Thank you to those who responded to my last enquiry on this which is now in the archive. I tried to get back, but no way was the software letting me and my e-mails went unanswered so I am starting again with a slightly different me.
For me fabric shopping in London always starts with Liberty’s off Regent Street, though I seldom buy outside the sales which are directly after Christmas and in July. Then I expect to find a good range of wools, designer silks and perhaps cashmeres at seriously reduced prices. Sometimes (though not this sale) they have large quantities of ‘faulty’ own label tana lawns and varunna wools. Usually you cannot spot what is supposed to be wrong with them.
From Liberty’s I might walk East into Soho to the area around Berwick Street where there are a number of slightly peculiar fabric shops – just stacks of bolts, not a label or a price in sight and only sold for cash. However if you know what you are doing and are prepared to take some time there are good bargains to be had. I am assured you will not be cheated, but it is tough shopping.
Alternatively I might walk up the Edgeware Road from Marble Arch. Donaco’s, on the left, specialises in bolt ends of designer fabrics. There are plenty of glitzy evening fabrics here but also wools and cotton shirtings (I now have a Versace blouse). I would guess the stock changes pretty quickly.
The really serious shopper should visit Joel’s. Keep right on up the Edgeware Road, past the underground station and then right into Church Street. Joel’s is on the right near the far end of the street market and does not look much on the outside. Inside it is stacked with fabrics of the highest quality. There is so much, and so little attempt at display that the casual shopper is bewildered. However if you have a good idea of what you want their endlessly patient assistants will search out selections they think might suit. Joel’s is not cheap though!
Meanwhile I am shortly heading for New York. Last year my husband tried a quick reconnaisance of the garment district for me in foul weather. He reported that most of the shops had fierce notices in the windows saying they accepted wholesale customers only. Was he in the wrong place?
Good fabric hunting!