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Traffic People, London

Its owner’s theatrical background sets the stage for this store’s tongue-in-cheek product

The Traffic People store, on the edge of Spitalfields Market in east London, is a theatrical-inspired goldmine of vintage-esque womenswear and jewellery.

The 1,100sq ft shop, located in an old, listed former bank building with huge oak doors, stocks mainly own-label womenswear alongside a few jewellery brands. But the quirky store (Traffic People has a second store on London’s Carnaby Street) is heavily influenced by co-owner and designer Louise Reynolds’ previous career as a costume designer for the theatre.

The store features props such as old suitcases, a Victorian pram and a rocking horse, which all double as fixtures to merchandise the clothes, which also spill out of trunks, giving the feel of rummaging through a dressing-up box. The original parquet floor is offset by an inlay of black and white tiles, and framed black and white prints adorn the walls.

An antique jewellery cabinet at the rear of the store displays vintage jewellery and sits next to an old-fashioned suitcase displaying vintage sunglasses. Accessories sit on a large glass table and even the cash register doubles as a display cabinet. Clothing is merchandised by colour on white, wooden rails.

Huge chandeliers hang from the ornate ceiling, alongside Victorian-style floor lamps. The bespoke pink wallpaper has a Traffic People logo and is evocative of a Victorian nursery or doll’s house. On the adjoining walls, plaster has been stripped back to bare brick in parts, giving it a rough edge, which contrasts cleverly with the feminine clothing.

Reynolds says the theatre behind the shopfit is inspired by iconic literary characters, such as the eccentric eternal bride Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, and Traffic People’s shopfit has a distinctively Victorian treasure-box feel.

Reynolds explains: “My clothes are quite tongue-in-cheek. In a way, the store environment sets the tone of how the clothing is to be worn. I’ve tried to keep the shopfit quite rough, to contrast with the clothes. I see people wearing my clothes with ballet pumps or flats to give them an edge, for instance.”

Reynolds says she is looking at launching new categories, such as bags, footwear and T-shirts. She will also open an old-fashioned tea shop this summer, which will adjoin the Spitalfields store.
Traffic People also wholesales to UK stores including USC, as well as exporting to Europe. It has a concession in Topshop and a transactional website. Reynolds hopes to have 10 stores in London in the next three to four years and will open two menswear stores in central London next month.

Essentials

  • Two Number of Traffic People stores in the UK
  • 2001 Year the brand’s first shop opened
  • 10 Target number of London stores within three to four years

Traffic People, 61-63 Brushfield Street, London E1

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