01 July, 2021

BISCUITS – What is a cuppa without a biccie? Being unrelenting tea drinkers, we can’t imagine such a thing! From the plainest Rich Tea or the humble Digestive, to the fancier Bourbon and the even tastier chocolate Hobnob – we’ll dunk them all given half the chance. The rate of biscuit consumption at LABOUR AND WAIT risks us becoming the barrel!

This year’s calendar pays homage to our favourite colour; brown. We always find ourselves drawn to this colour. Its darker shades have a graphic quality like black, whilst the lighter tones have a warm and natural feel. When we began selecting products for LABOUR AND WAIT over twenty years ago, we soon realised that our proclivity for brown tones could get the better of us and the result would be a completely brown shop. We regularly have to keep ourselves in check to ensure a variety of hues and colours find their way to the shop floor.

  • See more: 2021, Brown, Calendar

  • 02 June, 2021

    We are excited to announce the opening of a second London shop at 48 Dorset Street in Marylebone. The new space will feature the full product roster and the same friendly faces of the team from our Redchurch Street shop.

    Opening on Thursday 3rd June 2021, it also marks the 21st anniversary of our first shop in East London. Founders Simon and Rachel are very familiar with Dorset Street, having first met only a stones throw away in the late 1990s. They both admire Marylebone's distinct character and that traditional businesses like real pubs, dry cleaners and shoe repairers rub shoulders with notable restaurants and boutique hotels; not that dissimilar to how Shoreditch has developed.

    The new shop is the last building in a grand red brick terrace, built around 1900, retaining the original parquet flooring and some internal tiling from a former occupant. We want the shop to feel as though it has always been there, so we have incorporated elements of the building's past into our new space.

    With shops being closed for such a large part of 2020 and us all being forced to buy online, we still believe that physical shops are integral to the community: LABOUR AND WAIT was founded when the nature of retail was growing ever more impersonal and homogenous, so we aimed to offer a friendly environment that was relevant to the neighbourhood. This has remained a core principal, and we looking forward to bringing our functional, timeless products to Marylebone.

    48 Dorset Street,
    Marylebone, London,
    W1U 7NE

    Monday to Saturday – 11.00am to 6.00pm
    Sunday – Closed

    020 7729 6253

  • See more: 2021, Dorset Street, Marylebone

  • 01 June, 2021

    G.P.O. JUGS – These handsome two-tone stoneware jugs have always intrigued us. For us it is a perpetual hunt for these bulbous beauties. Clearly stamped or printed with ‘G.P.O.’ on the base, they must have originally been produced for this organisation – but why, and what was their purpose? Answers on a postcard please!

    This year’s calendar pays homage to our favourite colour; brown. We always find ourselves drawn to this colour. Its darker shades have a graphic quality like black, whilst the lighter tones have a warm and natural feel. When we began selecting products for LABOUR AND WAIT over twenty years ago, we soon realised that our proclivity for brown tones could get the better of us and the result would be a completely brown shop. We regularly have to keep ourselves in check to ensure a variety of hues and colours find their way to the shop floor.

  • See more: 2021, Brown, Calendar

  • 19 May, 2021
    Charlie Porter, writer and friend of Labour and Wait, is poised to release his new book, 'What Artists Wear'– a fascinating survey of modern and contemporary artists' choices of attire in the studio, in performance, at work and at play.
    To mark the publication we have collaborated with Charlie and Penguin Books to create an all-new 'studio' apron.
    The Studio Apron features our high quality cotton canvas but now in ecru, as well as our signature herringbone tape and large eyelets. It is shorter in length than our standard aprons with a tool-belt style series of pockets to accommodate all artistic requisites– there's even a pocket for 'What Artists Wear', not just keeping you covered but inspired in the studio too.
    'What Artists Wear' and the Studio Apron will be available from Dover Street Market London on the 27th May, 2021 and our online shop only.
    The 'What Artists Wear' Studio Apron is limited to 150 pieces.

  • See more: 2021, Aprons

  • 01 May, 2021

    CERAMIC BOTTLES – Stoneware bottles were an everyday commodity in Victorian-times. These ink pots and bottles, which have been dug out of the ground from old dumps, or ‘middens’, hold our fascination. Those from the Midlands are often stamped ‘Bourne Denby’ or ‘Lovatts’; those from the South of England with ‘Doulton’. Today we tend to assume that bottles are made from glass, so these ceramic versions are a curiosity.

    This year’s calendar pays homage to our favourite colour; brown. We always find ourselves drawn to this colour. Its darker shades have a graphic quality like black, whilst the lighter tones have a warm and natural feel. When we began selecting products for LABOUR AND WAIT over twenty years ago, we soon realised that our proclivity for brown tones could get the better of us and the result would be a completely brown shop. We regularly have to keep ourselves in check to ensure a variety of hues and colours find their way to the shop floor.

  • See more: 2021, Brown, Calendar

  • 12 April, 2021

    It feels like an eon since shops were open before Christmas, so we are awfully pleased to see our friends Dover Street Market reopening today.

    To coincide with their reopening we have revamped our space on the third floor. You'll find many of our usual suspects with a few exclusive products only found at Dover Street Market.

    Opening Hours:
    Monday to Saturday – 
    11:00am to 7:00pm
    Sunday – 12:00pm to 6:00pm

    18-22 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4DG

    020 7518 0680

  • See more: 2021, Dover Street Market

  • 05 April, 2021

    Our Redchurch Street shop in Shoreditch reopens on Wednesday 14th April.

    We will be open five days a week Wednesday to Sunday from 11.00am until 6.00pm, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

    Customers will be limited to six at one time with masks a necessity by law as we have all become accustomed to. Hand sanitiser provided at the door.

    We can’t wait to have you back in the shop!

  • See more: 2021, Redchurch Street

  • 01 April, 2021

    BRUSHES – A hallmark of LABOUR AND WAIT. There seems to have been a brush designed for every task fathomable. Sadly the craft of the brush maker seems to be a dying art. Meanwhile, popularity of the humble brush appears to be on the increase; we would like to think our obsession has played a small part in this.

    This year’s calendar pays homage to our favourite colour; brown. We always find ourselves drawn to this colour. Its darker shades have a graphic quality like black, whilst the lighter tones have a warm and natural feel. When we began selecting products for LABOUR AND WAIT over twenty years ago, we soon realised that our proclivity for brown tones could get the better of us and the result would be a completely brown shop. We regularly have to keep ourselves in check to ensure a variety of hues and colours find their way to the shop floor.

  • See more: 2021, Brown, Calendar

  • 01 March, 2021

    BOXES – We have a strange attraction to items in boxes. Everything contained and in its place. In our eyes there is nothing more satisfying than a well-made box.We are particularly partial to the good old brown card variety. We’ve certainly packed and unpacked a fair few of these in the past 21 years!

    This year’s calendar pays homage to our favourite colour; brown. We always find ourselves drawn to this colour. Its darker shades have a graphic quality like black, whilst the lighter tones have a warm and natural feel. When we began selecting products for LABOUR AND WAIT over twenty years ago, we soon realised that our proclivity for brown tones could get the better of us and the result would be a completely brown shop. We regularly have to keep ourselves in check to ensure a variety of hues and colours find their way to the shop floor.

  • See more: 2021, Brown, Calendar

  • 01 February, 2021

    LEATHERWORK – Nothing compares to the look, feel and smell of leather. We favour brown leather in all its tones, as it wears and patinates so gracefully. Items made by a skilled leatherworker are beautiful to look at and a joy to use. Each piece becomes unique to its owner, bearing the marks of wear and use, and can gently mark the passage of time.

    This year’s calendar pays homage to our favourite colour; brown. We always find ourselves drawn to this colour. Its darker shades have a graphic quality like black, whilst the lighter tones have a warm and natural feel. When we began selecting products for LABOUR AND WAIT over twenty years ago, we soon realised that our proclivity for brown tones could get the better of us and the result would be a completely brown shop.We regularly have to keep ourselves in check to ensure a variety of hues and colours find their way to the shop floor.

  • See more: 2021, Brown, Calendar

  • 01 January, 2021
    TREEN – Whether useful or purely aesthetic, small wooden objects are difficult to put down. There is something almost magical about a lovingly honed piece of wood. The way in which this natural material can be turned, carved, smoothed and polished into a tactile shape never ceases to amaze. The tones, colours and grain make every piece unique.

  • See more: 2021, Brown, Calendar

  • 20 December, 2020

    With the most sedulous care, our staff in the Workroom are picking, packing and posting all of your Christmas orders.

    In between the cardboard boxes and gallons of tea required to undertake this mammoth task, they'd like to remind you that today is the LAST DAY of guaranteed UK Christmas delivery, so get your order in before midnight to avoid disappointment!

  • See more: 2020, Mail Order

  • 01 December, 2020

    As we approach the big day at the end of the year, please order by 1.00pm GMT on the following dates for guaranteed Christmas delivery...

    United Kingdom ... 18th December
    European Union ... 14th December
    North America ... 12th December
    Rest of World ... 8th December

    Please note that we close down for Christmas and New Year between the dates of 24th December and 2nd of January, during which time our mail order department is away. Our Redchurch Street shop reopens from the break on 2nd January, 2021.

  • See more: 2020, Mail Order

  • 01 December, 2020

    We're very pleased to say that, thanks to our customers' response to the CRISIS AT CHRISTMAS Black Friday alternative, we will be donating £1300 this winter, to help homeless people throughout the United Kingdom.

    If you want to donate or help homeless people this Christmas, visit Crisis this Christmas.

  • See more: 2020, Black Friday

  • 01 December, 2020

    Brown paper packages, rubber stamps and the paraphernalia of the post office have an enduring appeal. This pillar of the community supports another side of LABOUR AND WAIT: our mail order service. During the busy months of November and December, we all rely on this venerable institution to make sure Christmas is delivered on time.

  • See more: 2020, Calendar, Shop Talk

  • 27 November, 2020


    If you too are interested in donating separately, visit:

  • See more: 2020, Black Friday

  • 04 November, 2020

    As another lockdown comes in, we have reluctantly closed our Redchurch Street shop to the public once again. However– Should you live in East London or within walking or cycling distance of our 85 Redchurch Street shop, please consider using our click and collect service.

    Not only will you be doing our mail order team a favour by reducing their workload, you'll also save yourself a good few quid and get a bit of exercise in the process!

    What's more, orders over £200 come with a free LABOUR AND WAIT tote bag to lug all your purchased loot around.

    Our Redchurch Street shop will be open for 4 hours on set days– Just select your time and day of collection and get those legs stretched. We'll be here to welcome you with open arms! Albeit at a 2 metre distance and covered in hand sanitiser.

    85 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DJ

    Collection Times
    Wednesday – Friday: 2.00pm to 6.00pm
    Saturday – Sunday: 10.00am to 2.00pm
    Monday – Tuesday: Closed

    Please make a note of your order number for when you collect!


  • See more: 2020, Mail Order

  • 01 November, 2020

    Packed to the rafters with all manner of bits and bobs, haberdashery shops are endlessly beguiling. The raw materials for many craft projects can be found here, as well as customers deep in thought... so many decisions to be made! The ultimate goal could be a simple repair, or even the realisation of a dream to create something totally unique. ‘Make do and mend’ has never seemed so appealing!

  • See more: 2020, Calendar, Shop Talk

  • 01 October, 2020

    The chemist has always held a certain fascination.The dispensary has air of alchemy; a repository of all sorts of potions and lotions, suggesting that here is a cure for all ailments. The pharmacist is a master of discretion – both trusted and respected. At the first hint of a sniffle, the dispensary can prove indispensable.

  • See more: 2020, Calendar, Shop Talk

  • 01 September, 2020

    We have always had a ‘thing’ for stationery. A true staple of the high street, the stationer’s can often be the catalyst for many a creative endeavour. Who can resist those pots of pencils, boxes of rubbers, and neatly ordered stacks of sketchbooks? We all remember the excitement of fresh exercise books and geometry sets at the beginning of a new school term.

  • See more: 2020, Calendar, Shop Talk

  • 05 August, 2020

    When we began selecting products for LABOUR AND WAIT over twenty years ago, we soon realised that our proclivity for brown tones could result in a completely brown shop. We regularly have to keep ourselves in check and ensure a variety of hues and colours find their way to the shop floor.

    In December of 2014, our calendar image caption read the following:
    "The colour of the earth. A rich, dark, peat brown, evoking leather, wood and even chocolate. We always find ourselves drawn to this colour; its depth has a graphic quality like black, but with a warmer, more natural feel. We even fantasise about opening a shop where all the products are brown!"

    This September we are surrendering to our weakness: London Design Festival provides us with an opportunity for a tongue-in-cheek homage to the venerable and stoic tone to which we are indebted. Offering a mixture of vintage pieces, new finds and limited edition versions of familiar stalwarts, LABOUR AND WAIT BROWN will ‘pop-up’ for nine days in September on Calvert Avenue in Shoreditch; a short walk from our Redchurch Street shop.

    16c Calvert Avenue,
    London, E2 7JJ

    12th - 20th September
    Monday to Saturday 11.00am - 7.00pm
    Sunday 11.00am - 5.00pm

  • See more: 2020, Brown Shop, London Design Festival

  • 01 August, 2020

    The gaudy colours of a sweet shop are something of an assault on the senses! The visual ‘noise’ created by the packaging and colours of different brands is all but deafening. The neat rows of pick ‘n’ mix sweets in jars create some order amidst the chaos. The smell of a traditional sweet shop can sometimes evoke a Proustian moment!

  • See more: 2020, Calendar, Shop Talk

  • 01 July, 2020

    Though not strictly speaking a shop, most people need a garage at some point. There are certain tasks where only an expert will do. The mechanics themselves are often only half visible, plunging head first into an engine or disappearing under a chassis. The distinctive aroma of fuel, oil and rubber divides opinion, but we love it!

  • See more: 2020, Calendar, Shop Talk

  • 29 June, 2020

    At Labour and Wait we spend our time sourcing and developing products which will stand the test of time. We firmly believe that good quality well-designed items enhance our daily lives, and we hope that a sense of timelessness pervades all that we do. 

    British Standard’ follows a similar philosophy. Their straightforward wooden cupboards are designed and made in Suffolk using traditional methods, proving that it is still possible to find honest properly made cabinetry which will last a lifetime.

    Here, British Standard’s design director, Merlin Wright, test drives his top picks from Labour and Wait in his London home.

    "Made by Opinel with a wooden handle and serrated blade, which is particularly effective on crusty loaves."

    "The soft, bulbous brush and long handle enable people with high ceilings to sweep away cobwebs and dust without damaging paintwork."

    "These airtight jars are perfect for storing dry goods such as flour and rice; much better than leaking plastic bags and you can see how much is left."

    "Loose tea tastes much better than tea bags but is fiddly and messy to use for a single cup - this infuser is simple to fill with a single scooping action and to empty after use with a flick of the wrist."

    "The perfect teapot, improved. This classic design is now stackable and has a removable metal strainer for easy extraction of old tea leaves."

    6. BIB APRON
    "In thick brown cotton with robust ties and brass eyelets, this classic apron can be used in the kitchen or workshop. This is the long version with a neck loop to protect the whole torso and has handy pockets for small tools or a recipe perhaps."

  • See more: 2020, British Standard, Kitchen

  • 27 June, 2020

    Photo by Alun Callender

    It's been quite some time since we last opened the door at 11.00am to Redchurch Street customers, so it brings us great yet trepidatious pleasure to announce that we will be reopening from TUESDAY 14TH JULY.

    All of the new processes and cautiousness surrounding shops reopening after this lockdown will be heeded, and we'll be working hard to make visiting safe and as pleasurable as before.

    We will return with more information closer to the date.

    See you all soon!

  • See more: 2020, Redchurch Street

  • 01 June, 2020

    A visit to a good fishmonger can be like a lesson in marine biology! Who knew what extraordinary creatures lived under the sea? They are fascinating (and sometimes terrifying), to contemplate.The fishmonger’s is a wet and chilly world, where rubber aprons and boots offer some protection from the icy produce.

  • See more: 2020, Calendar, Shop Talk

  • 01 May, 2020

    How much more appealing to browse the shelves of a good grocer’s, than to be faced with the bland, generic interior of a supermarket. Tried and tested brands are stocked, together with a selection of local produce. The goods on offer will often have a seasonal bias, inspiring recipes and ensuring variety. A good grocer’s can make food shopping a pastime rather than a chore.

  • See more: 2020, Calendar, Shop Talk

  • 13 April, 2020

    Since closing our Redchurch Street shop due to the ongoing virus crisis, your utilisation of our mail order service has kept us, the staff left able to work, busier than ever!

    We are truly thankful of the continuous support by ordering with us online. However, being a small independent business with about three quarters of our staff currently 'out of office', we are somewhat slower than usual getting your orders out.

    Do not fret! We're working hard, safely, separately; measuring, wrapping, taping, boxing, labelling. Your order will reach you, but it may take a handful of days rather than a couple. Please bear this in mind before calling or emailing us, as this will distract from our main task: getting your order in the post and into your home.

    If you do have any questions regarding our offering and services, do feel free to pop us an email and we'll get back to you as soon as possible:

    Keep those hands washed and keep those orders a'coming!

  • See more: 2020, Mail Order

  • 01 April, 2020

    Grow your own! A garden shop can be the gateway to horticultural heaven.The green-fingered amongst us will feel at home here, but even the enthusiastic beginner will find everything they need to bring nature that bit closer to home. From houseplants to allotments, we all need a bit more green in our lives, don’t we?

  • See more: 2020, Calendar, Shop Talk

  • 01 March, 2020

    Although not to everyone’s taste, the skill of a highly trained butcher amounts to an art. In a classic striped apron and wielding a panoply of terrifying tools, a knowledgeable butcher will advise on the best cuts for specific recipes, then prepare them with finesse.

  • See more: 2020, Calendar, Shop Talk

  • 01 February, 2020

    The smell of freshly baked bread is hard to beat, evoking contentment and warmth. Few can resist the lure of a good baker’s shop, with its tempting array of bread and cakes. The bakers have been hard at work for hours by the time we arrive to survey the fruits of their labour. How could we survive without our daily bread?

  • See more: 2020, Calendar, Shop Talk

  • 30 January, 2020

    It may be quite apparent that those of us at LABOUR AND WAIT are ardent tea drinkers. Another notable tea drinker was George Orwell. He had very strong views on (very strong) tea, and here's his essay from the Evening Standard of 12th January, 1946, complimented with our own serving suggestions.

    Thus, we fully endorse the following statement:

    "If you look up 'tea' in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.

    This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

    When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden:

    First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase 'a nice cup of tea' invariably means Indian tea.

    Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities — that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britanniaware teapots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse; though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad. 

    Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water.

    Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing, this is not an idea that can be realized on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes — a fact which is recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners.

    Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful. Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly.

    Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours. Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that it makes any difference.

    Seventhly, after making the tea, one should stir it, or better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle.

    Eighthly, one should drink out of a good breakfast cup — that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one's tea is always half cold before one has well started on it.

    Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.

    Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.

    Lastly, tea — unless one is drinking it in the Russian style — should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tealover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.

    Some people would answer that they don't like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.

    These are not the only controversial points to arise in connexion with tea drinking, but they are sufficient to show how subtilized the whole business has become. There is also the mysterious social etiquette surrounding the teapot (why is it considered vulgar to drink out of your saucer, for instance?) and much might be written about the subsidiary uses of tealeaves, such as telling fortunes, predicting the arrival of visitors, feeding rabbits, healing burns and sweeping the carpet. It is worth paying attention to such details as warming the pot and using water that is really boiling, so as to make quite sure of wringing out of one's ration the twenty good, strong cups of that two ounces, properly handled, ought to represent."

    Looks like it's about teatime!

  • See more: 2020, George Orwell, Tea

  • 11 January, 2020

    For Spring/Summer 2020 at Dover Street Market in London we have selected a succinct range of old favourites alongside some exclusive products just for our space in this respected department store.

    The usual base of black products are accompanied by ecrus and whites, including an exclusive oversized Japanese canvas carryall.

    Visit Dover Street Market here:

    18-22 Haymarket,
    London SW1Y 4DG

    Mon – Sat: 11:00am – 7:00pm
    Sun: 12:00pm – 6:00pm

    01 January, 2020

    Ironmonger’s and hardware shops were really the starting point for LABOUR AND WAIT. We have always been fascinated by the variety of practical goods on offer: kitchen gadgets, tools and of course brushes! This type of shop is very close to our heart with its wealth of functional products for every domestic chore.

  • See more: 2020, Calendar, Shop Talk

  • 24 December, 2019

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at Labour and Wait.

    We are now closed for the Christmas period. Thank you for another year of your support and custom.

    See you in 2020, our 20th anniversary year. Keep an eye on our news section for celebratory events and projects.

    Our Redchurch Street shop reopens at 11.00am on 2nd January and our Workroom reopens at 11.00am on 6th January, 2020.

  • See more: 2019

  • 04 December, 2019

    As we approach the big day at the end of the year, please order by 1.00pm GMT on the following dates for guaranteed Christmas delivery...

    United Kingdom ... 19th December
    European Union ... 17th December
    North America ... 15th December
    Rest of World ... 13th December

    Please note that we close down for Christmas and New Year between the dates of 23rd December and 6th of January, during which time our mail order department is away. Our Redchurch Street shop reopens from the break on 2nd January, 2020.

  • See more: 2019, Mail Order

  • 02 December, 2019

    We're very pleased to say that, thanks to our customers' response to the CRISIS AT CHRISTMAS Black Friday alternative, we will be donating £1000 this winter, to help homeless people throughout the United Kingdom.

    If you want to donate or help homeless people this Christmas, visit Crisis this Christmas.

  • See more: 2019, Black Friday

  • 28 November, 2019

    If you too are interested in donating separately, visit:

  • See more: 2019, Black Friday

  • 26 November, 2019

    This autumn marks the fifteenth anniversary of Dover Street Market. This exceptional store was conceived by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons and opened on the street which bears its name in September 2004. Soon after, we were thrilled to be invited to join the Dover Street Market family, and to curate a space offering our timeless goods.


    To mark their fifteenth anniversary, Dover Street Market are holding an event called 'Monochromarket'. They have asked friends old and new to create a monochrome product that defines and celebrates their relationship with the store.

    With this brief we have reinterpreted a true stalwart of LABOUR AND WAIT, our cotton canvas bib apron. In a very limited run this Monochromarket bib apron is in pitch-black canvas, with a giant screen printed Dover Street Market logo on the inside.

    Find these aprons exclusively in Dover Street Market London from 29th November, 2019.

    Dover Street Market London
    18-22 Haymarket,
    London, SW1Y 4DG
    Tel: 020 7518 0680

    09 November, 2019

    We have worked with Lavenham of Suffolk to create a garment which demonstrates our commitment to functional products and timeless design; a set of values shared by both brands.

    Lavenham takes its name from the Suffolk village in which it was founded. The company was established in 1969 when they began manufacturing the world's first nylon quilted horse rugs. They quickly expanded into outerwear and were the first brand to make and sell a quilted gilet.

    A service provided by Lavenham is the supply of a foal-sized horse rug to a breeder within 24 hours of the foal being born; an important and necessary swaddling tool in the first few weeks of a horse's life.

    Lavenham predominantly work with British cloth manufacturers, renowned for their durability and quality, and the same is true of the wadding they use in the quilting, which comes from the North of England and is made of 65% recycled fibres.

    Our gilet is an unfussy expression of the heritage of Lavenham with the timeless utilitarian aesthetic of classic workwear.The product is practical, functional and modest – inspired by the type of garment worn by the bucolic labourer.

    This unisex gilet is reversible. One side is a robust canvas with corduroy trim and large utility pockets; the other is a two inch diamond quilt with subtle patch pockets, typical of the Lavenham tradition.

    Like all Lavenham garments, our gilet is proudly made in Suffolk, England.

    Available to purchase on Thursday 14th November.

  • See more: 2019, Lavenham

  • 08 November, 2019

    We are very pleased to announce that our Japanese online shop is now open for business. Please visit them here:

  • See more: 2019

  • 05 November, 2019

    Introducing 'Fifty High Street', our new collaborative pop-up venture in Bruton, Somerset, with the team behind Hole & Corner magazine.

    Within Fifty High Street you will find an evolving selection from the amplitude of our offerings, now available in south west England until Christmas 2019.

    From the outset Hole & Corner has celebrated the creativity, heritage and dedication of the craftsperson. Now with Fifty High Street, they are advancing this commitment through a selection of curated objects and workshops.

    Fifty High Street will be hosting demonstrations by resident makers, offering an insight into the process behind the objects, detailing their dedication and skill. This will provide an opportunity to learn from the makers, with workshops and talks within the shop and further afield around Bruton.

    Fifty High Street is now open. Find us there until the end of the year.

    Fifty High Street
    Somerset, BA10 0AN

    05 September, 2019

    In the Tour de France of the 1940s and 1950s, competitors wouldn't be seen without a metal 'bidon', the container that riders used to carry water.

    The most recognisable bidon was Coloral, a fluted alloy bottle with a cork stopper and tooled cap signed off with a scripted logo. Riders didn’t just reserve them for bottling water, but also to preserve a simple blend of milk and sugar that kept energy levels high during competitions, and even wine when celebrating victories.

    An original Coloral bottle

    Despite its cult status, Coloral’s production dwindled and ceased completely in the mid-1950s due to manufacturing pressures.

    For London Design Festival 2019 we are celebrating the reintroduction of this handsome, timeless icon. The reengineered Coloral bottle is upgraded using brushed, food-grade stainless steel. Its robust design is lightweight and compact, and its dimensions slightly tweaked to fit modern bottle cages.

    It's a perfectly satisfying vessel for those not on two wheels, too- it has been vacuum insulated to keep cold drinks cool and your hot drinks piping hot, and there’s no plastic used in the flask or its packaging.

    To celebrate this classic reborn, we have worked with Coloral to produce a limited edition of 100 bottles with a red seal, and will provide a free musette style bag with every bottle purchase. These will be available for the duration of London Design Festival, alongside a small exhibition of Coloral collateral in our Redchurch Street shop. 

    Saturday 14th - Sunday 22nd September

  • See more: 2019, London Design Festival

  • 27 August, 2019

    Finally! For years customers have asked us whether we either stock a wall clock or if we ever will. After a long and unfruitful search, we have specified our own. Our wall clock is made by a company who specialise in clocks for industry, including schools, laboratories and swimming pools. We have worked closely with them to create this clock which, in terms of quality, harks back to their products from earlier times; a real glass lens, printed metal face, and metal hands and case. The clock of course features our favourite Gill Sans typeface.

    Find it here.

  • See more: 2019

  • 02 August, 2019

    We are pleased to reveal the opening of a pop-up LABOUR AND WAIT space within the Bermondsey premises of respected architectural salvage company LASSCO. A short walk from London Bridge and the ambrosial Bermondsey Street, the space is set within a railway arch and opens onto The Ropewalk, a narrow Victorian thoroughfare beside the railway.The Ropewalk is named in reference to eighteenth century eccentric Robert Rich, who made rope in the area, and the passage was marked thus on John Roques' map of 1746. Since 2010, the Ropewalk has become the venue for a lively and popular weekend food market, with vendors selling their produce from stalls along its length, and includes a handful of restaurants and bars within the railway arches. Equally as beguiling to us, there's even a timber yard, so we certainly feel at home!

    We at LABOUR AND WAIT have always felt an affinity to the vibrant atmosphere created around a market; our very first shop being situated in the heart of Brick Lane.Our pop up space showcases a selection of our quality, functional products, alongside the quirky and interesting salvage of LASSCO.

    Lassco, Ropewalk
    37 Maltby Street,
    London, SE1 3PA

    9.00am – 5.00pm
    10.00am – 5.00pm
    11.00am – 5.00pm

    020 7394 8061

  • See more: 2019, Lassco

  • 27 June, 2019

    We're very pleased to announce a new selection of specials for our Dover Street Market spaces in London and New York.

    You'll find our traditional Guernsey sweater in black for the first time, alongside a black leather tool case, black felt coaster and placemat, black indoor watering can, black cotton drill pinafore dress and black hurricane lamp. We're also pleased to announce a very welcome return to our classic Folio Bag in, you guessed it! Black canvas.

    These specials are available on Friday 12th July exclusively in Dover Street Market London and New York (pinafore only available in London).

  • See more: 2019, Dover Street Market

  • 26 June, 2019

    In what will be our twentieth year, the LABOUR AND WAIT calendar is a clarion call for the salvation of traditional high street shops and services. These unpretentious businesses were the original inspiration behind LABOUR AND WAIT, where quality goods are for sale, and interaction with the shopkeeper is a part of the retail experience.

    As the months progress, our 2020 calendar is a tribute to these shops, their owners and to the wealth of products and expertise they offer. We hope that small independents can somehow weather the storm to reclaim their rightful place as pillars of their local communities.

    Our 2020 calendar is available to purchase now, and will be posted out in July. In the meantime, here are some behind the scenes images of the making of 'Shop Talk':


  • See more: 2019, Calendar, Shop Talk

  • 11 June, 2019

    We are extremely pleased to show off one of our latest products, this recycled coffee grounds reusable cup

    Following the familiar paper/plastic form usually found discarded and in an untenable abundance, this cup is made from coffee grounds collected from local coffee shops in Berlin. The grounds are compressed and combined with a natural and biodegradable polymer to create this eco-friendly cup, which has quickly become the conscientious commuter companion of many staff at Labour and Wait.

    This cup is available to purchase from our shop at 85 Redchurch Street in Shoreditch and online.

    Here's to a good, responsible brew!!

  • See more: 2019, Eco-Friendly

  • 10 June, 2019

    Out in the Pacific Northwest, there are some of our bib aprons working very hard for the premier cocktail company in Portland, Public Provisions.

    Founded by Melaney Schmidt and Malia Myers, Public Provisions provide beautiful and culinary-driven cocktails for special events. Their menus are driven by the seasons and integrate ingredients that highlight the distinct flavours of this part of the world. 

    But why choose aprons from 5,000 miles away?

    "We love these aprons because their look is striking but also understated and professional. When the guests and clients we serve notice the apron, we know they're taking note of all of our intentional details including our choice in workwear. The aprons are durable and well-constructed, perfectly holding up to the demands of bartending whether we're inside serving a seated dinner of 60 or outside in a forest, serving a wedding party of 300.

    "When working, we are usually building stunning, complex cocktails that require many steps to complete, and we are repeatedly reaching for tools and ingredients within a small 3 foot radius. This type of dance behind a bar requires us to be able to move swiftly. The construction of the apron is conducive to that mobility while also maintaining its constructed integrity, a perfect balance for our needs. That said, our choice in apron hardly ever goes unnoticed and we always enthusiastically refer inquisitors to Labour and Wait!"

    Follow Public Provisions on Instagram: @publicprovisions

    Public Provisions

  • See more: 2019, Covered

  • 03 June, 2019
    Neuton Hair Salon opened its doors in Newington Green, North London, in 2016. The business was started by Dani, originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, whose ambition was to open a place to call her own.
    Newington Green was first known as 'Neutone', from its record in the Domesday survey of 1086. This is from where Neuton takes its name. Later, in the 17th century, Samuel Pepys wandered the area to benefit from the fresh air. It was not recorded as to whether he was also looking for a haircut.
    Neuton use our bib aprons, which, as is evident, are especially useful when colouring hair: "We love everything about our aprons and have been using them since Neuton opened 3 years ago. We really love the fact that the older they get the better they look! We love that craft look and wear them pretty much every day. They look just great!"
    Neuton Hair Salon
    117 Newington Green Road
    London, N1 4QY
    Instagram: @neutonhair

  • See more: 2019, Covered

  • 27 May, 2019

    Hoxton Street Monster Supplies is a non-profit organisation, where proceeds are donated to the 'Ministry of Stories', a writing and mentoring charity based in East London for those aged between eight and 18. Through a variety of programmes, the Ministry of Stories help children find and realise their creative potential.

    This shop is strictly for monsters, so visits by humans can be risky business. There's an invisible cat that could trip you up, and various options of tinned fear stacked frightfully high. Such names as Zadie Smith and Charlie Higson helped select some of the finest tinned fear you'll find on the market.

    To avoid any mishaps and keep customers safe, there are helpful staff on hand, wearing our bib aprons to keep them clean, should there be any unfortunate accidents.

    On the aprons, Monster Supplies say that "when we opened we looked around for a stylish and sturdy shopkeeper apron that could handle occasional spillages, for example when customers paid by human sacrifice, and could clean up easily. The council eventually cracked down on alternative payment methods and we've found tidier ways to serve up AB and Type O+ that don't lead to as many mishaps, but we have kept the aprons because we love them. Please consider making these in XXXXXXXXXL as our monster customers would love to purchase!"

    Hoxton Street Monster Supplies
    159 Hoxton Street,
    London, N1 6PJ
    Instagram: @monstersupplies

    All photographs by David Rowswell

  • See more: 2019, Covered

  • 20 May, 2019

    Melody Park is a fine artist and children's book illustrator based in Seoul, South Korea, who is no stranger to our bib apron...

    "If I remember right, I bought the apron in the Labour and Wait London shop in 2013. At that time I did all the long legwork of buying the perfect working clothes for me, and I found it in Shoreditch Labour and Wait shop. When I found the shop and the green tiles, I felt intuitively I could buy something here.

    "After 2013, my studio location has moved from Kingston, Glasgow, Nürnberg and to Seoul now. I have always worn the apron in the studio, whichever the city. The apron is perfectly made with width, depth and height so I can wear it tightly, with a good feeling. This is very important, because when I paint I move rapidly and energetically. The apron is a very suitable working clothes for me as a painter."

    Follow Melody Park on Instagram: @melodypark_

  • See more: 2019, Covered

  • 16 May, 2019

    Andrew Moran has been the LABOUR AND WAIT photographer since the company was founded in 2000. In this role, he has taken the still life shots for the company’s calendars for the years 2012 -2018. For Photo London, the annual photography event in the capital, he presents an edited selection of these timeless images in book form.

    The resulting slim volume forms part of a series of photographic journals published by the Silverhill Press, a small independent publisher based in Hastings.

    These books are available exclusively at our Dover Street Market London space for a limited time, alongside a small selection of reproduced images to view.

    Photo London runs from 16th to the 19th of May, 2019.

    Dover Street Market London
    18-22 Haymarket,
    London SW1Y 4DG

    Mon – Sat: 11:00am – 7:00pm
    Sun: 12:00pm – 6:00pm

    See more of Andrew's work on his website:

  • See more: 2019, Calendar, Dover Street Market, Photo London

  • 13 May, 2019

    Established in 2005 by Oliver Shute, The Wild Fork is an event bar and kitchen based in rural West Berkshire. 

    "We specialise in creative, contemporary food and providing a bespoke service for all occasions in locations across the United Kingdom, from treasured Grade 1 listed buildings to historic castles, garden marquee weddings, boardrooms, shoot lodges and pop-up restaurants."

    "These hard-working brown canvas aprons, a Labour and Wait classic, have become an essential work wear favourite at The Wild Fork. Desirable but practical, robust and comfortable, we haven’t found a better performing apron for our waiting staff and bartenders. Our head chef has also claimed one of his own for the kitchen.  And the classic, vintage style always catches the eyes of our guests.  Who knew wearing an apron could give so much pleasure! They’ll be out in force at our Waterfront Enclosure during Henley Royal Regatta this summer."

    Follow The Wild Fork's food stories on Instagram: @thewildfork01

    Images by Jamie Dunn Photography

  • See more: 2019, Covered

  • 29 April, 2019

    Darcy's Kaffe is a recently opened coffee shop in Copenhagen, Denmark.

    "I started back in November, doing pop ups and events and then moving into a basement in Nørrebro just as the weather got too cold. My friend Jacques, who started Ofr Copenhagen (the original shop is in Paris) moved in with me in December with his beautiful selection of books, magazines and art and together we are slowly developing something special."

    "My girlfriend, Scarlett, who is an architect and has her studio based in a room at the back of the shop, bought me my Labour and Wait apron as a congratulation/good luck present for opening my own place, and I have worn it with pride every day since (literally - I’m open every day at the moment!) I find the pockets useful for pens, matches, bits of coffee kit and receipts, and the size is perfect for a busy day making drinks and food."

    "I look forward to many more days behind my espresso machine and seeing how the apron ages over time."

    We look forward to seeing it, too!

    Follow Darcy's Kaffe on Instagram: @darcyskaffe

    Darcy's Kaffe
    Blågårdsgade 49
    2200 København

  • See more: 2019, Covered

  • 05 April, 2019
    From an early age, Jack Lowe had an interest in photography. He was given a Kodak Instamatic camera at the age of 8 by his grandmother, which developed his passion into a career in photography. Jack's other passions are lifeboats and the sea, but how to combine all three? This is how the Lifeboat Station Project was born.
    Working from a decommissioned ambulance, recommissioned as a mobile darkroom, Jack set out to photograph all 238 RNLI lifeboat stations and the volunteers, using Victorian glass plate equipment. He is currently just over half way through the project.
    But how did Jack come to wear a Labour and Wait bib apron?

    "I first became aware of the Labour and Wait bib apron back in 2014. I popped in to visit a friend who runs an independent coffee company.

    He stopped work for a moment to say hello. While we chatted, I realised he was wearing a splendid looking apron. It looked perfect for my needs, just the thing I’d been looking for to protect me from the rigours of working with such an old photographic process as wet plate collodion. It had a lovely traditional feel too, that would suit my work down to the ground.

    I asked him about it.

    “You haven’t heard of Labour and Wait?” he said.

    It was true, I hadn’t, but I got onto the website and ordered one straight away. A few years down the line, who’d have thought that it would become such a ‘famous’ item in its own right, even ending up as a museum exhibit!
    I’m wearing the apron in just about every photograph of me working on the The Lifeboat Station Project. My followers love the #LSPthrowdown hashtag on Instagram, which I use at the end of my photographic missions.

    I find a good spot to lay the apron down for a photograph, perhaps on a lifeboat deck or slipway to signify the end of another great few weeks on the coast.

    Over time, it’s become really splashed and stained with silver nitrate, culminating in this final ’throwdown’ at the halfway point in Dover after four years’ work (above).

    Now Labour and Wait have kindly donated a new apron to the project for the second half. I wonder which one will end up being the dirtier of the two…!"

    Jack is currently exhibiting his work at Poole Museum until 22nd April, 2019, where you'll also find his original bib apron proudly displayed.

    Follow Jack and the project on instagram: @lordlowe

  • See more: 2019, Covered

  • 02 April, 2019

    General Store is a neighbourhood grocery shop in Peckham, South London, who sell cheese, bread, coffee, wine, beer, seasonal fruit and vegetables, and lots of store cupboard essentials.

    Image from Monocle Magazine, 2013

    They are truly a shop after our own heart here at Labour and Wait, sharing not just aesthetic cues, but attitudinal ones too; they work with producers and suppliers who focus on the quality, integrity and provenance of their produce.

    We're also very pleased to say that not only are our aprons worn at General Store, but they sell them, too!

    Follow General Store on Instagram @general_store

    General Store
    172 Bellenden Road,
    Peckham, SE15 1BW 

  • See more: 2019, Covered

  • 18 March, 2019

    Monmouth Coffee Company started roasting and retailing coffee from 27 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, in 1978. For thirty years they roasted their coffee in their basement (a production location we’re all too familiar with here at Labour and Wait!) but since 2007 they have larger facilities in Bermondsey to accommodate production for their now two shops, the other being at 2 Park Street, next to Borough Market.

    Photograph by Trent McMinn

    Sourcing and roasting coffee from single farms, estates and cooperatives is important to Monmouth Coffee, and allows them to establish strong relationships with the growers and exporters to ensure quality and fairness.

    Photograph by Trent McMinn

    Monmouth were the first adopters of the Labour and Wait apron, outside of our own shop. Many customers came to us after the staff at Monmouth had kindly told them where the aprons were from. As Monmouth Coffee Company are leaders in their field, this is an association of which we are very proud. In the early days, the aprons weren’t even labelled, so we relied totally on word of mouth recommendations like this!

    Monmouth Coffee Company
    27 Monmouth Street,
    Covent Garden,
    London, WC2H 9EU

  • See more: 2019, Covered

  • 15 March, 2019

    Labour and Wait on Cheshire Street, 2002

    Our canvas aprons have become a Labour and Wait classic. We made the prototypes ourselves, as staff uniform, in the basement of our original shop on Cheshire Street in 2000. Soon customers were wanting to buy them, so we found a factory in the UK and started production.

    A classic Cheshire Street sight, 2005

    Cheshire Street, 2006

    Our aprons were inspired by traditional shop coats worn in ironmongers and warehouses, the likes of which ceased being produced many years ago. Since inception our aprons have been often imitated but never quite equalled. They are made from robust and hardwearing cotton duck fabric, with brass eyelets and herringbone tape ties.

    Redchurch Street 2016, by Alun Calender

    As standard, we only offer our aprons in one colour; a stoic, trusty brown. However, over the years we have partnered with others to give a different spin on our aprons. In 2014 we worked with Monocle magazine to produce a special limited run of dark olive aprons with ecru tape and gunmetal eyelets; and in 2017 we jointly produced a denim apron with Blackhorse Lane Ateliers in Walthamstow, which referenced jeans heritage by using copper hardware instead of brass.

    Limited edition Monocle apron, 2014

    The Tokyo shop team, extolling the virtues of our aprons! 2017

    From these humble beginnings, we now supply the classic brown apron to restaurants, coffee shops, artists and craftspeople worldwide. To celebrate our aprons and their users, throughout 2019 we will be featuring a variety of apron wearers in our series 'Covered'.

    Redchurch Street, 2010

  • See more: 2019, Covered

  • 13 February, 2019

    For London Fashion Week we have produced our Fisherman’s Smock in black. It will be exclusively available at Dover Street Market London from Friday 15th February, and available at Labour and Wait from March.

    This classic item of workwear has been an essential outer layer for British fishermen for over a century. It’s practical and utilitarian nature makes it equally popular with artists and craftspeople. Our smock is made in England and from 100% cotton canvas.

    You can find out more about the history of the Fisherman's Smock here.

  • See more: 2019, Dover Street Market

  • 15 January, 2019

    With a new and exclusive petrol blue colour on offer, we felt it was time to give a little back story to our Welsh tapestry blankets....We work with one of the last remaining working woollen mills in West Wales which has a history dating back over 125 years. For the past 35 years it has been run by Mike and his family. And Mike is the best man to tell us about his tools and processes:


    “That oil can has been in constant use for the past 32 years to my knowledge. It is probably fifty years old but still functions perfectly well, keeping all the machinery well oiled and running smoothly.”

    When he took over the mill, Mike inherited two 120" Dobcross looms, a super cop winder, holt cone winder and a new warping creel, which allows the mill to produce the iconic Welsh ‘Tapestry’ bedcovers.


    We have sold these beautiful blankets for many years at Labour and Wait. We source vintage and antique blankets from all over Wales, and we never fail to be astounded by the brightness and variety of the colours. However, as their popularity has increased, so has their price, and it becomes harder to find the spotless - and the mothless  - examples we are looking to sell. So we were very pleased to work with Mike and his mill producing high quality modern versions.


    At the moment we sell the blanket in red, natural, gold, green and petrol blue; with a orange pattern in the works, which remain exclusive colourways to Labour and Wait.


    “The cone of red yarn is a sample of dyed yarn used to make our Welsh tapestry bedspreads. It is a blend of 100% pure new English wools spun specially for us by a long established firm in Huddersfield. It is then sent onto Bradford where it is dip-dyed using well established traditional methods.”


    “The natural yarns used in our tapestries are from Wales and are, of course, the natural colour of the fleece with no dyeing involved.”


    So how much work is involved in weaving a blanket? 
    “Setting up the creel and warping takes the best part of a week. When I have the warp in the loom, I must tie each of the 2,552 threads to the corresponding previous warp threads. I spent all day yesterday winding cops for the shuttles. Each king size tapestry takes three hours to weave, double takes two and a half hours and a single about two hours.
    “And just to keep me on my toes, I had a critical component on the loom break last week. Spares are not available so with the assistance of the local blacksmith I had to make and fit a replacement.”


    “Did you know that 7 miles of yarn is required to make 1 double size bedspread, and in doing so the threads will cross over each other 5.3 million times. WOW.”


    WOW indeed, Mike. It sounds like a lot of work, but at least we have something wonderful to show for it.


    Our thanks go to Mike for showing us the mill, and for revealing the intricacies of the Welsh tapestry blanket.

    15 January, 2019

    Every six months, Dover Street Market perform their 'Tachigari' metamorphosis, where they close down for a few days, and each resident in their Haymarket space transforms into the new season's collection. 'Tachigari' means 'beginning' in Japanese, the process of changing to the new season.

    Here is our new selection for the first half of 2019.

  • See more: 2019, Dover Street Market

  • 18 December, 2018

    With the most sedulous care, our staff in the Workroom are picking, packing and posting all of your Christmas orders.

    In between the cardboard boxes and gallons of tea required to undertake this mammoth task, they'd like to remind you that today is the LAST DAY of guaranteed UK Christmas delivery, so get your order in before midnight to avoid disappointment!

  • See more: 2018

  • 01 December, 2018

    The traditional ‘Zori’, are sandals with a Tatami sole. This type of Japanese footwear allows free flow of air around the foot. What a contrast with a pair of British slippers, whose very purpose is to insulate! Climate differences have certainly made themselves felt in the respective design of indoor footwear.

  • See more: 2018, Calendar, East and West

  • 27 November, 2018

    We're very pleased to say that, thanks to our customers' response to the CRISIS AT CHRISTMAS Black Friday alternative, we will be donating £800 this winter, to help homeless people throughout the United Kingdom.

  • See more: 2018, Black Friday

  • 23 November, 2018

    On Friday the 23rd of November, instead of discounts and special offers, LABOUR AND WAIT will donate 10% of shop and online sales to CRISIS AT CHRISTMAS, in an effort to help homeless people throughout the United Kingdom this winter.

  • See more: 2018, Black Friday

  • 08 November, 2018

    For the impending festive period, we were asked if we would like to take part in an advertising campaign to help promote local and independent shops of the high street by Visa. For such a conscionable and 'close to home' cause, how could we say no?

    Find our involvement below, amongst a panoply of fellow independent retailers of repute.

    Read more about the campaign here.

  • See more: 2018, Visa Christmas Advert

  • 01 November, 2018

    The traditional enamel saucepan is of a type we might remember from our grandparents’ kitchen. British saucepans, with their distinct long handle, are little altered. The Japanese example, with its hand-beaten surface and untreated wooden handle, shows an appreciation for craft and the aesthetic of the handmade.

  • See more: 2018, Calendar, East and West

  • 15 October, 2018

    We are proud to introduce our new Fisherman's Smock. This venerable piece of workwear has been an essential outer layer for British fishermen for over a century, but it has also been popular with painters, sculptors, potters, craftsmen… and shopkeepers! So what is it and why do we like it?


    The fisherman’s smock is a classic example of functional, utilitarian clothing. The Folkestone fisherman pictured above is wearing the traditional pocketless version. Smocks were originally cut from sailcloth, making this garment a strong and sturdy extra layer. This kept the wearer warm and dry, protected his woollen jumper, and was comfortable and easy to work in. The slightly shortened sleeves prevented the cuffs getting wet - a feature also seen on Guernsey jumpers and Breton shirts - while the tight fit and high neck ensured maximum protection from the elements.


    By 1910, the heyday of the herring industry, smocks were being supplied to fishing communities throughout Great Britain. But it wasn’t just a uniform for fishermen to work in - the practical, utilitarian nature of the fisherman’s smock meant it was adopted by many artists and artisans.


    The cheap, tough, easy to find smocks provided the perfect protection for artists as well as sailors. Here, sculptor Barbara Hepworth wears a smock as she sketches. In the early decades of the twentieth century, St. Ives in Cornwall became a popular destination for artists. We can well imagine they were inspired by the clothing worn by local mariners, such as this rather motley bunch from along the coast in Mousehole, whose white smocks betray their sailcloth origins. 


    In-keeping with these origins, our smocks are also made from sailcloth fabric, which washes and ages beautifully, very much like good denim. The only alteration we have made to the original are longer sleeves and a triple patch pocket.

    Whether for sailor or sculptor, the fisherman’s smock remains a functional and timeless garment.



    Pictures from the National Maritime Museum Archive and the Pentreath Photographic Archives. Photograph of Eli Farrow the fisherman by Walter Clutterbuck, from the Norfolk County Council Library.

  • See more: 2018

  • 01 October, 2018

    The German enamel ladle, with its utilitarian form and mottled decoration, contrasts with the Japanese, made from the surprising material choice of wood. The enamel ladle is almost exclusively for food, whereas the wooden ladle can be found at the entrance to tea gardens for the washing of hands.

  • See more: 2018, Calendar, East and West

  • 11 September, 2018

    Cauldon Ceramics of Staffordshire maintain the tradition of red ware manufacturing and are the oldest remaining maker of the Brown Betty teapot. Together with designer Ian McIntyre they present this re-engineered edition. It includes the reintroduction of innovative precedents in the history of the pot: Alcock, Lindley and Bloore's 1920's patented 'locking lid' and 'non-drip spout' have been applied. A subtle tweak to the foot and neck of the pot now allows the lid to be inverted into the body, enabling it to be stored efficiently in the factory and stacked in cafes and restaurants. The new addition of a loose-leaf tea basket has also been added.Great care has been taken to respect the traditions of the Brown Betty, whilst implementing new production processes and design details. To re-style the pot, the designer felt, would have been a disservice to the years of refinement that have gone before. This latest edition is intended to promote the legacy and value of this everyday object that has transcended fashions and trends to become a reliable and dependable tool for millions around the world.The Re-Engineered Brown Betty Teapot is available to purchase on Saturday 15th September from our Redchurch Street shop and online later this Autumn.

  • See more: 2018, London Design Festival, The Re-engineered Brown Betty Teapot

  • 09 September, 2018

    The combination of the Rockingham glaze and the red clay was and still is fundamental to the success of the Brown Betty, prolonging the life of the object for its owner and, subsequently, through history.The Staffordshire clay used to make a Brown Betty was first refined in 1693 by Dutch brothers John Philip Elers and David Elers. The brothers emulated the fashionable and expensive Yixing teapots which had originally been imported from China by the Dutch East India Company. The refinement of the local red clay gave rise to a new era of technological experiment in Staffordshire, becoming a catalyst for the industrialisation of the six towns that now make up Stoke-on-Trent.

  • See more: 2018, London Design Festival, The Re-engineered Brown Betty Teapot

  • 06 September, 2018

    The process of design of the Brown Betty spans centuries. There is no single identifiable author and no single definitive version of the pot: it is an anonymous and evolved object. Over the years, Brown Betty has been through the hands of numerous makers, each producing their own interpretation, subtly refining and amalgamating new and original design details. The resulting teapot is a rational object stripped of anything superfluous to its function or production.

    Although there is no definitive version, the manufacturers Alcock, Lindley and Bloore were responsible for cementing the archetypal features of the pot as we know them today. Some of the most recognisable features of the Brown Betty were combined during their production: the globe shape of their pot that is so efficient at infusing loose leaf tea, the roughly cut spout that breaks the flow of water, preventing tea from dribbling back down the outside of the pot, and the Rockingham glaze that concealed any dribbles that did, despite efforts, escape.

  • See more: 2018, London Design Festival, The Re-engineered Brown Betty Teapot

  • 02 September, 2018

    Brown Betty describes a type of teapot with common characteristics of red Etruria Marl clay, a transparent or dark brown Rockingham glaze and a familiar portly body. The ritual of tea drinking has remained largely unchanged for centuries. All over the world people choose a teapot as their preferred apparatus and the humble Brown Betty is often heralded as the archetypal example.

    The popularity of the pot is proven in the quantity in which it has been made. By 1926 the Staffordshire pottery industry was making approximately half a million Brown Betty teapots a week. Despite this, surprisingly little is known about the object itself or its early history and design development. This affordable, utilitarian and unpretentious object has largely gone unnoticed, disappearing into the fabric of everyday life.

  • See more: 2018, London Design Festival, The Re-engineered Brown Betty Teapot

  • 01 September, 2018

    The Japanese jug demonstrates the preference for a matt surface glaze. It has no handle- it is simply grasped. Though not actually hand thrown, this jug clearly has many attributes of a craft object. Paradoxically, the British ‘Denby' jug is in fact handmade, but strives to achieve the uniformity of mass production.

  • See more: 2018, Calendar, East and West

  • 30 August, 2018

    For London Design Festival 2018, Labour and Wait is excited to present the Re-engineered Brown Betty Teapot. The new teapot is the result of a three year research and development project by ceramic designer Ian McIntyre.

    Ian has worked closely with Cauldon Ceramics of Staffordshire, the oldest remaining maker of the traditional Brown Betty teapot, to bring his vision to life. New production processes have been implemented and past innovations such as the ‘locking lid’, and ‘non-drip spout’ have been reintroduced.

    The teapot incorporates a removable metal strainer for loose-leaf tea, whilst subtle adjustments to the foot and neck, enable the teapots to be stacked efficiently in the factory and subsequently in cafes and restaurants.

    This re-engineered teapot retains the best features from the classic Brown Betty, and by virtue of its refinements, brings this everyday archetype up to a new standard of discreet functionalism.

    The new teapot will be available for purchase in the shop from Saturday 15th September, and online later this Autumn.

    London Design Festival runs from Saturday the 15th, until Sunday the 23rd of September. Ian will be on hand throughout Thursday 20th September, should you wish to meet the maker and discuss his creation.

    Teapot image by Milo Reid

  • See more: 2018, London Design Festival, The Re-engineered Brown Betty Teapot

  • 01 August, 2018

    A balloon whisk in stainless steel contrasts with the exquisite delicacy of a Japanese tea whisk. The Japanese ‘Chasen’ is used to mix green matcha powder with hot water, and is an essential element of the traditional tea ceremony. The ubiquitous Western balloon whisk does not carry connotations of refinement and formality.

  • See more: 2018, Calendar, East and West

  • 01 July, 2018

    Two traditional lunch boxes. The marbled enamel example is from France, where lunch boxes of this type were used by labourers and schoolchildren alike. The interior reveals a small, lift out tray for bread. The circular box in Japanese cedar likewise has a removable inner tray. Its smooth flawless finish makes it a joy to handle.

  • See more: 2018, Calendar, East and West

  • 01 June, 2018

    This simple Japanese ‘Yunomi’ is an everyday cup for tea drinking. Sensibilities towards crockery can differ between East and West. The Western ceramic traditions tends to favour smooth, shiny surfaces. In Japan, uneven, often matt textured surfaces are not uncommon. The classic British ‘Berylware’ cup and saucer reminds us of summer fetes and vicarage tea parties!

  • See more: 2018, Calendar, East and West

  • 01 May, 2018

    These paintbrushes, though superficially similar, are constructed in quite different ways. Is it just familiarity with the Western example that makes the Japanese brush so interesting? The single piece handle divides to grip the bristles tightly and has an undeniably Eastern line.

  • See more: 2018, Calendar, East and West

  • 01 April, 2018

    The ‘Tawashi’ scourer is made from Hemp Palm fibres bundled together around a wire core. Highly tactile objects, these scourers are still commonly used in Japan. In Western kitchens, the knitted, metallic scourer is a more familiar sight. Seen here out of context, each scourer assumes characteristics of a surrealist art object.

  • See more: 2018, Calendar, East and West

  • 01 March, 2018

    These two caddies are similar in form, but on different scales. Since the 1930s, Cornishware has been instantly recognisable in Britain, with its coloured stripes evoking the sea and skies of Cornwall. The size of this caddy makes it a perfect container for tea bags. Meanwhile, the traditional Japanese example is used for loose tea. It is handmade from raw tin and is intended to develop a weathered patina with use. Also shown is the copper scoop, which normally lives inside the caddy.

  • See more: 2018, Calendar, East and West

  • 28 February, 2018

    Introducing the E2 jean, exclusive to Labour and Wait.

    Specified by us and manufactured in Walthamstow, London, these jeans are cut in a relaxed heritage fit, with a straight leg.

    They are made from 14.5oz selvedge denim, with great attention paid to the detailing and construction. This includes hidden rivets, a reinforced back pocket and a patch made from our iconic canvas apron fabric.

    Our jean is suitable for both men and women.

  • See more: 2018

  • 01 February, 2018

    Here we find two opposite approaches: The Japanese saw cuts on the pull stroke whereas the traditional Western saw cuts as you push. The different methods have evolved because of the types of wood they were required to cut. The refined Japanese saw works well on a soft wood like cedar; the more robust European saw tackles harder woods such as oak.

  • See more: 2018, Calendar, East and West

  • 01 January, 2018

    Tea is considered a national drink in both Japan and Britain. The aesthetic of both teapots is redolent of their culture. The traditional Brown Betty is a common sight on many British breakfast tables. This classic round teapot, made from the red clay found in Staffordshire, is considered the ideal shape for producing the perfect cuppa. In Japan, the iron ‘Tetsubin’ teapot is favoured for both heating and brewing, partly because the iron changes the taste of the water, making the tea mellow and sweet.

  • See more: 2018, Calendar, East and West

  • 31 December, 2017

    Now that our 2018 Calendar is sold out, we will be sharing each monthly image on our blog throughout the year.

    For this calendar we are comparing domestic items from the Eastern and Western worlds. Whenever we visit Japan, we are fascinated by the way in which our different cultures approach similar tasks, and the way in which generic products have evolved in consequence. Our choice of calendar subjects is unashamedly esoteric, but we hope you will enjoy a very personal appreciation of the singularities of East and West.

  • See more: 2017, Calendar, East and West

  • 01 December, 2017
    How long is a piece of string? An essential item, no home can function without at least one ball of string. There is an abundance of different types of string for numerous domestic chores and we love them all! A beautifully wound ball or spool is a sight to behold and who can resist brown paper packages tied up with string?

  • See more: 2017, Calendar, Object Lessons

  • 01 November, 2017
    How can we extol the virtues of the lowly bucket? This basic vessel is found in every culture and is indispensible. The bucket is a perfect form, which has evolved over the centuries and cannot be improved. Early buckets were made from wood or leather. So long as it remains watertight a bucket is the go-to object in many an emergency. We speak from experience!

  • See more: 2017, Calendar, Object Lessons

  • 01 October, 2017
    We have always admired the tactile qualities of handmade ceramics despite their ‘socks and sandals’ associations! Today there is a renewed interest in all crafts and pottery is therefore enjoying a revival. The combination of earth, fire and natural minerals can produce objects of great beauty, and display evidence of the maker’s hand.

  • See more: 2017, Calendar, Object Lessons

  • 01 September, 2017
    Who can forget going back to school armed with a new set of freshly sharpened pencils? Today surrounded by technology there is still something reassuring about a simple pencil. Even the process of sharpening a pencil and the smell of the wood shavings can be a joy. Pencils come in many guises; it seems there is a pencil available for every task!

  • See more: 2017, Calendar, Object Lessons

  • 01 August, 2017
    Utilitarian buttons are an ongoing fascination. Military and workwear buttons are resolutely fit for purpose. Vintage button cards catch our attention with buttons in serried ranks, all ship shape and Bristol fashion. Material, colour and proportion are key to our appreciation. Running your hand through a box of buttons is soothing, but not if you suffer from koumpounophobia!

  • See more: 2017, Calendar, Object Lessons

  • 01 July, 2017
    Paper products have always appealed to us, and labels are emblematic of this. The humble brown luggage tag has been used to label our products in the shop from day one. Bold graphic postal labels and stickers with their direct informative statements are particularly pleasing. Traditional gummed labels with handwritten inscriptions remind us of dusty museum cabinets full of catalogued artifacts.

  • See more: 2017, Calendar, Object Lessons

  • 01 June, 2017
    A teapot is somehow comforting, reassuring and always a welcome sight. They come in a surprising variety of forms, each seeming to possess its own personality. The basic teapot form is unmistakable: spout, handle and lid, and has remained thus for 300 years or so. A ‘good pourer’ is essential; a dripping teapot is a no - no! At LABOUR AND WAIT it’s always time for tea.

  • See more: 2017, Calendar, Object Lessons

  • 01 May, 2017
    This simple square of cloth is imbued with many strong associations, from catching a sneeze to surrendering a battle. Classic spotted handkerchiefs are often featured in traditional gentlemen’s outfitters, but equally they are redolent of Dick Whittington’s bindle. Morris dancers may be seen waving handkerchiefs, not to mention the British affectation of knotting a hanky on your head at the seaside!

  • See more: 2017, Calendar, Object Lessons

  • 20 April, 2017

     Our first shop on Cheshire Street was fitted out with a set of vintage enamel industrial lampshades, which we had found at an antiques fair. Customers would always ask to buy them, so we decided to put them into production. These iconic factory style shades quickly became one of our best selling lines. That was around fifteen years ago!


    Although there are now numerous industrial type shades available, we feel our high quality enameled steel shades offer amazing value and are still the pick of the crop.

    We also sell a range of twisted fabric covered flex and metal bulb holders which complete the look.


  • See more: 2017, Enamelware

  • 01 April, 2017
    These have been an obsession for many years! We even have a Brush Museum on display in our shop. There seems to have been a brush developed somewhere at sometime for every cleaning opportunity. Often considered a rather humble ‘everyday’ object they display a great degree of craftsmanship. We are always fascinated by the skill of the brush maker.

  • See more: 2017, Calendar, Object Lessons

  • 29 March, 2017

    Labour and Wait is delighted to collaborate with The Gentle Author to present a Spitalfields Life Bookshop for 10 days at our Bethnal Green Workroom. This will be a rare chance to take a look at all Spitalfields Life Books titles in one place and have a peek behind the scenes at Labour and Wait.

    The bookshop will be open between 11am and 6pm everyday from Wednesday 26th April until Saturday 6th May, except for Sunday 30th April.

    On Tuesday 25th April at 7:00pm, we shall be launching the latest title from Spitalfields Life Books, A HOXTON CHILDHOOD & THE YEARS AFTER by A.S. JASPER and we hope you will join us in a celebration. There will be drinks and readings from the work of A.S. JASPER, as well as some live music entertainment from fiddler Dan Mayfield and singing by Henrietta Keeper.
    Click here for ticket availability.

    A.S. JASPER’S tender memoir of growing up in the East End before the First World War, A HOXTON CHILDHOOD, was immediately acclaimed as a classic in 1969 when it was described by the Observer as ‘Zola without all the trimmings.’

    In this definitive new edition, it is accompanied by the first publication of the sequel detailing the author’s struggles and eventual triumph in the cabinet-making trade, THE YEARS AFTER. Illustrated with line drawings by James Boswell and Joe McLaren.

    Ticket holders will be entitled to a £5 discount on A HOXTON CHILDHOOD & THE YEARS AFTER during the event.

    Labour and Wait Workroom
    30 The Oval, London, E2 9DT

  • See more: 2017, The Gentle Author

  • 01 March, 2017
    In our view packaging can make or break a product. We often remove packaging from our stock, but we leave it in place if we feel it enhances the object. We are drawn to simple graphic treatments. In many cases this is packaging that has remained unchanged over the years. Well-designed packaging is often hard to throw away!

  • See more: 2017, Calendar, Object Lessons

  • 02 February, 2017

    We are very excited to announce the opening of our Labour and Wait shop in Tokyo. We have enjoyed a longstanding association with Japan over many years, and have several concessions there in different cities. We are always impressed by the level of interest and product knowledge of Japanese customers, who really seem to appreciate the detail, and share our enthusiasm for timeless functional items.


    The opening this week represents an exciting opportunity for us to bring the complete Labour and Wait story to Tokyo. The new shop is situated in an area called Sendagaya, just a short walk from Harajuku station. The area has a definite ‘neighbourhood’ feeling, much like that which we experienced when we first started in Shoreditch seventeen years ago.


    We are indebted to our colleagues in Japan for making our vision a reality, and are looking forward to the next chapter of our story.

    Labour and Wait Tokyo
    1-1-12 Jingumae Shibuyaka,
    Tokyo, Japan
    Opening hours: 12pm - 8pm
    Tel: 03-6804-6448

  • See more: 2017, Labour and Wait Tokyo

  • 01 February, 2017
    A jug is a very handsome object, its function is proudly displayed. Who would think such a simple combination of a lip and handle could produce so many variations. This iconic object appeals to artists and often features in still life artworks. And after all what would a calendar be without jugs!

  • See more: 2017, Calendar, Object Lessons