Art, fashion & music

Tech City is home to one of the UK’s most vibrant and successful artistic communities.

East London’s abundance of reasonably priced property, particularly disused warehouses, has long attracted artists and art schools, who have converted them into studios and galleries.

By the end of the 20th century, the East End housed the largest concentration of artists in the world – many of whom have gone on to enjoy major success, both in the UK and overseas.

Pretty much every major artist in London has worked in East London at one time or another, including numerous Turner Prize winners. Big names include Tracey Emin and Gilbert and George, while there are also a lot of young, up-and-coming artists.

There are now over 180 art galleries in the area, including Whitechapel Gallery, widely considered to be one of the most exciting art venues in the world; Rivington Place; and White Cube.

An increasing number of the capital’s fashion designers are also thriving in the Tech City area, continuing East London’s historic association with the rag trade.

The influential London College of Fashion, for example, has a site in East London, specialising in accessories and footwear. Famous alumni include Jimmy Choo, Emma Hope, Patrick Cox, Joseph Azagary, Linda Bennett, Katerina Mutic and Olivia Morris.

Other successful fashion designers based in the East End include Shoreditch’s Giles Deacon and Dalston-based Christopher Kane. The area has also attracted top overseas designers, including Marios Schwab, while Californian footwear firm TOMS Shoes recently set up in Tech City.

In 2000, East London’s Old Truman Brewery launched Fashion East, a pioneering non-profit initiative to nurture emerging young designers. This has been credited with starting the careers of some of the UK’s most prolific design talent.

East London is also a popular location for musicians, dance clubs and live music venues, putting it right at the heart of the capital’s music scene. The likes of Cantaloupe, The Spitz, 333, Cargo, 93 Feet East and Ocean have become a magnet not just for London clubbers, but for music lovers across the UK and beyond.

As a result, Tech City has become a major centre for music-oriented firms. They include innovators such as Play Louder, which launched the world’s first Music Service Provider, and 7 Digital, a digital media delivery business catering for record companies, recording artists and film and TV firms. Such companies sit alongside more traditional music providers, such as Rough Trade, which has a flagship record store on Brick Lane; Pinnacle, a major CD, DVD and computer software online retailer and distributor; and Stones Throw, an internationally renowned record company which has its UK offices in Shoreditch.