If your neighbours suddenly look like they’re straight out of a Woodstock documentary, that may be down to E10’s woman of the moment, Ella Lennard.
Ella Pop Shop – see what she did there? – opened on Francis Road last weekend – a carefully curated ladies vintage store, with clothes from the 1960s onwards, from across Europe.
Ella moved to London from France 20 years ago to open a shop for a French designer, bringing along with her a huge collection of vintage clothing she had amassed over the years. Thanks to a shared love of vintage with a local café owner she started to sell some of her wares in the café, followed by stints at Wood Street Market, The Red Lion, and more recently at her six-week pop-up on Leytonstone High Road – thanks to Waltham Forest Council and Meanwhile Space. She’s now a permanent member of (what some call) Leyton Village, even if the store name is confusing some people (it’s pop as in popular, noisy and spontaneous, not temporary).
Ella fell in love with the road at first sight and says it’s great to find so many people who are not scared to be different. “By buying vintage you are getting something which is truly unique, but not only that, you are reducing production and waste that could otherwise go to landfill. All my clothes are well-made, affordable and have a lot of life left in them.” And she’s right: near-perfect wool blazers, silk blouses and mini skirts are from just £15.
She isn’t just about the antique originals though, as she collaborates with sustainable designers and upcyclers for new and restored items, including handstitched bags made by women in South India, cushions using original 70s fabrics, and statement jewellery by independent makers, Esoteric London.
Vintage clothing may not be a new trend, but not having to wade through masses of trash to find your treasure is a definite plus. Ella can spend up to three hours at a time scrambling through warehouses piled with items. “I do all the hard work of searching, so my customers don’t have to.”
Main image: Kim Watson