Antonia Johnstone is founder and CEO of luxury resale marketplace, Sign of the Times.
As a brand on a mission to eliminate the friction of reselling luxury goods, Sign of the Times offer complimentary same day in-home collection for sellers, and WhatsApp personal shopping service for buyers.
Having originally opened as a stand alone store in Chelsea Green back in 1976, selling clothes belonging to celebrities “of the day”, Antonia has recently acquired the business, and merged it with another luxury reseller she grew and has implemented some exciting tech led management; thus making way for the next chapter in the Sign of the Times story…
We caught up with Antonia Johnstone for the latest edition of our ‘My London’ interview series.
Chelsea, of course! Home to Sign of the Times and such a safe and clean area that has it all: shops, restaurants, parks, beautiful architecture and the streets are almost like a catwalk of the latest collections.
Favourite place for brunch:
The Ivy, it’s one of my all-time favourites. Particularly as it’s always a surprise what decor they will have next, I love seeing what they choose each season. I would absolutely recommend their eggs Royale!
Best coffee in London:
The Roasting Party in Sloane Square. Their double shot latte is a dream – it has the perfect formula to wake up up in the morning and feel fresh. Also, the lovely view and location definitely make this worth the visit.
Favourite gallery or museum:
The Victoria and Albert Museum and all of the different exhibitions that they change seasonally. Let’s not forget how beautiful the “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” exhibition was. Those tote bags became a must-have item!
Tell us a secret:
Shhh – Hermes sample sales have been advertised by Arlettie!
Favourite place to shop:
Am I allowed to say Sign of the Times? As you can imagine, I am a big fan of sustainable fashion and I always try my best to find stores that specialise in beautiful pre-owned items. Occasionally I like to take a look around Selfridges and check out the latest trends.
Favourite place to find inspiration:
Sometimes I just love to take a long walk from Chelsea to Selfridges, passing by South Kensington, Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Mayfair. These areas are some of the most beautiful in London and I can always draw inspiration for my personal style and business within these surroundings.
Best London destination for a date:
It’s not an “IT” location but my husband and I’s most frequented restaurant is Oka on the Kings Road. It’s intimate, cosy and does fantastic Japanese. We have also taken up reasonably frequent residency in the recently reopened Cadogan Arms just a little further along too.
Battersea Park, it’s close to home and it’s where I like to go for a run from time to time. I really like it in the autumn in particular, the colours of the trees and the little lake give it such a lovely atmosphere.
Favourite food market:
Borough Market in London Bridge. Just next to The Shard, there’s a street food market which is absolutely packed with gems. After your lunch, you can cross over to the other side where they sell organic foods and high quality produce.
Your sanctuary in the city:
Definitely Ushvani, of which I am a big fan! They have a beautiful spa and offer several treatments that cater to your needs. The ‘Penyepit Facial’ and the ‘Full Body Experience’ massage are a must – you’ll come out feeling brand new and so relaxed!
What inspires you?
I love listening to and understanding other peoples journeys and often find that they really inspire me to work that bit harder, or step out of my comfort zone a little more than I would quite like to. Beyond taking fantastic minds for the odd coffee I listen to podcasts. Two of my favourite ones are Diary of a CEO and Secret Leaders.
This season I’m loving:
Blazers, trench coats and shades of brown! As we have seen on the streets of London, Milan and Paris, the oversized blazer is a key piece this season and if it comes in camel and tartan too, even better!