We chat to Kate from The Keep boutique based in the heart of Brixton Village, to discover how her love of slow living began and why she swears by yoga and ‘cold-water swimming’.

Hannah brixton village sustainable shops

Stockist Stories: The Keep boutique in the heart of Brixton Village

Tell us a bit about your shop. How did it start? How did you come up with the name?

The Keep stocks a curated selection of ethical fashion, clothes to keep and treasure. I decided on the name because it encapsulates everything we believe in – and the shop being a stronghold for sustainability. I started the business back in March 2013 after becoming increasingly unhappy in my city job and looking to start something that resonated with my own values. I’d also just watched the True Cost documentary, which had a resounding impact on how I viewed the high street.

Hannah brixton village sustainable shops

Where are you based? What are your favourite things to do there?

The Keep is based in the heart of Brixton, London. A place of multi-cultural diversity and great soul. It’s unlike anywhere else I know, and I feel hugely privileged to have a shop within the vibrant covered market space known locally as Brixton Village. When running the shop becomes a bit too much, I escape to Brockwell park and increasingly, the Lido.  There’s something incredibly meditative about cold-water swimming, no two days are the same and it never fails to bring everything into perspective.

Do you have a favourite piece from Thought’s latest collection?

Like most people this season, I’m having a real love affair with cord. As the working man’s velvet, I feel like it’s a fabric of integrity! And as a result, one of my favourite pieces from our Thought selection are the Rubina Cord Trousers. Also, when the organic cotton Bermilla Pinafore comes back into stock (we’ve totally sold out), I’ll certainly be buying myself one!

Hannah brixton village sustainable shops

Now a bit about you. What’s life like outside the shop?

Life outside the shop… is there such a thing?!  I was incredibly lucky to grow up in North Wales, and still have family there. So when I get time out, nearly always head up there with my dog to enjoy the peace and quiet of it all. Aside from the shop, we run quite a few events – book club, conversation evenings, workshops and supper clubs – I’d love at some point to bring this all together under one roof – or series of tents – as a festival in Snowdonia.

Having said that, the last place I escaped to was the West Coast of Ireland, I’d not been before and was absolutely blown away by how breath-taking it was. We had no Wi-Fi for four days… so it was the perfect opportunity to do nothing but sit and read a book. I’m bouncing between three – The Death of the Gods, The Silence of The Girls and our book club read – Turning the Tide on Plastic by Lucy Siegle.  All of which are quite heavy going, but which are helping to inform what I think is one of my biggest loves: creating a physical space for people to come together and be inspired to break certain habits and beliefs that hold us back from thinking up a better future.

Hannah brixton village sustainable shops

And finally, how do you embrace living thoughtfully… maybe you have a tip for our readers? Do you have a mantra?

I think we’re all only too aware of how stressful and anxiety provoking modern living has become. The pace is alarming, and on top of that, running a fashion business is definitely no picnic. So, more and more, I’m finding that I need a break from my own head – and swimming in cold water has been an amazing revelation in how beneficial it is for this. Plus, it gives the most incredible endorphins!

I also do yoga – which I find is another brilliant way of training my mind to ignore the mental chatter and to realise how capable I am. It might seem an obvious thing to say, but social media is a constant reminder of what we either don’t have or perceive to be missing out on, so I’ve also cut back on the number of accounts I follow, keeping only the ones that actively inspire me.  And as for a mantra… mine would have to be ‘keep on keepin’ on’.  I think it chose me long ago!

Thanks Kate!

Hannah brixton village sustainable shops

You might also enjoy reading our interview with Merryn from 69b Boutique, London.