Unquestionably iconic, the Converse One Star has continued to crop up in various subcultural facets over the years, in turn garnering a loyal following of those looking for something a little different. The style itself has a certain simplicity, a perfect balance of suede, vulcanised rubber and subtle branding, which – like all good streetwear staples – has allowed it to continually cross boundaries.
Maybe you first saw it in a Japanese fashion magazine, unable to read the caption that accompanied it – not that it mattered, style has always had a polyglottic quality. Or perhaps it was the inimitable, insouciance of a skater that brought the One Star to your attention – skate films have been the jump-off point for many newfound admirers of the sneaker. It also found a following in Seattle’s grunge scene of the 90s. Consequently it is hard to pigeonhole the One Star, but it is ]perhaps defined by exactly that; a mix of wearers with differing sensibilities.Shop All Converse
It is therefore fitting that Footpatrol chose to work on the One Star for its latest collaboration with Converse. Nestled in the heart of Soho, an area that refuses to relinquish its rare charm, the venerable sneaker store knows all too well that what makes something truly great: Both Soho and the One Star derive their iconic status from a history rich with unflinchingly unique characters. It is a parallel that Footpatrol has taken subtle inspiration from in this collaboration, adorning the sneaker with the small markings found on kerbstones near Soho Square, as well as transforming the star into a jewel – a reference to the real jewels of Soho, from the bustling old-school cafes like Bar Bruno, to the streetwear entrepreneurs Dukes Cupboard.
Just along the road from Footpatrol is Berwick Street Market which dates back to 1778. In contrast, Footpatrol has been on the street for just seven years. The fact that they can exist side by side encapsulates the magic of Soho: a compelling past and an even more intriguing future.
Market stalls aren’t unusual in Soho, but Duke’s Cupboard is certainly a little bit different to your average fruit and veg vendor.
What started off as a hobby for Milo Harley and Ned Membrey in 2012 has since seen them placed at the heart of the current London Streetwear zeitgeist, as a new generation remixes stylistic elements from 90s subculture from a contemporary perspective. While they have now swapped the blue tarpaulin for a proper bricks and mortar store on Greens Court, the concept remains the same: They seek out and then sell the very best in vintage streetwear, with deadstock gems from the likes of Stone Island, Ralph Lauren and North Face.
The next time you see a flash of Burberry check or some vintage Polo, there’s a good chance it’s thanks to this enterprising Soho duo.
Dubbed ‘The Golden Mile’, Soho’s Berwick Street is infamous for its plethora of stellar record stores.
There is one, however, the stands out above all others: Reckless Records. Opened in 1984, it is the longest standing record store on that stretch of road, but despite its storied history, it has continued to stay ahead of the curve, offering an eclectic mix of Jazz, Funk, Soul, Electronic and just about everything in between.
What truly makes Reckless special is the staff including Toru and Eddie, whose encyclopedic knowledge elevates the store beyond your average record-shop experience. Innuendo aside, Soho has always been about passion, a place where people can go to seek out the things they’re really into, whether it’s sneakers or rare vinyl. Reckless is living proof of that.
Just along the street from Dukes Cupboard store there is another spot that commands similar levels of reverence and devotion from its customers.
Bar Bruno is a Soho institution – a mix between a greasy spoon and a classic Italian cafe, it’s probably the only place you’ll find a Full English and authentic pasta dishes side by side on a menu. Anywhere else it probably wouldn’t work, but here it does.
With wooden panelled booths and rich green leather upholstery, it’s the kind of place that journalists, artists, and streetwear kids waiting for the latest hype drop come together for some brief respite from the buzz of London outside.
Here, it doesn’t matter who you are, you’re treated the same.
London has a proud history of immaculate tailoring, but it isn’t just limited to the renowned Savile Row. Situated on Berwick Street, you will find Jac Hui, a master-tailor capable of just about anything when it comes to garment reconfiguration. Consequently, his client list include several celebrities and even the London flagship stores of certain luxury fashion houses – not that you’d know it. Hui keeps a low profile: his website simply lists his opening hours and an email address, there are no interviews or Instagram accounts. This clandestine operation is purely for locals and those in the know – despite Soho having long been a go-to spot for tourists, some things remain reassuringly low-key.
Unlike some tattoo shops, Frith Street Tattoo doesn’t need to rely on gimmicks or buy into trends. Instead, they do one thing: really good tattoos. On the face of it, it sounds simple, but since 2004 artists such as Stefano C, Emiliano Liberatori, Jordan Teear, Oliver Macintosh, Miles Better, Jordan Baxter and Bradley Tompkins have been inking people in their own unique styles, making an appointment at the store one of the most coveted in London. With its secluded basement setting, it may not be the easiest to find, but it’s Soho after all – a place for seeking out pleasures rather than being handed them on a platter.