The Sterling Ascots Search for Fabric: London pt. 2

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The change in time zones coming from New York City to London proves to be futile on our energy. We get off to a late start as we make our way to the London Eye (ferris wheel). It has been quite sometime since my last ferris wheel ride, possibly going back to my childhood attending the fair at Belmont Racetrack. Somehow, Q talks me into going for a whopping £60 a person. As we arrive the line is extremely long just to buy tickets, but since we made our purchase the London Eye website, we are able to skip that line and jump onto the line for the Eye.
As we get on board, the pod we are loaded into holds about 15 people. As we make our way to the top, the view only gets better and better. After about 10 minutes, we are finally at the very top. With access to a 360 degree view, I couldn’t help but to snap as many pictures as possible. The view at the top of the London Eye is the equivalent to being at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto or possibly even the Eiffel Tower in Paris. If you are ever in London, I highly recommend that the London Eye makes it onto the top five list on things to do.
As we make our way off the Eye, I have ascots on my mind but my stomach takes over and it’s time to appease it. With that being said, we hop into our black cab and head to Soho for a little taste of Honest Burgers on Meard Street. As we sit outside waiting for our food, one thing is very noticeable, Honest Burger is small but seems consistently busy. As our food comes, the aroma is out of this world. Q ordered the chicken sandwich which was very good but for those of you who like red meat, give the “Tribute” burger a try with a side rosemary chips. If you really want an experience, try the Chipotle Mayo or their iconic Bacon Ketchup. Finally, top all of that off with an Honest Ale and I promise you won’t regret it. With my stomach full, securing some silk for my ascot ties take top priority in my mind once again.
Berwick Street and Broadwick Street are only a few short strides away so we opt to take a walk. At one point in time, these were two iconic streets for fabric in Soho. As we trek towards our destination, we are amazed at the parallels to Soho in NYC. From Berwick to Broadwick, we made 4 of 5 stops at different stores but let me be the first to tell you that it’s going to run you about 50 pounds a yard for a decent piece of silk. After about 2 hours of browsing we find a couple pieces that seems to have some promise. Of the two pieces, one is a fine polka dot piece that has proven itself to be a fine ascot tie. We have a prototype produced and we’re hoping to make it available in 2017. The other was a fine peach that would later remind me of the Mediterranean sunset. We’ve yet to prototype that piece, but when we do, it may turn into something special.
Although we didn’t secure as much fabric as I thought we would have, I have to admit that my checkbook was somewhat relieved and will live to see another day. However, as a person on a fabric hunt, I’m a tad disappointed. On our way back to Paddington Station, we decided to stop at Marks & Spencer. Along the way, we were able to enjoy some of the sights and sounds of London. A group of men in particular caught my eye while walking into M&S. With my Jamaican roots and spending 8 full summers in Jamaica as a child, a “dread” (man with dreadlocks) and a band were performing and I could not turn away. It was to the point where I decided to include him in part 1 of the Sterling Ascots Euro Tour video below.

Marks and Spencer’s is a British department store, somewhat similar to America’s Macy’s but on a slightly higher scale. I make my way to the men’s department for a couple of watches a pair and a couple of shirts to mark the occasion and after a trip to the dressing room, it’s time to make a move back to the cab.
Our flight to Barcelona was in 3 hours and we needed to make our way to Heathrow Airport. To say the least, London was enjoyable and I would definitely come back again for another 2/3 day experience. However, it appeared to me that London was a smaller version of NYC, 3 days maybe the most I can do before I get antsy. Next time, join us as the fabric hunt continues in Palma de Mallorca (Majorca), Spain. If there is a destination with fabric houses, it’s always worth a visit for the sake of ascot ties.
– J. Sterling