Once a former Victorian coal store in the middle of King’s Cross, now a buzzing new shopping and dining district, there’s a lot to discover in Coal Drops Yard. Who better to get the inside scoop on the area from than some of the people, brands and businesses that call Coal Drops Yard home? We caught up with Han Ates of Blackhorse Lane Ateliers, to find out what makes a good pair of jeans and what makes Coal Drops Yard the perfect home.

Tell us about Blackhorse Lane Ateliers and what you do?

We make and sell raw selvedge and organic denim jeans in our East London factory. Our focus is on quality production, traditional tailoring techniques and building a community around making. Our flagship Coal Drops Yard store is an evolving space hosting pop ups with makers, denim masterclasses and mending workshops. We love to partner with local British manufacturers who are bringing heritage skills back to our shores, so in our store and on our website you will also find collaborations in leather goods, knitwear and care products.

What makes your denim so good and how long should a good quality pair of jeans last for?

We look to traditional tailoring techniques in order to create denim garments that are beautiful inside and out, details that concentrate on functionality, and fabrics that will wear with you over time. Jeans should ideally last for 20 years or more, being mended and repaired as necessary. The construction we use goes back to heritage production, when jeans were created to last through vigorous work. Our contemporary lifestyles don’t generally call for this vigour, yet we make jeans that can be, and in this way each jean has a unique story to tell. 

What are some of the best sellers for men and women that you have ready to wear in your Coal Drops Yard shop?

The E8 slim tapered men’s jean can fit physiques you may not expect. The premium Japanese denim is characterful, with a smart indigo hue and a cut that can be casual too. The N5 high-rise slim straight women’s jean fits the natural waist, has a touch of stretch to help movement but is still raw so that you get beautiful patina effects over time. The E17 chore coat is based on traditional French workwear. With a double indigo saturation and copper rivets it is a fresh update. The SE28 Guernsey sweater is a modern take on the traditional fisherman’s gansey jumper. Made from British wool at an English factory, this is the perfect lifelong knit.

If you could live out your dream day in Coal Drops Yard, what would this entail?

A stop by Caravan for a coffee, then especially over winter, a short stroll along the Regent’s Canal with its comforting smells of wood smoke, before popping on back through Granary Square to take in the fountains and families happily playing. A peruse along the yard of what each brand has to offer is always full of inspiration; we particularly enjoy the rotating artworks and installations of the yard and in COS. There are too many tasty options for lunch, but when a market is on it’s the best time to revel in London’s multi-cultural beauty. A good part of the day is the conversations we have in our shop, not necessarily always about denim; we learn so much and come away from each chat feeling motivated and refreshed. The personal experience of selling our jeans fills us with pride and appreciation of the support. Finishing up the day, an early evening glass of wine at our neighbours Vermuteria, then dinner at Barrafina. 

Unit 32, Lower Stable Street, Coal Drops Yard, London, N1C 4DQ