A Cool Brand Owner Shares Her Little Black Book
A Cool Brand Owner Shares Her Little Black Book

A Cool Brand Owner Shares Her Little Black Book

Founder of eponymous brand Kalita Al Swaidi has a great eye for cool stores, under-the-radar restaurants, boutique hotels and more. With plenty of recommendations up her sleeve, we asked her to give us some of her best tips…

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Paris is the ultimate shopping destination. It has all the big names, as well as the tiny antique and vintage places, old bookstores and cool bistros and bakeries. Staff are always so chic and the whole vibe is just unapologetically Paris – it never changes or disappoints. 

Merci is the coolest boutique in the French capital. It's a three-story concept store in the Marais and has everything from up-and-coming fashion designers to own-brand accessories and homeware. You can be inspired on all fronts. 

If I could only shop on one street, it would be Prince Street in New York. SoHo is where my love for fashion was born. I’m not sure it is the same place it used to be, but just being in the area is inspiration enough for me.  

You’ll find the best hidden gems in Jaipur. It’s home to the extraordinary Gem Palace. India itself is a complete sensory overload – the colours and the craziness of it all – and just wonderful. 

Some of my best buys have come from Ibiza. From the hippy market in Las Dalias to the flea market at Saint Jordi, you’ll find amazing pieces at every turn. The beach restaurants are also some of the best in the Med – and hanging outside Pacha nightclub at 7am with a coffee is some of the best people watching you’ll ever do.


Rellik on Golborne Road is one of my go-tos for vintage fashion. I bought a pair of Manolo Blahnik Mary Janes there after seeing them in Sex and The City. They were two sizes too big, but it was love at first sight. I also love the antiques market off Oxford Street if you want to find some rare treasures.

My perfect shopping day would start with a strong black coffee and crispy croissant. In London my favourite coffee spot is Flying Horse Coffee on Golborne Road. I buy all my beans there. Then, I’d love to browse a local market or shops with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time. If we can have a dip in the sea afterwards and put our toes in the sand, then even better. 

My favourite place in London is the local park. It’s a habit I’ve kept from the pandemic but it’s the best place to catch up with friends. I also love the old Blakes Hotel, although I never did get to stay in the white room! The Portobello is also great and has some of the same charm as Blake’s. And, of course, Claridge’s is the quintessential English experience. 


Nothing beats Sunday lunch at the River Café. It is one of my favourite places in the world. I only ever really order the pastas and raviolis – I have never migrated to the bottom half of the menu in 20 years! Another favourite is La Bodega Negra – a fun Mexican disguised as a strip bar in Soho. I love the tacos and the New York-y vibe.

My go-to shoe brand for summer is Ancient Greek Sandals. I could live in the Lito sandals and have all the colours. I also love the handmade St Tropez and Capri styles – picking them up on a trip is always an experience. 

If I could only wear one brand for the rest of time, it would have to be my own. The Kalita archive is overflowing with dresses, trousers and the most perfect white vests – so bar the perfect white t-shirt, I’d be sorted.


My favourite under-the-radar brand is Bali-based Flook The Label. I am loving crochet at the moment, and it does some great pieces.

When it comes to the basics, you can’t beat Rag & Bone. Its white cotton vests and t-shirts are the best, but I also love Zara for crewneck sweaters and American Vintage for cardigans. Cape Cove also does a killer oversized mohair cardigan. I pick one up in a different colour every season. 

A friends introduced me to Brunello Cucinelli jeans. Its denim is expensive but worth every penny. I was once told if there’s one fashion item you should really invest in, it’s denim. I wear my Brunellos on repeat – just remember to size up for drama. Citizens of Humanity also does a great wide slouchy wide leg and Acne does a fab straight leg for my body shape. 

For repairs and alterations, I go to Knightsbridge Invisible Menders. I have known them for years. They have puzzled together my oldest jeans on multiple occasions, as well as repairing broken straps and cigarette holes.

The sustainable brand I love the most is Patagonia. Everything about it is amazing – I think it sets such a great example to everyone in the fashion world. 

The best gift I’ve ever given to someone was a Playboy magazine from December 1967 – the day Kalita’s photographer Mark Newton was born. It’s like giving someone the first edition of a book, only a bit cooler. 

The best fashion gift I’ve ever received is a vintage coat that used to belong to my grandmother. It was also in the movie That Touch of Mink – a rom-com from 1962 starring Cary Grant and Doris Day. 

Follow @KalitaOfficial on Instagram and visit Kalita.co


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