Stockist Stories: 69b Boutique, London
69b Boutique is the kind of shop that makes me miss London, having braved it and moved to the coast, but also incredibly grateful for the internet!
It’s slap bang in hip Broadway Market’s centre, not far from London Fields. And ex stylist Merryn, owner of the boutique, has an admirable, steadfast view when it comes to sustainability – so we’re delighted that you’ll now find our Thoughtful Clothing in-store. Being among very good contemporary company (Merryn stocks some of the edgiest sustainable brands around) only serves to makes us all the more thrilled.
Read on to get to know Merryn and 69b Boutique more…
Hi Merryn, please tell our readers a bit about your shop?
69b believes that in order for a truly modern fashion culture to exist, all involved must be committed to working sustainably. Therefore, 69b only works with brands that are helping to create a more transparent and accountable industry, while at the same time, keeping a strong focus on design, style and product value.
How did you come up with the name 69b?
The shop number provided a subtle reference to the stores core philosophy and concept without sounding too eco. The 6 & 9 are a graphic interpretation of the yin and yang symbol, as well as representing equal pleasure.
Both references reflect our belief that the experience of all involved in the industry should be pleasurable and balanced, with more equality. Everyone has the right to conduct business in a fair way, to be shown respect, to not suffer. The shop number seemed poignant and fortuitous.
How long have you had your shop and how did it come to be?
69b has been open for almost six years. Prior to this I was a stylist and fashion editor working for the likes of i-D Magazine, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as consulting with brands and designers like Levi’s & Isabel Marant.
As I climbed the career ladder I began to sense a lack of moral integrity and transparency within the industry. This prompted a period of research where I learnt about the realities of cotton farming and production practices. I was deeply disturbed by what I discovered. It was shocking how unsustainable the fashion industry really was. I felt driven to take action. I’d always wanted to own a shop, the stars aligned, and the opportunity to open 69b manifested.
69b Boutique is in Hackney, London. What’s your favourite thing about the area?
According to some press sources, Hackney is the hippest area in London, if not the world!
It has a wonderful mix of creative and diverse businesses and thanks to its wonderful residents, has a genuine community spirit. You can’t get more than five metres down the street without bumping into someone you know, or seeing someone wearing 69b.
Where’s your favourite nearby place to relax and be thoughtful?
A swim at the London Fields Lido is always a treat, especially when followed by people watching in London Fields.
Tiosk on Broadway Market is a great spot for a healthy bite and a matcha latte. The Hive on Cambridge Heath Road do great smoothies and organic wine tasting events. And for a good dance The Queen Adelaide on Hackney Road has an eclectic line up of DJs and events.
Are there any other hidden gems you’d like to share?
The Hackney City Farm is a great example of the wonderful community one can find in East London. You can buy fresh eggs from their many chickens (who roam freely around the farm), get up close and personal with donkeys and sheep, followed by a delicious meal made using organic produce from the farm.
I also recommend a visit to E5 Bakehouse who make THE most delicious bread, baked goods and lunches, using locally sourced and organic produce. They also do unique pop up dinner events working with foods from all over the world, to support local groups and charities. Plus you can learn to bake by doing one of their courses.
What was the last book you read?
Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre by Dana Thomas. While this book is a few years old now, it is still relevant to the industry today as it exposes an awful side of the luxury fashion industry that still exists.
On one hand a depressing read, but also a motivational tool that confirms the importance of the values we have at 69b. It changed my understanding of luxury fashion forever.
It’s really great to have you as a stockist of our Thoughtful Clothing. We’d love to know which is your favourite piece from our new collection?
The Inga Rae Dress.
Who would you like to dress in our Thoughtful Clothing if you could?
All female members of Parliament.
What’s life outside the shop like for you?
Busy! I have two beautiful boys aged nine and five years so I often feel like a PA dealing with their busy lives. I try and escape to the Kent seaside as often as possible as it’s the only things that makes me stop, otherwise it’s just go, go, go.
Where the last place you travelled to?
How and what do you do to unwind? Maybe you have a tip for our readers?
I am an adrenaline junkie with a lot to juggle so unwinding is not at the top of my list. I love to be wound up. I do eat healthily though and I try to do yoga and meditation to help me to slow down.
And what about living thoughtfully? How do you embrace it?
I constantly drive myself, my family and my staff crazy trying to do everything as sustainably as possible, especially when it comes to consuming. I always try and find the most ethical and environmentally sound version of everything. Have you ever searched for eco staples?!
Our mantra is ‘Wear me, love me, mend me, pass me on’. What would yours be?
Coco Chanel and I say, “Don’t be like the rest of them darling.”
HUGE thanks, Merryn!