Six weeks young, Any Old Iron is a black-painted sliver of a shop featuring exclusive and difficult-to-find British menswear by Unconditional, Bolongaro Trevor, Electronic Poet and Fred Perry. It's named for an old music hall song by Stanley Holloway about looking dapper, as well as the chants of 19th century scrap metal collectors. The brainchild of stylist Andrew Clancey, whose family founded one such scrap business in Yorkshire in 1872, the LES shop splits the difference between London punk and British dandy.
The decor alone makes it worth a visit. Dark walls and black-painted floors are brightened, if only slightly, by a porcelain and brass chandelier. High shelves line the room and celebrate Anglo-yesteryear with foppish hats and antique hat boxes; studded, leather-encrusted chests; empty gilt frames; bottles of Beefeater; swords and bayonets; and a series of other vintage curiosities (many of which, by the way, are for sale). An antique cash register and (working) telephone cast weary looks at a Macbook spewing British post-punk rarities. And there are a lot of Union Jack flags (a good portion of which are wearable and, as such, buyable).
The clothing runs the gamut from everyday wearable—standard issue Fred Perry durables (starting around $70) and graphic tees and jersey basics by Electronic Poet (starting around $50)—to wearable just not every day. Take for instance the tailored bits from Sir Tom Baker. Though Baker trained with Hardy Amies, suit-maker to the royal family, his pieces at Any Old Iron aren't exactly tea-with-the-Queen approved. Our favorite blazer was encrusted in black sequins ($1600); another featured graphics inspired by early Joy Division album artwork ($1250). If those are a little rich for you, metallic Baker bow ties are $125.
Another prominent label is a A Child of the Jago, a collaborative design team involving Barnzley Armitage and Joe Corre (himself a collaboration of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren.) Check twisted takes on piped angora blazers, mangled Union Jack outerwear, feathery jersey numbers, and denim printed in Dazzle Camouflage (the crazy, graphic, black and white intersecting stripes used on naval ships during Would War I). The jeans, skinny, were $310; a jumpsuit is $475. Equally unique but with a retro pedigree is the shop's wide range of re-worked vintage pieces by Brighton's Red Mutha. The pin- and patch-encrusted jackets and blazers (including a selection of womenswear) add a sort of DIY punkiness to mod and prep basics they're fashioned from.
Rounding out the clothing, Any Old Iron stocks London Undercover umbrellas. We loved the newspaper printed version with a fish-and-chip photo-printed interior (starting at $74); Fred Perry skinny ties ($65) and bags (starting at $70); Swear Jimmy footwear (around $200); and a series of incredible vintage watch faces on custom chains (around $100).
· Any Old Iron [Official Site]