Forget starving in garrets: England's smart art-school alums are opening up shops in the East End of London. Old suitcases and hatboxes nailed to the walls set the stage at Comfort Station (22 Cheshire St.; 44-207/033-9099; www.comfortstation.co.uk), owned by Oxford University fine-art grad Amy Anderson. Her anything-goes attitude is evident in the eccentric accessories (earrings made with dangling photographs of precious gems, an umbrella decorated with a pattern of cats and dogs). • Takako Copeland and her husband, Matthew, named their boutique Family Tree (53 Exmouth Market; 44-207/278-1084; www.familytreeshop.co.uk) because they and their friends create most of the goodies, including a Gilles and Cecilie T-shirt that's silk-screened by hand; Deal and Wire's metallic-gold leather handbag, adorned with chains and beads; and Takako's own beguiling jewelry—cascading sterling silver-and-pearl earrings, lockets hiding tourmaline charms. • At Haji & White (53 Fashion St.; 44-207/377-9319; www.hajiandwhite.com), Rumina Haji's passion for emerging artists collides with partner Simon White's love of vintage design objects, in a colorful display that could hold its own in a gallery. The two-story boutique contains everything from abstract paintings to 1970's West German ceramics to handheld versions of old-school video games—lest we forget about Frogger.
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