London Life Shops

Antoni + Alison – 25 Years Later

July 18, 2013

In 1987, i graduated from central st. martins with a BA degree in graphic design. It was the very same year as antoni burakowski and alison roberts, the duo behind antoni & alison left the same art college (having studied fashion design and fine art respectively) to set up a fashion business. I have followed their career from a distance and always enjoyed when reading their success stories. Over the years i have owned bits and pieces but i had never visited their clerkenwell shop or met the designers in person, until now.

Meet antoni.

I caught up with antoni while enjoying a cuppa in their fab newish tearoom ‘ye olde worlde super modern’ and finding out a little about the past 25 years in business.


Antoni & alison started in their bedroom. They had no phone so had to use the phone box around the corner. Their very first collection was a slogan t-shirts collection in 1987 which was called: be happy. “It was all hand-printed and (baked) in the laundrette”. The labels slogan t-shirts now carry cult status. Their humble beginnings began with selling to a shop in brighton. A buyer for harvey nichols saw their wears in that shop and snapped them up. The rest is history.

Back to the tea room.



The tearoom is an true extension of the designers. Full of charm, quirk, old style, yet modern, it was opened as a celebration of being in business for 25 years.

I loved all the detailed touches. Look at this simple idea for a table top. Some crepe paper and a felt tip and voilà you have your table numbers sorted. Genius!


The fine china bone crockery decorated in felt tip is fun and inviting. What a fab idea. How about using this idea on paper plates with hand drawn designs and writings for a party?


You’ll find tea and coffee and sponge cake with jam. This is old world, meets new in it’s truest sense. There’s even a ‘super modern biscuit’.



The tearoom, on the first floor, is above the shop on (the ground floor) and the gallery space in the basement. Antoni & alison moved into these premises in 1997 and what you’ll see below is their gorgeous spring/summer 13 collection. It’s their 52nd collection and being a global brand, they sell all over the world.



How gorgeous are these printed silk scarves?



These amazing dresses caught my eyes. I’m not usually a fan of digital printing on fabrics but the pair have excelled in this art form. Look at this one!




Another great quirkiness – the bags.


To snap up one of their ‘vintage’ slogan t-shirts, rush to the shop as fast as you can.


Everything about antoni & alison is charming. Antoni is a darling and i wish them continued success in everything they do. I’ll be back for another cuppa.

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  • Reply Igor July 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Very inspiring and great photography, Tina. So cool to follow along the careers of same year graduates, I think that is the cool thing when graduating from an art college.

    • Reply Alison Sye July 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      Did you go to art college, Igor?

      • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 11:10 pm

        Not sure Igor will see this. I’m going out on a limb here but I believe Igor did not go to art college!

    • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      Thank you Mr Igor! Yes, I do know what some of them are up to, not all mind you!!
      It was a really great time!

  • Reply James Balston July 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Great to see they are still going and still have that lovely shop on Rosebery Avenue. What an institution!

    • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      Ha! It’s really an institution. I’ve been driving past it for years and years and years.
      Thanks James.

  • Reply Michaela July 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Love this Tina! What a great concept this is, and what brilliant business minds Antoni and Alison have – this is definitely the kind of place I like to go to and will be sure to visit next time I’m in town. I really like the freestyle illustrated feel of their designs too.

    It’s so unique.

    Have a great weekend m’dear! xx

    • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 11:04 pm

      Yes, maybe that’s where we’ll next meet. The Tea Room is only open on Fri/Sat though.

      Everything is playful and dynamic, really the best combo!
      Thanks M. Hope you’re having a good week xx

  • Reply Parisbreakfast July 20, 2013 at 5:09 am

    Just Fabulous!
    I want everything!
    I love writing on stuff…those fun.
    Wish I’d gotten there.
    Next time for sure

    • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      Maybe we can meet up there? I just love that everything has humour!
      Their personalities really shine through.

      Writing on stuff is fun, eh??

  • Reply Louise - 30s Magazine July 20, 2013 at 10:50 am

    What a great place and I so want one of those scarves or bags! Your photography is beautiful.

    • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      Ha. In can see you in one of those scarves for sure.. I’ll take you shopping there next time you visit.
      Aww, thank you L x

  • Reply Doris July 20, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    I love hearing about the humble beginnings of successful businesses. The shop looks fantastic, yet another great find Tina! Your photo’s are wonderful as usual. xD

    • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      Yay! It always looks so unachievable when people have been in business for long. We have to remember they (nearly all) started with a humble beginning. I always try and remember that when I’m working on projects.

      Glad you like it and thank you xx

  • Reply Alison Sye July 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Starting their business by using the phonebox outside, how brilliant is that?
    Love those wacky prints and cups, and what a great menu.

    • Reply Alison Sye July 20, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      I forgot to mention those fantastic lightbulbs.

    • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 11:16 pm

      I know, who remembers phone boxes?? Brilliant!
      Yes, all stuff is fun and quirky. Loved it all!

  • Reply geraldine July 22, 2013 at 8:29 am

    I remember Antoni and Alison and their beautiful T-shirts, I actually owned one. So inspiring to hear how far they’ve come from the start. This is definitely going on my to visit list. Have a lovely week Tina 😉 xx

    • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 11:18 pm

      I did think of you when I saw the dresses. They are just as you like them and I think you’d look stunning in one of them.
      It’s rather inspirational to see how far they’ve come xx

  • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar July 22, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Such an inspiring post – I love the bit about them having no phone when they started and having to use the phone box around the corner.

    The tea shop itself looks very charming (great snaps!) and they have the same push pin bulletin board that I have in my kitchen, too! I must visit – thanks for the heads up. x

    • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 11:21 pm

      Thanks Will! I know, that bit tickled me when Antoni told me the story… it’s what reality is about when you’re 21, out of college and you have a big dream! Nothing will come in between…

      I thought of you when I saw the push pin bulletin board (remember your post about it). Don’t you love the menu?? So original.
      Do go and visit. You will enjoy it! It’s really quintessentially British! x

  • Reply Catherine July 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Ohh I love this tearoom, truly, so inviting but modern. The stencil on top of the sponge cake is fabulous and I love all the cups and saucers lined up on the side table. The dresses and scarves are just gorgeous. It all has such a lovely vibe.

    • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 11:26 pm

      I think that’s what they tried to achieve.. hence the name. It really works well.

      You mean the push pin bulletin board? Yes, so fitting for the theme.
      I also loved the cups and saucers with all the scribbles. It’s so traditional and yet modern.

      You’re right, the vibe is completely friendly and unassuming. I felt a little like being back in college but with more mature students:-)

  • Reply Holly July 22, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    How inspiring! Fashion, cafe, design … ooh la la, what fun! Love your images! Lots to pin here…

    I LOVE their website!! Going to look around more now! Will be checking out their tshirts when I come visit 😉


    • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 11:27 pm

      Really inspiring, true?

      Thanks hun, pin away!
      I also LOVE their website because it’s so unique and represents exactly who they are.
      I ‘ll take you there… add it to the list! xx

  • Reply Tania July 23, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Lovely photo of the handsome Mr Antoni, i have always coveted the dresses and bags having bought a fair few over the years,
    The tea room is a fabulous addition to the shop and your photos Tina capture it beautifully!

    • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 11:29 pm

      Ha. Had no idea you knew each other.. should have known:-)

      I LOVED the tea room because it has such personality, very much like Antoni…
      Thanks Tania:-))

  • Reply leah of sang the bird July 23, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    Love this Tina! What a great concept!
    T, I loved reading of their humble beginnings. Another awesome find xx

    • Reply tina July 24, 2013 at 12:35 am

      Thanks Leah. It’s always encouraging to read of humble beginnings. It puts stuff into perspective!

  • Reply Trisha July 24, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Ooo, this place looks really cool – so nice that you have kept in touch with them!


    • Reply tina July 25, 2013 at 7:02 am

      Thanks Trisha.

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