Everybody's talking about the brass houses and sex shops closing in Soho as though it's the death of the area. I disagree, and I'll tell you why.
If you know your onions you'll have noticed that as Soho's reputation for vice dwindles, the narrow Georgian streets have taken on a new lease of life as the centre of independent menswear, something confirmed by Oi Polloi choosing Marshall St for their first London store.
It's a bold move for the boys. The Oi Polloi name has been synonymous with forward thinking dressing for many a year, and if I'm honest us Londoners were always a bit jealous that it started up north. I doubt anyone would admit it, mind.
In fact it's been 13 years since founders Nigel Lawson and Steve Sanderson opened their first shop in a Manchester side street selling vintage trainers and obscure Scandinavian outerwear. In that time they've helped steer underground casual (small c, but maybe big C too) menswear into the fertile ground in which it now resides, earning the kind of reputation that can give a label credibility overnight. Not many shops can say that.
I popped in to the London shop earlier today and it's bleedin' splendid. The staff are chatty and know their stuff, and the selection is bang on. It's also round the corner from the water pump which John Snow discovered was the source of the 1854 cholera epidemic, in case you're interested.
In stock are bits from Stone Island, Beams Plus, Anatomica, Clarks Originals, Nike, Reebok, Battenwear, Edwin, and plenty of others. Get down there and see for yourself.
The shop is at 1 Marshall St, London, W1F 9BA. Open 7 days a week.
If you're not in London, their website's here.
You can also follow me @tomdisco if you fancy