Sarees for sale. Photo by Alice Chapman © Social Streets CIC
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The best saree shops to visit in Whitechapel 

Whitechapel may be located in the gritty East End of London, but as you walk down the high street – if it weren’t for the grey skies – you could easily mistake yourself for being in Bangladesh,  breezing along Sylhet’s streets. 

Whitechapel High Street is in its own small bubble of South Asian culture. Just two stops from the booted and suited city workers of Liverpool Street station, it’s like transcending between continents when travelling from one to the other. 

Saree shops billow along the streets of Whitechapel, pleasantly catching the eyes of passers-by with their colours, like a rainbow emerging from the black sky of a storm. Their beads glisten from within the shop windows like the sun on the water of the Indian Ocean. 

Many of the owners don’t speak English, serving an almost exclusively Bengali clientele. So in some of the shops, you’ll have to communicate with gestures. 

Whether it’s Indian, Bangladeshi, or Pakistani dress you’re after, the South Asia of East London will save you a flight across the world, and bathe you in sarees suitable for every occasion. 

Ukay International Saree Centre 


Ukay International saree shop on Whitechapel Highstreet, displaying high-end South Asian clothing and jewellery for sale.
Ukay International saree shop. Photo by Alice Chapman © Social Streets CIC.

UKAY International Saree Centre is one of the grandest saree shops in Whitechapel. The long room glimmers and glistens, sequins and jewels dazzle the unaccustomed eye, soothing you from the outside chaos. 

The left-hand side of the shop is laden with gold, silver and diamond jewellery, whilst the opposite side of the room is cushioned with a deep array of luxurious sarees and silks. Prices start at £80, ranging all the way to £20,000 for the finest jewellery in the store. 

UKAY provides special occasion wear for men and women, sourced from India, Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkiye, and featuring 22k gold from Belgium.

UKAY have been on Whitechapel Road for 45 years. Founded by Ahfaz Miah, he and his family also run a fish and meat bazaar just next door. 



Outside view of Keya saree shop behind Watney Market.
Keya saree shop. Photo by Alice Chapman © Social Streets CIC.

Located just behind Watney Market, Keya is simple in appearance, indulgent in colour and light on the wallet. 

The shop provides women’s clothing and jewellery from Pakistan and India for weddings and casual events. What’s more, the prices start at as little as £20. 

On the left-hand side, as you enter, there is a perfume stand, with an array of bottled-up liquids, ready to be wrapped in ribbon and placed into a gift bag. The rest of the shop is ornated with women’s South Asian clothing. 

Faruq Uddin, the shop owner, has been in the saree trade for 25 years. Keya is a great option for unique designs, as you can use their made-to-measure service, which will be handmade for you in their workshops in India. 

The creations that drape the shop walls have been recognised by the community of Whitechapel – their pieces were part of the Eid Festival Exhibition at Whitechapel Town Hall. 



Outside view of Inaya saree shop showing sarees for sale, behind Watney Market.
Inaya saree shop. Photo by Alice Chapman © Social Streets CIC.

The story of the saree shop Inaya is one of entrepreneurship. What started as a simple outdoor market stand over 20 years ago is now a prospering shop inside Watney Market. Bangladeshi owner Ataur Rahman, founded the business himself. 

Prices start at £5 and even the most expensive sarees in the store do not go beyond £250. making the clothing an option for everyone. 

Inaya sells sarees from India salwar kameez from Pakistan as well as abayas, maxi dresses and scarves.

If you like to haggle, head to Inaya. The shop owner has expressed his enjoyment of negotiating with bargaining customers. 



Mehek saree shop on Whitechapel Highstreet, displaying South Asian clothing for sale.
Mehek saree shop. Photo by Alice Chapman © Social Streets CIC.

Mehek It has been selling abayas, scarves and sarees to the people of Whitechapel for 23 years. 

Unadorned abayas hang from racks outside on the streets, acting as an enticement to enter the shop for its low pricing. Inside colours leek from the walls, splashing the eye with delight as one ventures deeper into the store. 

Fully embroidered sarees cover the bodies of dummies at the front of the shop, slowly transforming into shelves tightly packed with scarves towards the back. 

The clothes come from Bangladesh, India, China, Dubai and Pakistan and start at as little as £1.99 for a scarf. The shop provides casual and occasion wear for South Asian men and women. 

Mehek is known for its wide range of options providing clothing for both genders, all occasions, and keeping up to date with the latest trends in South Asian fashion. 

Islamic Relief


Islamic Relief charity shop on Whitechapel Highstreet, displaying sarees for sale through the window
Islamic relief charity shop. Photo by Alice Chapman © Social Streets CIC.

This charity shop, run by Islamic Aid, sells a good range of second-hand sarees. 

The windows are bulging with burgundy and gold sarees awaiting their second life and loving owner. Over half the shop is filled with sarees, and another significant proportion with abayas, scarves and jewellery, menswear and kitchen utensils!

The atmosphere is relaxed and customers mill around the shop browsing calmly at the selection of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing. 

This is the best option for a feel-good, morally responsible buy. With everything being donated by locals, there is little environmental impact from shipping, and if you purchase an item, you know it is going towards a good cause. 

Dang Designer


The street view of Dang Designer saree shop on Whitechapel Highstreet, displaying sarees for sale.
Dang Designer. Photo by Alice Chapman © Social Streets CIC.

Get your charades skills ready before you enter the silk-lined den of Dang Designer. English is not spoken in the store, and the cashiers may give a surprised smile is you don’t converse in Bengali. 

Sarees of all colours dangle under the protection of an awning, drip-feeding you the further contents of the shop. 

The cashier sits at the back of the shop and will let you browse freely, without interruption or trying to assist with anything until you approach her. 

The shop contains a myriad of reasonably priced South Asian women’s clothing, sarees, abayas, scarves and jewellery.

If you enjoyed this article, try reading The Best Whitechapel Curry Houses

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