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HOW TO EMBRACE KINFOLK IN LONDON

The Kinfolk movement has dominated social media across the world, originally hailing from America, going down a storm in Australia and now it’s touched down in London. If you’re yet to hear about the slow-living crusade, let us help you with our comprehensive guide to embracing Kinfolk in London 

Words by Stefanie Packard

If you have Instagram or Pinterest it’s likely you’ve encountered the Kinfolk movement, or at least one of its disciples. Its online presence is characterised by bird’s eye views of cappuccinos, sprigs of herbs against white backgrounds, brown leather shoes on patterned tiles and distressed wooden tabletops.

Spearheaded by a magazine of the same name, Kinfolk is a slow-living movement, its followers aim to cut down the white noise in their lives and take time to enjoy the moment, whether that be with food, friends or flower arrangements. At times this movement has been criticised for its pretentious and contrived social media presence, and yet the number of followers continues to grow.

Love it or hate it, it is hard to deny the appeal. Even here in busy London this slow-living lifestyle has a huge appeal, encompassing interior design, fashion, food and events. If you want to give up stress, slow things down and regain control over your own time there are a number of places around London that support this lifestyle.

Minimalist, “un-fussy” and rustic designs typify Kinfolk homes, with quality design-led pieces being the focus. Folklore in Islington showcases this style with its range of simplistic furniture, art, homewares and lifestyle goods that focus on craftsmanship, sustainability and better living through design. Think ceramic milk jugs, enamel colanders, oak bread boards and wooden three legged stools.

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Petersham Nursery embraces the pared-back Kinfolk way with its stylish interiors (image by Herry Lawford)

The Petersham Nurseries near Richmond is another Kinfolk-esque lifestyle destination, describing itself as ‘a refuge from the city’ where nature and positive living are embraced. Part nursery, part homewares store and part café this place is all about the rustic charm.

Meanwhile, Labour and Wait is the kind of place you can buy an £18 toilet brush made of natural fibres and a wooden handle or a vintage style enamel measuring glass. The store is centred on the functionality of traditional home products and, with its Shoreditch location, has a large cult following.

In Notting Hill, Couverture & The Garbstore sells just about everything for the home, from cushions and rugs to stationery and soy candles, as well as men’s, women’s and children’s clothing. Its attitude to sourcing suppliers is appropriately Kinfolk – there are no big brand names here. Instead you will find up-and-coming designers, niche independent labels and ‘intuitive and authentic’ talent.

This minimalist quality product focus extends to clothing too, of course, and Kinfolk followers in London are spoilt for choice in this sense. The iconic clothing range Toast has a number of locations around London and offers the kind of pared back design and quality material a Kinfolk follower looks for in an outfit. Clean lines and ‘honest cloth’ typify its range of modern-meets-classic clothing for women and men.

In a similar vein to this are both Cos and Margaret Howell – think sandals, cable knit jumpers and cuffed linen trousers. Cos’ mission statement aims for ‘style over fashion’, and its range is a careful blend of traditional practice and modern and innovative techniques and fabrics. It has a number of stores around London for local Kinfolk.

Margaret Howell embodies the Kinfolk philosophy, with the designer herself taking a hands-on approach to the production of her celebrated product line. In true slow-living fashion, she takes inspiration from landscapes when designing her androgynous style clothing, and is inspired by nature, people and places and their relationship with fabrics.

Of course eating is a very important part of the Kinfolk lifestyle and London, ever the foodie paradise, doesn’t fail to deliver. There are a number of restaurants and cafés that would suit the Kinfolk tribe looking quality, natural ingredients served in light, modern, minimalist spaces. One in particular is St John Bread and Wine, which has restaurants and bakeries around London. The menu, décor and entire approach is one of a minimalist aesthetic, with the food features traditional yet underappreciated British ingredients, for example their popular rarebit toastie.

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Beautifully presented dishes at The Dairy, Clapham

Another place to check out is the ever-popular Daylesford Organic in Notting Hill, offering seasonal produce from the brand’s organic farm, artisan cheeses and breads, and that kind of Instagram-worthy food like boiled egg, smoked salmon and capers on pumpernickel.

Danish Snaps + Rye is a place to eat in that stylish Scandinavian manner that typifies the Kinfolk movement. With open Danish sandwiches and modern furnishing this is a Kinfolk staple – healthy, stylish and good quality.

Clapham’s The Dairy breaks its menu into easy to follow sections – ‘snacks’, ‘garden’, ‘sea’, ‘land’. This simplistic menu lay-out and the range of quality, typically British and beautifully presented dishes fulfil the slow lifestyle brief of the Kinfolk movement.

Over in Parson’s Green, Hally’s brings California to London, with its brick walls, well lit space and relaxed vibe. The pared-back environment lends itself well to those following Kinfolk, with live plants, books and sparse decorations around the walls and a beautifully-presented menu to go with it.

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Øllebrød, a Danish porridge dish at Snaps + Rye

To get the slow dining experience at home, head to Rosewood London’s new slow food and living market in Holborn. Every Sunday, the hotel’s inner courtyard is transformed into a traditional marketplace, with farmers, artisans and chefs offering up wholesome produce for punters. You’ll find flowers from Field of London; tea by Lalani & Co; cheese from Wildes Cheese and beer by Anspach & Hobday. 

Following in the same vein of quality, sustainability and all things natural is the RAW Artisan Wine Fair, coming up on the 17 and 18 May and offering Londoners a chance to celebrate wine with 150 of the best wine growers in the world. The festival aims to promote wines that are pure, kind to the planet and better for your health and will be held at The Old Truman brewery on Brick Lane.

Later in August, the London Craft Beer Festival will sees four days of samples and celebrations all centred on British craft beer. 

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