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Wednesday 18 March 2015

East Shopping Centre: Europe's 1st Asian Shopping Mall

London, Leicester, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford, Glasgow...all the major cities in the UK have got their Asian shopping hot spots but last weekend saw the official opening of the first ever Asian Shopping mall, not just in the UK, but the first of its kind in Europe. An Asian shopping mall I hear you cry, what's that? Well, literally it's an in-door shopping area that specialises in shops and facilities that cater to the South Asian audience - primarily this means Asian fashion stores but within the modest mall there's also a food court, souk style market, beauty parlour and wedding decor company. 
The centre officially opened to the public (after an initial soft opening), at 12pm on Saturday 14th March with a ribbon cutting ceremony by the local MP Lyn Brown followed by a stampede of eager shoppers.

East Shopping Centre is based in Green Street, east London which is already a major shopping hub for South Asian food and fashion. The centre is an addition to the existing area which at the moment consists of one long street. I've always been a fan of Green Street and wondered how the often characterless nature of a shopping mall could retain the vibrant, cultured flavour of the area, but thankfully a couple of hours spent smooching around to sample the shops and services and I can confidently say the centre has its appeal. Here's a peek at what's inside...


Green Street is a hub of asian clothes and fabric shops but the ones who have chosen to be part of the centre are in the more 'upmarket' end of the scale category. Stores are very boutiquey with some seriously shimmering outfits from well-known names such as Raishma (images above), Memsaab, Zarkan of London and Asian Bridal who have all gone to town with delightful shop front decor and mannequins kitted out in finery. 

There's also a souk area made up of market style shops though it's very much on the intimate side!


In the food court there's a coffee shop, mocktail and dessert bar and several eateries where you can pick up hot global cuisine. I had a chance to taste dishes from all the restaurants and for fast food I was very impressed with the choice and flavours and the fact the brands here are different to those found in mainstream shopping centres.
There are seats and tables but the space is small, a couple of extended families could easily fill it up. The Food Court will no doubt be successful but perhaps too much so I hope there's room for expansion!
Is it worth a trip to East Shopping Centre? I think it will attract new shoppers to Green Street, the rustic nature of the place doesn't appeal to everyone but an indoor centre is likely to make the area more accessible. For any non-Asians looking to buy Asian fashion I think they will feel more comfortable shopping here than having to try and navigate the high street, though hopefully once they've been inside they'll feel more inclined to explore further afield.

East Shopping Centre is light and airy, has ample toilet and refreshment facilities, good accessibility (walking distance from Upton Park tube station), has late opening and even has environment credentials including a flow restrictors to save water and solar panels. 

I'll definately be back, especially for another beautician appointment. It's incredibly hard to find decent beauticians and my usual has recently disappeared. I was on the look out for a new one and Karma London ticks the boxes - a wax followed by a bubble tea to curb the pain...I could get used to that!
Find out more about East Shopping Centre: www.eastshoppingcentre.com


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