My early memories of UK high-street fashion included its mind-numbing sameness. It was like everyone that lived here went to the same school of fashion cloning. I was terribly bored and responded by stomping around wearing brightly coloured mekhalas and ethnic fashion items. After all, what is the fun is looking exactly like the person standing next to you? Of course I had not yet discovered Brick Lane or other quirky corners of this country where fashion rebellion does exist. Though I've now relaxed my stance on the high-street (I love Cos, Zara, Mango, H&M collaborations, River Island etc.), I continue to feel fashion fatigue.
It was in in response to this fatigue that I started my quest for unique and original fashion. I found that little dress-agencies selling retro fashion, charity shops and small boutiques are often the best bets for finding quirky and one-off fashion items. I usually research a place in advance of visiting to ensure I optimise time. However, I love surprise finds like Bird's Yard in Leeds. I was walking back from a meeting in Leeds to the train station when I spotted this store. It has a relatively unassuming exterior but is a veritable treasure trove of vintage couture, quirky fashion and unique home accessories inside.
Bird's Yard is an collection of independent boutiques selling vintage fashion, jewellery and home accessories including up-cycled chairs and handmade cushion covers.I love the Bird's Shell store in particular (on the topmost floor) which sells and hires out unique and highly embellished items of clothing. I also found an original 1930's tan satchel which felt like meeting history face-to-face. Bird's Yard is probably the only place in Leeds that stocks Tatty Devine, another favourite.The other interesting items included coke, beer and juice bottle tops recycled to make earrings, and cointreau and gin bottles recycled as lampshades. The downstairs is home to the Marvellous Tea Room which is kitsch and welcoming. I loved Bird's Yard so much that I could not stop myself from taking far too many photos. Some of my favourites are here. Have you got any favourite independent stores where you live? I tend to travel around the UK a fair bit so I'd love to discover other unique stores after a long working day. Ann x