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Sam Harley, Cloth Shop owner

The Cloth Shop
Sam Harley has been running the Cloth Shop at 290 Portobello Road for the last 17 years. Both his father and grandfather worked in the fashion and tailoring business.

His shop has an original and intriguing display of goods including antique Swedish rag rugs, Indian silk shawls and cashmere blankets. There’s a wide range of fabrics suitable for curtains and upholstery and Sam can arrange the whole process of curtain making and reupholstering for his customers.

The shop also does a healthy trade in selling fabric for costume making in the TV and film industries. The costumes for the Harry Potter films and many BBC productions were made with fabric from the Cloth Shop.

‘When I first started the business lots of people in the area were living in the old Victorian flats and houses. They didn’t have much money but they did have lots of large windows. They would come to me and buy 30 metres of muslin for 45 quid and then they had all the curtains they needed. I must have sold around 100,000 metres of the stuff over the years.

‘I really enjoy having my business here – no matter how many rich people move into the area, the neighbourhood still has a street feel to it. I've been delighted by the way the Moroccans have moved in and put their stamp on the area with things like the food stalls on Golborne Road.

‘I’m lucky to have my shop rent set at a reasonable level. Too many independent traders have been forced out of business by huge rent increases. Unfortunately, with the recession, you’re likely to see more empty shops around here – but I’m planning to stay!’

Cloth Shop
290 Portobello Road
020 8968 6001