London’s Camden Market is often described by tourist boards as the UK’s leading open-air market and if you ever get the chance to visit, you will definitely understand why. Its prime position is called the Stables Market, but it also trickles out around the locks and down on to the High-Street. The most important thing about Camden Market is that it caters to an array of different stylistic subcultures, and believe it or not, Camden is one of the very few places where you’ll see a Goth having lunch with somebody dressed in fluorescent Cyber clubwear.
The importance of a British market which caters to different subcultures
Now for the science bit. The social psychology of clothing and the theory of subcultural identity suggest that it’s the significant interrelation between music and fashion which generates the biggest number of fashion trends. Subcultures tend to form as a result of a shared interest in music, and members subsequently adopt distinctive clothing as an emblem of their subcultural identity. Not everybody is influenced by the catwalks you know!
This phenomenon does occur on a global scale, but it is at its strongest within the UK, and it’s also this which has helped to distinguish British music from the rest of the world. Remember the Punk movement? This gained momentum thanks to the style tribe which developed from the influences of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s designs at their boutique on King’s road, coupled with McLaren’s band the notorious Sex Pistols also dressing in this attire.
Along with having a multitude of regional accents, we also have a mountain of different stylistic subcultures. This is why Camden Market is such an important market in Britain, yet it’s also a great visit for tourists who can get a glimpse in to lots of different subcultures which are all prevalent within the UK.
Camden Market’s Subcultures
Walking through Camden Market is like being transported into another world, particularly as you enter the cave-like design of the Stables Market where you feel like you’re about to trawl through a cave of hidden treasures. There is something for most, although its stalls cater to the alternative subcultures, some also feature designs which are more subtle for the mainstream. The eclectic mix of subcultural stalls in the market includes Goth, Burlesque, Cyber clubwear, Punk, Hippy, Ethnic, the Japanese inspired Gothic Lolita, Fetish, create your own designs, cartoon or graffiti inspired designs, and vintage.
Stall owners come dressed in the style of their stalls, and of course, the majority of stalls have radios playing their own music (TFS even spotted one of the owners of a vintage stall making her own music on an old fashioned grand piano!) so visitors get a true feel of what the subcultural style is all about.
Camden's Amy Winehouse love affair
Camden was, of course, the notorious home of the late Amy Winehouse. As it was her local market, you'll be sure to find Amy artwork scattered around in homage, or even Amy covered souvenirs up for grabs.
More than fashion
Fashion aside, the market is also a great destination to pick up pieces of Brit art, quirky furniture, or simply dine out. The Marrakech café, a Moroccan themed restaurant, is definitely worth a visit, as dining inside actually transports you away on holiday. Alternatively, it’s also great to soak up the feel of the locks as you eat at one of the numerous street food stands, but get ready for this, the chairs along the waterside come in the form of motorbikes, again adding to the creative experience.
If you love fashion or music and you get the chance to visit Camden Market, you’re guaranteed a great time. Plus, don’t forget to pick up a souvenir; an iconic Brit Tee is a must!