This July will see the eighth anniversary of retail store Behind The Monkey in Highgate, a well-known go-to for eclectic pieces. Especially popular with fans of unique jewellery, owner Brody MacLeod says hours are spent sourcing product and labels from around the world.
“Most of the pieces in-store directly reflect looks and trends that we are loving and coveting ourselves—it really is a culmination of all things we adore. We don’t follow any particular processes for choosing stock for the season; generally I will simply build our in-store collections around pieces that have a unique or unusual edge.”
A key part of Behind The Monkey’s success would appear to be a celebration of the relationship between art and adornment. Would MacLeod agree? “The concept of adornment dates back centuries, whether that be adornment of the body, adornment of our surroundings or adornment of our lives,” MacLeod points out. “Lathering ourselves in jewellery is almost a tribal instinct promoting individualism and uniqueness—that is something that has always resonated with us. For a clothing boutique, jewellery is merely an accessory to complement garments. However for us, it is the garments that are the basic accessory to best show off and complement jewellery.
“This perspective isn’t something explored widely and has always been a point of intrigue for our customers. We’ve spent years promoting jewellery as a ‘feature’ and as a piece of wearable art. We take great care to educate and explain the histories, inspirations and origins of our jewellery as each piece has such a unique story to tell, very much like a beautiful piece of art. Everything we stock at the store, whether that be jewellery, clothing or objects contains a unique artistic history. Whether this is a key part of Behind The Monkey’s success, I can’t be sure, however it is definitely a thought process we believe in and is intrinsic to the store’s feel and direction.”
At the moment MacLeod’s absolute favourite collection in-store are the new pieces from LA-based Unearthen. “I am completely in love with this crystal quartz and amethyst evil eye pendant! Seawolf’s Ouroboros series surrounding the ancient “The end depends on the beginning” snake symbology is really beautiful too. We literally bought every style from the range, all featuring intricate carvings, hinged potion rings and pendants, and sprinkled with laborodite, agate and onyx stones.
“I am a little biased as it’s part of an in-house label we have developed called Anonymous of 379, but I also really love our La Lune moon phase pendants. These pendants feature the outlines of all of the different moon phases and come with beautiful descriptive cards outlining the essence of that moon and how it relates to our day to day life.”
As for future plans, MacLeod says, “What I love about Behind The Monkey is that there are literally no limitations as to what the store may become in the future. We’re constantly brainstorming ideas on how we can evolve, excite, and move forward with the market. I’m particularly excited about the introduction of some higher-end precious and ceremonial collections of jewellery which arrive later this year, but there are so many other ideas and projects under wraps that we will be fleshing out over the coming months.”