The Glass Guide to Lamb’s Conduit Street, London – Oliver Spencer

GLASS is very lucky to have our London office in Bloomsbury and on the doorstep (more or less) of Lamb’s Conduit Street – a fantastically unique neighbourhood, with an intriguing history, which has a wonderful array of very tempting and intriguing independent shops, cafes and restaurants.

On the 450th anniversary of the foundation of the Rugby Estate, where Lamb’s Conduit Street is to be found, Glass is visiting some of our favourite shops on the street to find out more about our neighbours.

First up, we drop into the menswear store Oliver Spencer founded in 2002 by its eponymous owner – and fashion world stalwart. The company has expanded to owning four stores as well as having many international and online stockists. Well-known for its thoughtful, relaxed yet well-tailored designs and a “casual not careless” philosophy which is not easy to achieve, however Oliver Spencer does this with elan.



Story pic portrair Oliver SpecerOliver Spencer – founder of the brand


Tell Glass about your store and what it sells.
The Oliver Spencer label was founded in 2002. Oliver Spencer the brand is the vision of Oliver Spencer the man. Oli wanted to create something new: a range of clothing with all the quality and craft of premium tailoring, but with a relaxed modern style. The philosophy? Quality needn’t mean formality; casual needn’t mean careless. That philosophy found plenty of adherents.

And from a single shop on London’s Lamb’s Conduit Street, Oliver Spencer has gone on to open four more shops, and an international online business — as well as being stocked in many of the world’s leading department stores, from Selfridges to Liberty of London to Mr Porter. The brand was the winner of Menswear Designer at the WGSN Global Fashion Award 2013 and has been nominated for British Menswear Designer at the British Fashion Awards.

Describe your store in three words.
Colour, texture, light.

Story pic Faro Shirt Kildale Indigo Light Oliver SpencerFaro Shirt Kildale Indigo Light by Oliver Spencer

Describe a typical/ target customer.
Anyone who appreciates their clothes: good fabrics, good cuts and interesting, considered designs

How long have you been a resident store of Lamb’s Conduit Street?
Nine years, and this was our first store, we’re looking forward to ou 10th anniversary next year.

What do you know about the history of Lamb’s Conduit Street?
Lamb’s Conduit Street has a fairly rich history even by London’s standards, its erstwhile position as a site of convergence – as suggested in the name – seems appropriate for an area of London that has both such a strong neighbourhood and diverse range of businesses that bring together all sorts of creative and interesting people. There’s a journal post just gone up on website that delves deeper into the history of the street.

Story image 4 oliver spencerOliver Spencer designs

How has it changed while you’ve been here?
When we first moved here there were few similar stores, it has now become something of a destination for a certain type of menswear. Also, I’m sure it has happened elsewhere but it’s the only place I know of that a Starbucks has closed down, such is the quality of the local cafes.

What persuaded you to set up shop here?
Lamb’s Conduit Street allowed us to have our head office located in the same building as our store, it plays in to Oli’s ethos to put shopkeeping at the centre of his business, to stay in touch with his customers and remain grounded. That and the desire to help build this street of great menswear.

Feature pic Oliver Spencer 2 Oliver Spencer shoes

What has persuaded you to stay?
It’s all gone well.

Is there a sense of community between store owners?
We set up a trader’s association a couple of years ago, as a formal way of organising this has helped solidify relationships between the businesses on the street. Informally everyone’s friends or friendly.

Story picture 3 Olivier SpencerA look by Oliver Spencer

There’s a very distinct selection of shops that all fit together very well, do you think it’s a coincidence?
I think we have been fortunate to have landlords who have prized the merits of community and enterprise above sheer profit and commercial gain. I also think that when the tone is set for an area it provides the impetus for similar businesses to move in.

Story image Olivier Spencer 1A look by Oliver Spencer

What do you think the future of Lamb’s Conduit Street looks like?
I can only hope that we retain all of the independent businesses in the street and that perhaps a few smaller, more creative enterprises can find their home on the street.

by Caroline Simpson

Oliver Spencer, 62 Lamb’s Conduit Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3LW

Tel: 020 7269 6444

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