By Louisa Michel
IF YOU haven’t already had the pleasure, allow me introduce you to Snoopers Attic, the most delicious boutique I know of in Brighton. Set out as a boudoir-come-vintage market, it is to clothes lovers what Selfridges Food Hall is to foodies – a ‘couture’ candy shop. It is home to a collection of the city’s most innovative makers and vintage collectors.
Located above Snoopers Paradise in the North Laine, the spacious wooden floored attic is a shop unlike any other. Think French haberdashery meets leopard print fur, fringed lampshades, sheepskins, antique birdcages and lovingly dried roses in bunches hanging from the ceiling.
When Iona of Future Folklore co-visioned the Snoopers Attic cooperative two years ago, nothing about her plan was conventionally ‘sensible’. In fact, she tells me through a girlish grin – she didn’t have any kind of business plan, or financial backing to speak of.
“I found so many shops too serious and clinical, I knew I wanted to create an indoor space with an atmospheric market feel; a playful platform for fashion with all the buzz and banter that I used to love as a trader.”
“We did it all backwards from a business perspective,” she giggles. “We put it together within a week, manically painting the walls and trawling the local markets for furniture. The five of us had been market traders for years. By then we each had a feel for what sells and how to talk to people…but it was a big leap of faith opening a shop!”
What Iona lacked in money, she made up for in taste, and it is her creative background in visual art, design and love of markets that make this place so alluring. The Attic is not just a shop, it’s an experience; like an ongoing interactive fashion exhibition where everyone, including men, get a chance to play dress-up.
New things are created, bound, found and bought-in all the time, and that is partly why this place is so exciting – everything is current and constantly changing, so the possibilities for both shoppers and makers are endless. Twydl the in-house taxidermist explains that his artistic sensibilities are constantly stimulated by the cooperative’s vibrant environment, and I can see why.
It’s such a rare thing to find a shop so filled with love and playful creative talent – and the best thing – they’ve just opened ‘Lucia J Elliston’ a smaller sister shop in Kemp Town.