CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Monica clothes shop closes after nearly 40 years in Hampstead

Designer says she did not want put the prices up to meet rising costs

22 March, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

Monica Mayer was flooded with farewell messages

LOYAL customers have been saying farewell to a popular women’s clothes shop which has been a fixture in Hampstead for almost 40 years.

Monica Mayer told the New Journal she did not want to put up prices to meet rising rent and running costs at her shop, Monica’s, in South End Road.

“I can’t believe it’s come to an end,” said Ms Mayer after the store’s final day on Friday. “I feel very torn. I feel very connected to the place. But it’s time to move on. It’s been lovely. People were bringing in flowers and were saying: ‘How am I going to live without this shop?’ I’ve always had very faithful customers.”

She added: “The rent and rates keep going up and I don’t want to make my clothes more expensive to compensate for that. “When I used to make all the clothes for the shop myself, I would sell them for low prices and my accountant would tell me I still need to earn a living – I was never good at costing my own things.”

After studying fashion at Saint Martin’s in the 1960s, Ms Mayer launched the shop in its prime location, opposite Hampstead Heath overground station, where she could sell the clothes she designed herself. She began with children’s clothes and moved slowly into adultwear.

Monica closed on Friday

“I’ve had great customers who would come back, but the location brings in customers too,” she said. “It’s such a nice area. The hospital is nearby – people having treatments would buy things to cheer themselves up.” Ms Mayer has been living in Wales since the end of the 1970s and would travel to London to oversee the running of the shop, which in more recent years sold clothing labels other than her own designs.

Now, with a five-year lease coming to an end, she said: “It seems to be the right time to close. “Sometimes I can’t sleep, thinking: ‘Has it been the right decision?’ But now feels the right time to retire.” Ms Mayer is looking forward to taking up walking in the country. She said: “I plan to spend more time with my friends. And to get a new collie dog. I miss my dog who died over the summer.”

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