Carnaby Street, W1F

Carnaby Street became the heart of Swinging London.

Carnaby Street was probably laid out in 1686, deriving its name from Karnaby House, which was built in 1683 to its east. A market, Carnaby Market, opened in the 1820s.

The first Carnaby Street boutique, His Clothes, was opened by John Stephen in 1957 and was followed by I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet, Gear and others.

By the 1960s, Carnaby Street was popular with followers of the mod and hippie styles. Many fashion designers such as Mary Quant moved to the street. Various underground music bars such as the Roaring Twenties opened in the nearby streets. Bands such as the Rolling Stones, Small Faces and The Who appeared at the Marquee Club around the corner in Wardour Street.

On 15 April 1966, Carnaby Street featured on the cover of Time magazine. The article within extolled the street’s role in Swinging London.

Carnaby Street was satirised by The Kinks in their 1966 hit ’Dedicated Follower of Fashion’: "Everywhere the Carnabetian Army marches on, each one a dedicated follower of fashion".

In 1973, the street was pedestrianised.
Westminster City Council erected two plaques - 1 Carnaby Street dedicated to fashion entrepreneur John Stephen, who began the Mod fashion revolution and 52-55 Carnaby Street dedicated to pop group The Small Faces and their manager Don Arden.

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