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Does it work?

Stefan Siegel, Founder of designer etailer Not Just A Label, reviews the site.

In 2000, Rachel Wythe-Moran and Simon Watkins opened Labour and Wait in the heart of east London’s market district. Both were designers with menswear backgrounds who grew frustrated at having to redesign products and ranges every season. They wanted to create a place where people could buy timeless and classic design basics for living simply. They did not want to have to think about seasons or trends, but focus on the beauty of design. For the past 12 years they have searched out specialist makers from around the world, many of whom manufacture their goods in traditional processes and with original designs, keeping to the original practice set up by the manufacturers even hundreds of years ago. From hardware to clothing, Labour and Wait offers products that celebrate functional design in a traditional or contemporary environment.

Taking inspiration from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s exhortation to “learn to labour and to wait”, they found the perfect space and sourced products that fitted their mantra of functionality, quality and honesty.

A mantra they keep today with the addition of their online shop in 2012.

The e-shop is carefully curated and steeped in the Labour and Wait aesthetic, originally created in the shop on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch. It features collections of new and vintage items that will never be out of date and that will become more beautiful with age. Basic tags – twine and butcher string – brand the pieces, and tell a story of a more simple life.

The great thing about the online shop is the way of thinking about design; retaining a simple, utilitarian aesthetic. Unanimous product photography and a straight-to-the-point checkout system tap into the same no-nonsense attitude that the shop lives by. The blog also shows great gift ideas and is constantly filled with new arrivals to the e-shop.

Today we live in a mass-market where people always desire something new. We live in a wasteful society, where great designs are only loved for a short period. At Labour and Wait, the whole concept is about finding that one great thing that you will keep forever.

It is quite inspiring to see a whole store devoted to this way of thinking.

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