My theory for this strange lack of one-stop casualwear shops is that Londoners are just too trendy for their own good. They would rather trawl around and "find" something, bragging at how "exclusive" it is than go somewhere where it is all available.
Well they need search no more. London has got one of these stores. It opened last month in Covent Garden and it's called House - which, according to the company's director Peter Tesseras, means "everything is under one roof". It could also be because House comes from the same people responsible for the 57 Cromwell's Madhouse "pile-em-high, sell-em-cheap" shops dotted around the UK.
House doesn't pile em high. The concept came about because the demand for designer and branded clothes took over from the jeans market, which slumped 15 per cent last year. They wanted to tap into the psyche of young British men between the ages of 15 and 30 who are obsessed with brands and looking good for their mates.
It certainly does that. House is wall-to-wall brands in three handy categories: sports, designer, and sporty. Sports is pretty obvious; football tops, football tops, and a few football tops for good measure, courtesy of Adidas, Mizuno, Umbro and Diadora. Trainers by all of the above are also available.
Designer means shirts, jeans, jackets, underwear and sunglasses, which look almost identical, bar the all-important logo from Calvin, Ralph, Tommy, Versace, Valentino or Jasper Conran.
Sporty is the interesting, trendy-ish section with labels which advocate yachting, sailing, surfing, and snowboarding - names include Helly Hansen, Rockport or North Sails. Sporty also represents the fastest growing sector of the mens' fashion market.
In all, House is non-elitist, non-"fashion", very affordable for the average pocket, and doesn't sell suits which will immediately alienate the snooty London shopper. But that's OK. Buyer Gavin Rawlings says they simply sell what men want, which is a lot more than their trendier counterparts. "We're not taking the mick," he asserts. "It's terrace fashion really, it's about being credible."
What's more the shop is packed out, especially on Saturday mornings as men stock up on gear to wear for the match.
House, 112-115 Long Acre, Covent Garden WC2Reuse content