Footpatrol & RetaW Visits: Mark Whitfield

Footpatrol & RetaW Visits: Mark Whitfield

After a recent collaboration with RetaW, we’ve been following up some of the characters in our radius that have used the collection and shown great interest in it. This choice of people, be them collectors, artists, designers, photographers and everybody in-between, are people that find themselves visiting the store regularly. Some prefer to remain lowkey when they visit, and others make themselves known to all the staff, both becoming intrinsic to our humble storefront. 

We've asked that we visit our friends’ workplaces, houses and studios to see how they use RetaW in their environment. It also gives us the chance to shed light on people that keep the business ticking away and bring smiles to the stores faces every now and then. Our collaborators have also been kind enough to give us a few words each on what it is they do, how often they drop in and what their inspirations are.

For our first visit, we headed to N7 to visit photographer Mark Whitfield, a long time friend of the store that found Soho as his stomping ground whilst looking for some of the more interesting silhouettes that the market has to offer. Mark is also one of two masterminds behind Sock Club London, a members only club that focuses on championing men’s hosiery and associated style related items. We spoke to Whitfield about everything from his sneaker collection to his coffee obsession, what drives him, what he wears the most and some of his most memorable moments within his time served as a sneaker and streetwear enthusiast.

Thanks for inviting us to your home Mark, what’s your connection to Footpatrol and how often do you find yourself visiting us?

My connection to Footpatrol is that I'm a customer. I’m a photographer and I'm very much into my footwear. For me Footpatrol is the place I go to to look at new releases but also it's a place I feel I can just pop in to browse, to look at whatever installations are there. It's a place I feel I can drop by to just say hello and have a little chat with the staff. I visit at least once a week, even if it's just for a few seconds.

How did you get into sneakers? Is there a silhouette you could define as your favourite?

I have been into sneakers for as long as I can remember. I recall painting the midsoles of my all white school gym shoes with fluorescent green paint when I was about 7 years old. My mum would probably tell you I was very fussy as a young lad too. making her drive me over to Wigan to buy adidas trainers when Warrington didn't have a stockist back in the day. Air Force 1's are my favourite silhouette. I probably have about 150-200 pairs of AF1’s.

What do you find yourself wearing the most at the moment? Or is there still a heavy rotation at play?

At the moment, well for the past year I have been wearing Footscape Wovens quite a lot, but mainly it's Air Force 1’s. I would say my third choice of sneaker is the Converse Jack Purcell. A real gem which not a lot of people are into.

Are there any memories that stand out to you within the sneaker/streetwear scene?

My memories of the sneaker and streetwear scene are like those of a lot of the older people around… That it seemed better back in the day, or perhaps a better answer to the question is my favourite memories are of walking into Supreme on Lafayette and just picking up a couple of box logo tees and paying for them. Back when you could just do that.

Or wearing Bape when it seemed like nobody else had heard of the brand. With sneakers, I remember watching Do The Right thing one night back in say 1992 and then the next day going to my local sports shop in Islington and buying a pair of Jordan 4’s.

Another memory is being plucked from the back of the queue at 1948 for the first Tom Sachs Mars Yard shoe release. I was taken in with three other people and when I asked why, they said 'because we know you four are not resellers. We know everybody else in the queue and they are resellers.

What do you think of the RetaW collection?

The RetaW collection is very nice. I have been a big fan of the brand for years and have quite a few pieces which I picked up on trips to Japan. I love the Footpatrol collab fragrance. The freshener is perfect for my home, leaving it on a door handle or suspended from a shelf. The candle is a classy piece to look at, to smell and also to listen to. I love the crackling sound.

As a professional photographer, what do you find yourself doing on a day to day basis? Other than drinking too much coffee!

My day to day routine is taking photographs, drinking coffee, editing my photographs (while drinking coffee) running, working out at the gym, trying to annoy people on Instagram and perfecting the N7 diet.

How does your work inspire your living space? Are there any gems from your career that you keep in your space?

My work doesn't really inspire my living space as such. By that I mean I have none of my photographs on display. However I do a lot of photography for furniture, lighting, fabric and product designers and a lot of pieces in my home were given to me by talented friends or bought by me after being asked to photograph them. 

I have a few pieces of furniture and art which are real one-offs, made especially for me to my specifications (which generally means adding a splash of orange colour).

Other than sneakers, coffee and photography, what else drives you?

Other than photography sneakers and coffee... I guess i'm driven by a quest to have a perfect quiff. I’m also in a love hate relationship with Swains Lane, a famous hill in North London which I run up a few times per week. I'm driven by a quest to keep fit I suppose.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? Let us know, now’s the time!

Anything else to add? Well I'd like to say that I'm not the person I appear to be on Instagram. I like to consider myself to be a good friend, a good husband and a good father. those are the important things… 

The rest is just things you spend money on to put on your feet.

Thanks Mark

You can see Marks work at markwhitfieldphotography.com
Or follow his daily antics on Instagram @markwhitfield 
For all your sock needs head over to @sockclublondon


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