SANE.When did your interest in fashion begin?

SS. Going right, right back to my school days when my mates were saving up to buy computers I was saving up to buy Iceberg jackets and it really started there, I was always wanting to be unique and individual and seek out that different style to everybody else. This developed into an interest in brands like Moshino, Maharishi and then my real interest started with BAPE. I suppose this is where my interest started; I’d never pursued any academic studies or work within the industry. I’d worked as a youth worker for 10 years and after going travelling twice having quit my job in 2012 I discovered this mall while travelling in Thailand and it was curated in a really nice way, full of great pieces from independent designers. I continued to visit the space during my time in Thailand and it dawned on me that it was a shame there was nothing like this back home (in the UK), it’s either high street or high end.

Upon returning home I didn’t really have a job to go to so I went on to become a sales assistant at a local store for a month or two. It was during this period a friend of mine started a brand so I started shadowing him, attending trade shows and taking a real interest in the visual aspect of marketing his product. Through this network I connected with two other emerging designers and started using Instagram. Through mainly posting lifestyle content I started to get a good following so I decided to utilise it as a platform. This was during a time that nobody was really using Instagram in this way but I saw the potential in it. I decided to pick up a few models that we knew and a photographer to style these emerging brands with some more established well-known ones. We put these shots on Tumblr and that’s where it really started. I had the following, I had the blog and decided to sell some of these pieces to followers for a small profit.

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SANE.How did the opportunity to open a bricks and mortar store present itself?

SS.So moving on from the early stages of us being online we then had an idea to develop a pop up initiative for a global market, the first one being in London and the idea was to bring the internet to reality. We’d established a strong global network online from around the world and the next step was to put on a pop up store in London. It was a crazy turn out, 3 hour queues all day and the police turning up because the crowd was blocking off Bond Street station. That was the start of our relationship with Appear who we’ve done several pop ups with over the years. When our current space became available to them, they immediately contacted us knowing our brand history and ethos.
When I opened the email I was like cool, ok come off it. Two weeks later I was opening the email and the penny just dropped, it was perfect, an old disused toilet in an underground station. The door hadn’t been opened for 70 years!

When I first visited the space I was going to take on the project by myself with half of the space as a store and the other half as a creative communal hub. I realised it was too much of a task to take on my own so knowing Aaron from the 24 HOUR CLUB, Aaron from more of an industry background and me from a more street background, I felt we could compliment each other perfectly in the current market climate. We initially took on the space in December and it took us three months of hard work to get it ready because we did all the work ourselves, we decided to keep some of the original features such as the tiled walls and stuff.

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SANE.The store has a strong and varied brand mix. Is there a particular aesthetic you believe runs throughout all of the brands you stock?

SS.I wouldn’t say there is as such, the idea is to challenge the notion of keeping things in boxes and for us to push boundaries. We believe we can do this even though its risky, we feel we can execute it and that’s why we have such a variation of different brands. On my side the vision has always been to create a platform that encompasses contemporary street and high end because that’s what I come from. It’s never been one or the other it’s always been both.

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SANE.Are there any new designers and brands that you would like to tell us about?

SS.Definitely 3.paradis, they started about 6 months after myself and have rapidly achieved a lot in a really short period of time. They’re more of an innovative, high-end directional brand that have won Toronto fashion week for 2 years running. An independent brand but stocked in IT and D-MOP in Hong Kong, really focusing on the Asian market.

SANE.I know you’ve spent a lot of time in Toronto, in your experience how does the menswear market in the UK compare to other parts of the world?

SS.I think generally speaking globalisation is very real and everyone is becoming very savvy to it and is aware of what’s what. I think the market’s a very difference place although I’m no expert to what it was 5 years ago. Traditional institutions and ways of doing things are being rocked and challenged by the Internet and communications, everything’s a lot more accessible to consumers allowing them to make their own informed choices.

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SANE.You mentioned earlier about growing up in Wolverhampton and having an interest in brands like Iceberg and Moschino. Do you think the culture of aspiration and sourcing rare product is over, has this part of the culture been lost because of the Internet?

SS.Very interesting. Ok so going back to A Bathing Ape, it wasn’t just a brand, it felt like a family, it was a borderline cult at one stage and it was fucking deep. I feel like that’s been lost now and the mystique has gone. It feels a bit sad because with a lot of these brands it was about building a genuine two-way relationship with the customer, following them on their journey and actually travelling to see certain brands and engage with them. You felt special about going to this place that no one else knew about. This is what our space fits into, its part of the whole mystique of visiting stores again. An old toilet in an underground station?! We’re trying to create an experience for our customer base and bring back a little bit of that vibe, but this isn’t always easy.

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SANE.What does the future hold for 24 Hour Edjer Club, where do you see it going in the next 12 months?

SS.We’re going to focus on the here and now, continuing to build and establish this platform as a worldwide-recognised destination. There’s a lot of options out there, we’ve also released our merchandise in-store which seems to be doing exceptionally well at the moment, so were also going to continue to develop that and then maybe one day into the future start our own brand. This store is going to give us the platform to realise our potential.

Learn more about 24HOUREJDERCLUB.
Words by Ollie Irwin
Photography by Ollie Irwin