“This one has a good story,” says Florence Dixon, holding up a ruffled burnt-orange dress. The part-Belle Epoque, part-prairie-style frock is by Batsheva Hay, a former New York lawyer whose brand emerged from an effort to coordinate with her husband’s conversion to orthodox Judaism.
Details like this drive Dixon’s eclectic selection. “My dad’s a designer, so finding things and making them look nice has always been a massive part of my life,” says the boutique owner, who is the daughter of Tom Dixon, the British designer famed for his distinctive industrial furniture and shiny pendant lamps. “It’s definitely thanks to him we could do this,” chimes in Dixon’s mother, Claudia Nella, an osteopath and former interiors stylist with whom she runs Tidy Street General Store. “But Tom doesn’t really get involved. We do sell a few of his things,” she adds, pointing to a discreet selection of curvy Bump glasses (£45 for two) and a matching glass teapot (£100) from the powerhouse design brand.
Mother and daughter set up shop on a sun-facing corner of Brighton’s North Laine in 2016. Dixon was training as a nurse when the pair were inspired by a trip to Los Angeles, where the neighbourhood stores sold “everything, from a jar of peanut butter to a pair of jeans”. So window displays are as likely to feature an array of Maison Bengal seagrass-fringed bags (from £57) as they might a pyramid of D Barbero sardines (£3.50).
Fashion is a focus and errs toward the sustainable. The patchwork-style coats by Milena Silvano (from £1,600) are made from deadstock sheepskin – and sell out quickly; the button-front Ebo jumpsuit by young British brand Cawley (£375) is made in London in off-white Portuguese cotton; and the bags by Brussels brand Dragon Diffusion (from £245) have the texture of wicker baskets but are wrought in finely woven leather, and each takes artisans in India around three days to complete.
This commitment to craftsmanship continues into Tidy Street’s interiors offering, with jugs and bowls (from £12) by historic French pottery house Manufacture de Digoin alongside more contemporary items, such as those by Le Verre Beldi (from £3), a family-run glassmaking company based in Marrakech. “We buy pieces we would have in our own home or that we’d wear ourselves,” says Nella, who sports a bestselling sweatshirt by Rachel Comey.
The wide-ranging mix attracts both local students and actresses such as Anna Chancellor and Bel Powley. Across the board, Dixon has noted an increased appreciation for slow fashion. “Once you start telling people the stories behind things and explain how and why they’re made, people often get as excited about them as we do.”
Get alerts on Shopping and gifts when a new story is published