Above: The Pleasant Lady food stall at Old Spitalfields Market in London

Still Edgy or Gentrified and Bland? An Investigative Trip to Shoreditch

Some Londoners complain that Shoreditch, a once-edgy neighborhood just north of the City, has become overgentrified. The Chanel boutique in the Old Spitalfields Market and the “street art” mural by Gucci would seem to support that argument. On our recent visit, we took an afternoon to explore the neighborhood to see if it remains a bastion of hipsterdom, complaints of gentrification notwithstanding.

We discovered that although Shoreditch has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, it has yet to become bland. Fancy boutiques occupy storefronts near vintage vinyl shops, and although a few chain stores like Club Monaco and J. Crew have arrived, they have yet to push out all the interesting shops. The famous street-art scene also remains alive and well. For the moment, at least, Shoreditch has an appealing balance of upscale and edgy.
This itinerary follows in my footsteps and provides a good introduction to the neighborhood.

Lunch at Old Spitalfields Market

This covered market dates to the late 19th century, but a market of some sort has stood on the site since 1638. Now, rather than wholesalers of vegetables, it contains stylish small boutiques, food stalls, craft stands and a barbershop offering “beard sculpting,” among other services.

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