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Kentish Town women's clothes shop Blustons stays true to its style for 80 years

PUBLISHED: 13:15 19 August 2012

Owner Michael Albert in the front lobby at Blustons in Kentish Town. Picture: Polly Hancock

Owner Michael Albert in the front lobby at Blustons in Kentish Town. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Entering Blustons in Kentish Town is like stepping back in time.

But despite fashion changing over the decades, the women’s clothes shop in Kentish Town Road has stayed true to its own style for more than 80 years.

It was opened in 1932 by Jane and Samuel Bluston who were sent to London from Russia by their parents. “During the White Russian period, Jewish people were not allowed to trade, so most of them took up tailoring,” said owner Michael Albert, 67.

“After travelling from Russia to London, they met at an East End clothing factory and fell in love.

“They took over the shop in 1932 and a couple of years later they were married.”

The family-run business became known for the classic styles it sold and built up a catalogue of frequent clients.

“We sold a lot of bridal and morning wear but in the 1940s we could only sell utility clothing.

“Women would queue outside with their government coupons. That lasted until the 1950s.”

A young Mr Albert began working in the shop, helping his parents on Saturdays when he was not at school.

Half a century later he runs the shop with colleague Barbara Smith but says the area has changed so much.

“It is not the same high street it used to be,” he said. “We used to have the same families come and see us.

“We got to know them so well. Unfortunately a lot of the families who used to live around here have moved out.

“We are lucky we own the property. If we had to pay rent as well we would not be here now.”

Despite Blustons’ regulars being of an older generation, it does attract a younger crowd hunting for that timeless look.

The Grade II-listed building, with its 1960s-style shop frontage even provided the backdrop for a Vogue photoshoot last year.

“We do have customers who are now over 100. They don’t want to get their clothes anywhere else and so send relatives in to pick up pieces.

“We do get younger people coming in to, especially for our 1960s pieces which are all back in fashion again. I suppose some styles become timeless.”

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