A heavy cotton work apron, a galvanised housekeeper’s bucket and an ostrich-feather duster. East London’s Labour and Wait offers functional items that stand the test of time.
Co-owners and designers Rachel Wythe-Moran and Simon Watkins – both with backgrounds in menswear – set up shop on Cheshire Street in 2000 after growing tired of working in fashion and having to redesign pieces every season. In 2010 they moved to the green tile-fronted former Dolphin pub on popular Redchurch Street, among likeminded neighbours such as plant-based beauty brand Aesop and utilitarian clothing label APC.
Labour and Wait stocks everything from gardening tools to kitchenware, stationery, candles, cleaning products, dolly pegs, enamel lampshades and leather satchels. Yes, the practicality of some items could be called into question: when was the last time you required a bird caller or tailor’s chalk? But for the most part, the things you see on the shelves – sourced from specialist makers around the world – can be used day-to-day.
We call it the string shop: it sells salami string, cotton string, legal string and natural twine, as well as cotton string bags. Plus, there are thread snips and plenty of pairs of scissors. Handy when you’re in a bind.
Labour and Wait, 85 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DJ.
Photo: Labour and Wait.