2023 we go clear…

First month in and we hit the runway at London Heathrow to embark on a week long tour of North America. The groundwork was laid in the preceding months, lining up the links and making the calls, to board en-route to the first leg destination - the city of Angels - Los Angeles.

Lost count of the number of times we could have taken this photo...

International momentum has been building behind the scenes - distribution deals signed, permanent fixtures at the US biggest streetwear show and securing co-signs that are gonna blow the lid off the UK streetwear scene. But, we prefer to let actions speak, so you’re gonna have to wait for that…

Superior Store represent

Less than an hour from sitting in an airplane seat eating ice cream, we were pulling up in Santa Monica with our boys at WSHH. There’s 41.7 million reasons why this is a seminal moment and meetings at 10pm in the Media Lab office on a Sunday night bears testament to the power of this culture. We work in silence and the success will bring the noise…

6hrs sleep - quick ones, hire a car and push on to the next rendezvous. Ontario CA is halfway to the desert, amongst the snow capped peaks of Big Bear and mad wind whipping the palms off the tall trees. The location of one of the US biggest online streetwear retailers - Karmaloop -  with skin in the game going back well over 20years, these boys are pillars of the scene. Even though we go back a number of years, there is no substitute for tight relationships built on trust, creativity and alignment in values. Face to face is worth 1000 zoom calls, so let’s just say KING and Karmaloop are cooking up to plant the UK in all 50 states.

Classic LA vibes

Driving from Ontario to Topanga (which is still LA county) is a mission, even without freeway traffic. Our final meeting on the West Coast was with another major hitter - Moose Ltd and we motored our way back to West Hollywood and then picked our way through Topanga Canyon into the valley beyond and the dwindling West coast sunset. Our team has close friendships with the Moose fam, outside of work, so it was good to link up, catch up on everything and kick back. 

If you’ve ever tried to get from LA to the deep south on a plane, you’ll know that it’s not straightforward - even more so when you gotta be at the City Gear HQ at 3pm the next day. Cue - 1am flights; transfers in Texas in the early AM’s; one person missing the connecting flight and touch down in Birmingham, Alabama before most people are out of bed. Dead.

Will - Big Man from Texas

Dig deep and keep it movin’, check in, sleep for 30secs, up, shower, change and power through the city and out to the sticks. City Gear are one of the South and Mid West majors. Pulling the best roster of sneaker and streetwear brands as well as developing an elevated roster of European street fashion, 4 years of foundation laying brought us to this moment - 2023 we unload on the US. We wrapped up after setting dinner plans and then rolled thru the notorious Parkway Strip Mall location - home to City Gear, Superior, DTLR and Hibbetts. If you go home without a bag you’re not backing the scene.

One of the most legit stores in Alabama - Superior

Wrapping up the South we shot back to the airport and headed to the upper mid-west, taking in Chicago and the worlds most complicated airport terminal, and a plane that must have had a hole in the bottom because my feet were like a block of ice when i got off and probably a hole in the top cos water didn’t stop dripping onto my laptop the whole way…to touchdown again amongst the snow covered flat lands of Indianapolis. 

No Days Off

It was proper winter there. They had expected well over a foot of snow that evening and got off lightly with 3-4 inches. Snow was still falling outside the hotel and the wind was brutal, so we just went to a badman steak house and ate meat, prawn cocktails and mashed potatoes. Normal. Indianapolis is also home to our brothers and sisters at Lids. We go way, way back with Lids, from the earliest of shows and we have built a strong following across their stores. But if you’re comfortable then you’re slipping and we’re not even 20% in to how deep we can go with Lids. Let’s just say serious conversation was on the agenda. Big work incoming for the team, make no mistake. 

Colour coding in the Lids reception

Final destination was NYC. Necessary to link with trusted streetwear staples in the 5 boro’s, jump on scheduled calls with artist management teams that ain’t taking anything else from the UK and of course the obligatory sticker up on every available spot. Pizza slices were demolished in an authentic uptown spot whilst Man City schooled Arsenal on the box and we breezed past the spiritual homes of Nas and 50cent as we wound our way back to the airport and the final flight home.

Central Park skyline

A brutal schedule, invaluable progression and relationships solidified. Seven flights, Six states, Six cities, Six link ups. The pay off will be televised…

NYC Sticker Tech
The cab drove over the camera 1.35 secs after this shot...