Session time: when I stumbled across Merchant 24 I was in fact heading for Shop @ the Bluebird for this week’s Top of the Shops. A destination previously avoided for its inescapable links with a certain scripted reality show, Bluebird somehow felt like this tiny feature’s version of selling out. But journalistic integrity prevailed (plus the arrival of Autumn/Winter collections, obviously), so off I trotted to King’s Road in the name of reporting unbiased and essential shopping news. Had I known about The Merchant 24 beforehand, it might have been more easily bypassed, banked for another time and my original mission saved. However on this occasion in my (apparently) fickle and distracted state it proved too intriguing to miss.
A vintage shop in appearance, the concept behind the boutique is that everything is second-hand, not sourced in the traditional way but sold in the shop on behalf of private sellers; i.e. people with far too many designer clothes who want to create wardrobe space. The result is a shop packed full of designer clothing and accessories, everything has a label and is past season. Typically, shopping for designer vintage or second hand means rummaging and haggling unless you’re willing to pay a huge mark-up. Merchant 24 takes away the legwork, you’re guaranteed to find genuine articles and the shop is merchandised in looks like a traditional boutique. So while this means the clothes still carry pretty weighty price tags – most pieces I picked up were priced between £150-£300 – it’s an amazing opportunity to bag a designer bargain from a favourite.
- Carys Kirkpatrick