Best known for its 'cor-blimey' market and fine curry houses, central London's Brick Lane is peppered with alternative boutiques. Start your trawl at Tatty Devine, where Rubik's Cubes, poker chips, tape measures and crisp packets are used to construct belts, bags and jewellery (236 Brick Lane, tel: 44 20 7739 9009; www.tattydevine.com ). Then for handmade aromatherapy products head for Herbal Linea, which sells vegetable-oil soaps in orange, ginger and aniseed, and beauty products that include a lavender body scrub. Open on Sundays or by appointment (167 Brick Lane, tel: 44 793 261 9097; www.herballinea.co.uk ). If this season's Mickey Mouse T-shirts are a must-have, proceed to Rokit, a vintage clothing emporium stuffed with faded Levis, sawn-off minis, 50s prom dresses and Ralph Lauren polo shirts, all in good condition. It's also an excellent place to buy your cool-again cowboy boots (101 Brick Lane, tel: 44 20 7375 3864; www.rokit.co.uk ). A favourite with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Noel Gallagher, Jarvis Cocker and Victoria Beckham, The Laden Showroom was set up to boost the profile of young London designers. Items range from customised hockey shirts, parachute silk halternecks and flower applique dresses by Sonia Au-Yeung to T-shirts emblazoned with hard-core porn, and turquoise Y-fronts with Brigitte Bardot on the front (103 Brick Lane, tel: 44 20 7247 2431; www.laden.co.uk ). For more trendy threads visit Wink(right), located on a nearby side street, which sells sequined bomber jackets, crocheted silver bags and belts adorned with hand-carved pewter skulls (20 Hanbury Street, tel: 44 20 7655 4820; www.winkclothes.com ). Overdose on Design has been selling retro furnishings for years but this hasn't stopped it stocking its two floors with the best the past has to offer. The focus is on mid-century modern classics including Eames rocking chairs, Panton panels and egg chairs by Peter Ghyczy. There is also a plethora of leather and chrome sofas and smoked-glass tables (182 Brick Lane, tel: 44 20 7613 1266). A few doors down @work, an applied arts gallery, sells glow-in-the-dark bracelets, silver-resin and felt rings and charm necklaces dangling plastic cherries (156 Brick Lane, tel: 44 20 7377 0597; www.atworkgallery.com ). For gutsy girl's wear nip across the road to Public Beware, which jostles stonewashed denim boiler suits with cute khaki kilts. Best of all are the fabric pumps sprigged with dainty flowers, which lend tough streetwear a softer edge (Unit 7, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, tel: 44 20 7053 2185). One of the lane's most innovative establishments, Junky Styling, turns old clothes into hip new styles without a smidgen of grunge. Customers can either bring their own rags to the Style Surgery or choose from the ready-to-wear collection (12 Dray Walk, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, tel: 44 20 7247 1883; www.junkystyling.co.uk ). Located in an old Victorian pub, Unto This Last is a new experiment in digital craftsmanship. The company uses the latest in 3D software, and a computer-controlled tool set up in its cellar, to make customised items of furniture on site (230 Brick Lane; www.untothislast.co.uk ). Meanwhile, Cheshire Street leading off Brick Lane is fast becoming a shopping destination in its own right. The best boutiques include Mar Mar Co, which sells handmade Danish ceramics in eau de nil colours (16 Cheshire Street, tel: 44 20 7729 1494; www.marmarco.com ) and Labour and Wait, timeless purveyor of retro kitchen and garden accessories such as hurricane lamps, ostrich-feather dusters blackboards and striped Breton tops (18 Cheshire Street, tel: 44 20 7729 6253; www.labourandwait.co.uk ). For beautiful bags that are a million miles from Birkin, Kelly and co, visit Mimi a few doors up (40 Cheshire Street, tel: 44 20 7729 6699).