Columbia Road is one of my favourite streets in East London; every Sunday it is transformed into an oasis of foliage and flowers. A lot of the market traders grow their own plants or import from around the world, and there are many street musicians who play throughout the day. There is a tiny but cozy stationery shop - Choosing Keeping – that sits on the main street, which is a place I visit everytime I pass by.
The shopkeeper Julia grew up in France and lived in Tokyo when she was a child. I was lucky enough to bump into Julia when I first visited Choosing Keeping five years ago. She described that a lot of the Japanese stationery in the shop are things she recognises from her childhood in Japan. Julia studied history at university and finds that stationery is actually an interesting starting point to find out about the history of design and manufacturing. That’s why for her stationery has good core vales.
In Choosing Keeping there is a lot of carefully selected stationery as well as high quality handcrafted products, together with many interesting second-hand illustrated books. Beyond those, there are also exclusive leather goods that have been hand cut and stitched in-store by Japanese craftsman, Mr Akiyama. All these beautiful items tell us that the shopkeeper is a fastidious collector, and the story behind the shops name. Choosing Keeping is a destination worthy of stationery fetishists.
Every Sunday Columbia Road is transformed into an oasis of foliage and flowers. A lot of the market traders grow their own plants or import from around the world, There are small art galleries sit next to cafe shops, independent shops, vintage clothes stores and there are many street musicians who play throughout the day.