in Merchant Archive… 

DSC_2363 DSC_2362



So I did mean for Merchant Archive to go in as part of a round up of 'stores-I've-been-meaning-to-visit-but-haven't-yet' (catchy category, I know) but as it turned out, it was that spesh that a sole post is required.  I'm rooting for you, Bakerloo Line, serve me well and I'll come away happy…

64 Replies to “Getting Mercantile in W9”

  1. It is an amazing store and only a few seconds walk from Queens Park tube which is on the bakerloo line – in itself only 20 mins from central London (ox Circ). I wonder if they still have the Paloma Picasso vintage sunnies I REALLY wanted last year? Hmmm, may need to pop in soonish…

  2. Hey Susie, Just like to say i really enjoy reading your blog, and have been a fan for awhile now.
    I just came across these cool shoulder statement neckwear pieces on etsy MADE OF GREY FELT by Giia. Anyways i thought it was your kinda style (i may be wrong)
    I like them myself, would nicely update a basic tee or add something extra to an oufit.
    Look forward to your future blogs!
    Kayleigh x

  3. Oh my. Thank you so much for doing this post. Because of it, I went to their site to look at the collections and nearly cried. Everything is so beautiful, and the sheer pieces made me so excited just thinking about what could be done with them in one’s closet!

  4. wow all those garments are so amazing and fabulous I don’t come to your blog as often as I would like, but whenever I do I see some really amazing things keep up the good work! =)

  5. Thankyou so much for including our book, Anna and the Witch’s Bottle, Merchant Archive is a truly beautiful shop, and one we feel very privileged to be part of.

  6. wow all those garments are so amazing and fabulous I don’t come to your blog as often as I would like, but whenever I do I see some really amazing things keep up the good work! =)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *