This week I headed off to Brixton market to meet long time resident of ‘Great Brixton’ and owner of Circus boutique, Tabatha Rout. About 6 years ago, when the market was something quite different, an opportunity to take over one of the stalls came up and was something Tabatha took on in a spur of the moment style. After studying fashion and textiles, and once owning a stall in Portobello, it seemed only natural for Tabatha to revel in this opportunity. Now over half a decade later, Tabatha is one of the original residents of Brixton market that has helped Brixton to develop into the eclectic hub of locally run stalls it is today.
1. What is the concept of your store?
People say it has a ‘curated’ feel, and obviously that reflects me and who I am, but it’s not really about dictating a style that’s about me – it’s about having varying, interesting pieces which you wouldn’t necessarily put together – whether they are old or new or from near or far, it’s about showcasing them in a way that is interesting to people. I also think it’s unexpected – it’s amazing to see Picasso prints and lithographs hidden amongst a market place.
2. How do you define style?
I don’t define style – I hope I don’t! I think everyone has their own style and I think with regards to the shop. I hope it’s something that people can take elements from and make it their own style. As for my preferred style, to be honest, if I like something, I like something, it doesn’t matter where it’s from. It can be from Poundland, or it can be from somewhere expensive!
3. How important is colour in interiors and what are your tips for injecting colour or pattern into your home or wardrobe?
I think it’s important – I’m much more of a colour person than a neutral person – what I like is when you put certain patterns and colours together and they shouldn’t typically work but they do – for me that’s exciting! I think I do that in the shop too.
4. What is the most popular item in your store?
I would say our range of ceramics. We have ceramics which are vintage German porcelain that are incredibly popular. People also come looking for our art.
5. Can you remember any interior trends which were particularly awful or amazing?
Yes! I hate some yet love them at the same time. I can remember growing up in the 70s and living in a place where the wallpaper and the curtains matched. It was like the swirliest, brownest pattern with naked women on – it was just all over everywhere, windows, walls etc. At the time I thought was the most embarrassing, hideous thing, but now I look back and think…actually that was really cool! Matching wallpaper and matching curtains – maybe that’s a trend that will be brought back!?
6. Where do you find your inspiration? Have you got a particular era?
I don’t know if I have a favourite era – I think there are elements from every era that I like and ‘oh yes that was good, I’ll take that bit…but leave that bit’. I think it’s good to cherry pick elements from the different era’s to create something special.
7. If you could have one homeware item that makes a great interior what would it be?
Definitely a piece of art.
It’s clear that Tabatha’s passion for collecting and sourcing items from both the UK and abroad is something that has led to the development and success of Circus. It was great chatting to her and finding out the story behind another hidden homeware gem, hidden amongst the fruit stalls and coffee shops in South West London. She’s definitely right in saying ‘there’s a lot to discover in such a small space’. If you want to visit Tabatha, head to Coldharbour Lane and see what relics you can find. You can also shop online on Circus website.
Text and photography by Athina.