Tuesday, 19 January 2010

An anthropological dig

I do so love words. I'm playing in the title (not making spelling mistakes). You'll see...

Now, in my blog ramblings I have come across what seemed to be something of an American love affair with a store called Anthropologie (couldn't they have picked something easier to spell?). Writers and artists like Kelly Rae and 52 Flea had me hooked with their words and delightful imagery of vintage/indie/boho/hippy chic. What was this wonderful shop and, more importantly, where could I find one?

Well it turns out that lady luck was smiling upon a happy shopper and she had waved her fairy wand and, hey presto, the first UK store was now open for business in London. Where did I go today dear readers? Well, our nation's capital of course. I was there for an exciting business meeting (hello Mark!), but managed to engineer an early enough arrival to warrant a small detour to Regent Street. (Sometimes these things just have to be done!)

If Pandora was a shop it would certainly be called Anthropologie (I can't type this too many times, may need to abbreviate soon). Wooden floors, beautiful assistants who write your name on your fitting room door and clothes, clothes, clothes, jewellery, sparkling things for the home, bits of old picture frame hanging off reclaimed timber tables, patchwork quilts that want to wrap you in motherly cuddles, dainties, pretties, sweet and fruity smells wafting from the furnishings, plants growing out of the wall, nick nacks, trinkets, silks and satins... Do you think I liked it? Readers it was wonderful, heavenly, a sensory delight.... Note past tense and use of italics....

I am sorry to say my love affair came to an abrupt and sorry end almost as soon as it had begun. At first I thought I had to be mistaken - surely this was a one off or mistake? But the more I turned and peered closely, the more my illusions were shattered. Every label revealed the same horrifying truth. The PRICE!!!!

No wonder they can afford a Regent Street three floor prime location. I envy those whose income is substantial enough not to flinch at paying what appears to be a 90% mark up on most items. The label 'made in India' fixed to most items give a clue. A feel of the fabric and close examination of seams and general quality reads further volumes. Anthropologie, your products are incredibly beautiful and desirable, the shopping experience is magical and I could quite happily live in your stunning store, going to bed every evening wrapped in your sumptuous quilts and bathing in your enticing aromas... but your prices???? I'm too disappointed for further words...

But I will try...

In my bag was a small purse (made in India) I recently purchased from a market trader for £1. An almost identical item was selling here for £18. Knitted toys which can be spotted at church fetes for £1.50 (or knitted by Nanas for nothing) cost an astonishing £20. A single 'vintage' playing card which had been placed in a plastic sleeve - £4; a t-shirt £44; an A5 notebook £22; a cardigan (that was already starting to unravel) £148; a chandelier made from unfired clay beads £1,200.

Beautiful as these items were, you can pick them up elsewhere (notably Etsy, or indeed Mumbai) for a fraction of the cost. Frankly I'd rather not be ripped off and shop in a store where the previous occupant of the fitting room had written their own name in graffiti on the wall than pay over the odds for Penny to write my name for me!

I'm taking my disillusionment and disappointment for a browse on Etsy instead...

Tootle pip.


  1. What a wonderful sense of wit and humour you have! I've just been blog hopping and found yours... I'll be back to visit!

  2. lovely piece of writing.
    There seems to be virtue is spending vast sums of money on 'stuff'. I wonder if the creators of these beautiful goods are being paid inflated prices too. How much more fun (if time consuming) to collect loved bits or create your own.

  3. Lisa - very interesting post. I wonder if the US items are the same. Perhaps their products are not all made in India...It always gets me when things made, and designed, in India or other low-cost labour countries sell their wares for an exhorbitant price. I am on the Dottie Angel challenge for 365 days anyway - give me a good flea market rummage anyday.

  4. Isn't it amazing how much people will pay for the pleasure of basking in a sumptuous atmosphere? Items made in India can be exquisite, but when you imagine an Indian sweatshop and the workers who probably get paid practically nothing, it takes the charm off. And it happens all over the world, I'm not singling out India.

    I've never been in an Antropologie store. Don't have one here in our little town, but I know exactly what you are talking about. I agree with you - Etsy has some amazing bargains! I'm constantly in awe and love to shop on Etsy! Great post!

  5. It's funny how people will pay a fortune for ambience and not even realize they're doing so!

    Great post :)

  6. Lucky you to have visited. I think that their stuff is gorgeous (I think it appeals to my hippy/boho nature. I have never bought anything from there but I think that it's all lovely to look at.

  7. How utterly disappointing is that!! There's obviously a market for it though. I don't like the thought of people being ripped off, even if they are rich!

  8. Well, you should've known if the store is in Regent Street - I mean, Simpson's is just up the road! Even if I could afford those prices, I'm damned if I'd pay them! And above all, you described it perfectly - 'tis but another reason to adore Etsy, etc. =)

  9. I agree, for that price at least get some-one in this country to make it - or just go to esty like you say!

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a lovely comment. Art has most definitely healed and uplifted me in such a profound way particularly as a single mum, and I love hearing stories of people who have re-discovered their creativity and acted on it!

    Here's to creativity for all, and if you know anyone that may like to apply for the grant - do send them over :)

    Your blog is lovely and your work so reasonably priced!!!!!! Ask for more - take a leaf out of Anthropologies book (shop;)!



  10. Hi Lisa! Fabulous post. I've never even set foot into this store. From your clever writing and detailed description, I'm sure I will just have to pop in and take a look. I'm scared to see the prices though. :)

    Thanks so much for your sweet visit! Yes, blogland indeed surprised me too after I jumped right in. So happy that your creativity got resparked! I just love your "Something in the air" creation! Beautiful!

    Creative Blessings,
    Lisa :)

  11. Oh you are too funny! Glad I found your blog through 101 Bird Tales! I agree-Anthropologie is WAY overpriced, but the visit for me is inspiration. I love the catalogs, too, which are great to use for art journals and collage. I have only bought one candle from Anthropologie-the rest is just dreams.....


Thank you for your comments - I always love to hear what you think :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...