My coal drops yard s120 My coal drops yard s120

In the Studio

In 2014, brought together by their shared love of fashion and all things visual, creative team Alia Qadir and Sara Reverberi opened the first S120 concept store in Islington. Their aim was to create an inspiring space that would invite people to discover the kind of niche brands they love and that aren’t easily found online. Selling everything from independent fashion and accessories to homeware, S120 quickly established itself as a word-of-mouth success, paving the way for the duo to open their second store at Coal Drop Yards in 2018.


Describe S120 in three words

Eclectic. Fun. Unexpected.


How did you meet?

Like all good love stories, we met by chance and stuck together by choice. More practically, we were both looking for a space, a home for our brands (and our dreams). Bottom line: we were scared do it alone and we decided it was easier to be scared together. It worked.


S120 is a concept store – what attracted you to that approach?

When we came up with the name, we wanted to stress the importance of NOT being just a retail store but a creatively-focused Studio. We wanted to create a space for new independent brands – including our own – and for people to come in and get inspired. That’s why we didn’t stop with clothing and shoes: we also sell homeware, crystals, candles, prints, vintage – and everything we like and find along the way.


We wanted to be more than just a retail store – a place where people come in and feel inspired by what they see. A place for artists, independent designers and creative people to come together. We have used the retail space for product launches, spell workshops, aura readings and as an exhibition space to name just a few! Our store is a place to connect with people who share the same vision as us so collaborations are always welcomed here.


It’s hard to give S120 a label as it changes with us. It’s eclectic and keeps evolving. You can find a crystal for £1 and a coat for £300 and what’s there today may be gone tomorrow – we sell what we love, and what we want people to love, no matter the price. Oh, and the 120 is simple – it’s the street number of our first space.


What makes Coal Drops Yard a good fit for S120?

We wanted a place that could reflect our brand, and double up as our ‘studio’ without losing the appeal of our first home (a ‘hidden’ townhouse in Angel). We didn’t want to be on the high street, so when we saw Coal Drops Yard, with its strong history and its new future ahead, we knew it was the right place. When we discovered that our unit used to be The Cross, the legendary 90s nightclub, we took it as a sign. A dancing landmark for a brand that’s always in movement.

mcdy s120 coal drops yard
mcdy s120 coal drops yard
s120 coal drops yard

What’s your favourite Coal Drops Yard venue?

This is hard, as we like lots of places there but if we have to pick, we’d say: Vermuteria for coffee and breakfast (the eggs are delicious), Raw Press for Acai bowls, Lina Store for everything pasta, El Pastor for the best tacos and mezcal. For shopping we definitely go for LA vibes at Twiin and lingerie heaven at Beija; for kids Cissy Wears and for home stuff it has to be Earl of East (their candles are a dream). For me-time, it’s Radio Hair (the sister of our super neighbours Manifesto) and Facegym (our favourite kind of gym).


What’s your earliest memory of this part of King’s Cross?

Dancing the night away at The Cross. It’s one of the reasons why we designed our tribute T-shirt: ‘We work where you danced’. It was too good not to celebrate it.


And more recently?

We love the canal walk from Camden to Coal Drops. The floating bookshop on a nice evening when the sun’s setting and there’s music in the air has a magical appeal. We also love the view from the Samsung KX store (the roof of the British Library looks like a space ship from up there). If we’re not in CDY you’ll either catch us in Happyface (stuffing our faces with pizza) or at Frame (burning the pizzas off).


Tell us about your perfect day off

Walk on the canal, breakfast at Vermuteria, a stroll around the stores, lunch at Canopy Market (usually anything Korean works), beer on the canal, then a visit to a vintage/flea market until it’s wine’o clock, followed by dinner with friends. In a dream world it would be at Coal Office, if you ever manage to get a table, or at Dishoom if you don’t mind the queue (Thought waiting’s a problem when it’s your day off).


And your dream customer?

We don’t have one. S120’s motto is: ‘If it makes you feel good you can (and should) wear it’. Everybody’s welcome. We love seeing how different our customers are – from young art students to elegant ladies, lost boyfriends and happy four-legged friends. When we see mothers and daughters come in and buying together our mission is accomplished.


Tell us a secret…

We have the same sized feet and own 60 pairs of cowboy boots between us. (Pretty sure this counts as a partnership.)


Find out more at www.s-120.com

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