Frills & Thrills: S120 Boutique
It’s 10pm. You’re perched on the basin in a dim, low lit bathroom, somewhere in the city, surrounded by graffiti tiles and women re-applying smudged mascara, hoisting up jeans, ruffling hair. A girl waltzes over to you. She’s in love with your shift dress and its cut-out back. You are both in winged eyeliner and wearing ironic heart-shaped lockets. You are kindred spirits. It is understood.
All the little moments of tearing through your wardrobe, swapping combinations, picking unexpected ensembles… assembling the parts into a whole for tonight… all these flash through your mind. It brought you here, to hear the one most sacred question:
‘Where did you get it from?’ she yells above the music.
In the heart of Coal Drops Yard glows the rosy S120, a fashion boutique co-founded by Alia Qadir and Sara Reverberi. ‘We met by chance and stuck together by choice – like all good love stories!’ they say. Both were looking for space for their individual brands and ultimately decided to share one, so S120 was born. ‘We have the same sized feet and own around 60 pairs of cowboy boots between us. We’re pretty sure this counts as a partnership!’
They opened their physical store in North London before the online version. Far from the high street, Coal Drops Yard boasts a strong history as Kings Cross’s former coal depot, established in 1851. It was already an attractive location to Alia and Sara, but became even more so when the two discovered their unit used to be The Cross, a legendary 90s nightclub. ‘We took it as a sign. A dancing landmark for a brand that’s always in movement. We paid tribute to The Cross by designing our staff uniform with the slogan: “I work where you danced” on it.’
As you traipse through the doors, you’re immediately met with a rainbow of clothes and a variety of unique trinkets: shoes, homeware, crystals, candles, prints and vintage. Stock has been carefully selected, ‘we love small, niche brands that are hard to find,’ they explain. ‘Before the pandemic we were travelling to fashion shows to scout. However, over the past year we’ve had to improvise and start looking for other ways to discover, like Instagram and Pinterest. A lot of the time, brands and designers get in touch and introduce us to their stuff.’ S120 also prides itself in being sustainable by stocking selected small brands and exclusive limited quantity items. ‘We introduced S120’s second chance label a while ago and will continue to grow the vintage side of the business.’
The overarching motto of S120 is ‘if it makes you feel good, you can and should wear it’. The energy the boutique radiates and diversity of customers is certainly representative of that. Fashion is about having fun, experimenting, expressing and unifying. ‘Everyone is welcome at S120’ the two explain, ‘when we see mothers and daughters come in and buy together our mission is accomplished.’
To describe S120 in two words would be eclectic and changeable. In a world of fast-fashion, Alia and Sara’s goal is to have a home for their favourite independent brands so that they can provide a stimulating environment for the customer. They aim to continue evolving and growing their community, offering a fun, enjoyable space. A place for friends and strangers to fall in love with a garment to shimmy in. A spot that shoppers will come to, knowing that as soon as they put on their purchase they’re guaranteed to be asked over and over again… that magical question, ‘Where did it come from?’
And they’ll reply, with a bright disco grin, ‘S120.’