An Interview with: End Clothing
You would be forgiven for assuming the best place in the UK to cop high end Japanese designer’s clobber was in London. The country’s capital is full of bold and unique stores. However one of the country’s finest boutiques is located 300 miles north of London. It is in the city of Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley, Ross Noble and the Big Brother guy where you can find End Clothing.
The guys at End can boast to having one of the best online brand mix’s, whether casual streetwear is your thing or whether you are after the latest Scandinavian knitwear, End can provide either.
The company now have two stores, End focuses on the more casual side of things where a little further down the road End Hunting can be found, it is here that you will locate the likes of Trickers footwear, Comme Des Garcon wallets and many more.
End love brands with heritage, history and a story to tell, they started out hoping to stock Newcastle with the finest globally sourced menswear, they can now be comfortable that they stock gentlemen all over the globe.
We had chance to have a chat with Simon lister, End’s marketing manager about his time there, and a little more about what they offer.
Firstly, how are you doing today? Is everything well??
Afternoon, everything is going great. We are busy here planning for the upcoming months sneaker releases at the moment. There seems to be a lot waiting to drop in the next few weeks from Adidas Consortium Rivalry, Asics x HAL Bricks & Mortar, Jordan IV Black & Red, Saucony PYS the list goes on!
How long have you been involved with End?
I’ve been with End a few months now, as Marketing Manager. I’ve been shopping in the store since it opened in 2005 so it is nice to finally be part of the team.
Opening in 2005, what changes has the store experienced in its ethos, customer or products over the years?
End opened its door in 2005. We are located on High Bridge which is a small cobbled street in the City Centre which runs in-between Grey Street (voted the finest street in Britain a few years back) and the Bigg Market (notorious drinking epicentre in the city). In 2006 we launched the website and in the autumn of 2009 we open End Hunting Co. which is just 2 doors down from the original End store. The website covers all of our brands, whereas the stores are set up to represent different lines. So in End we stock the sneakers, street wear and high-end sportswear, and End Hunting Co is the more casual, outdoors, fashion brands.
Most of the country will tend to look towards London or surrounding areas for the finest menswear, so how is it a store nearly 300 miles north of this gains the reputation which End now owns?
The values for the store are simple: to stock the best products with the friendliest and most helpful service.
In order to differentiate ourselves from the crowd our buyers source products and brands from far and wide. Over the last couple of seasons we’ve tried to focus in on more high-end exclusive products and Japanese brands to feature alongside our fashion and street-wear ranges. We try to generally buy deep into collections and brands. If we are into a brand we like to represent them as fully as we can.
How would you define the fashion in Newcastle?
I guess the fashion in Newcastle is very similar to other major cities in the UK. Scenesters, clued up guys into brands and heritage, football lads, Saturday night gang who have worked out all week in the gym to wear their new slashed v-neck t-shirt. Depending on where you drink / hangout depends on what micro-fashion you see.
On a personal note, what does fashion mean to you?
To be honest I see ‘fashion’ as a term for womenswear and the fast moving high street for whatever The Saturdays have been wearing on X-factor. I’d prefer to define it as ‘style’ which for me is more about well made, good quality products and brands with heritage and strong aesthetic.
What would you class as the most treasured item in your wardrobe?
I used to be mad into sneakers, so I guess my most treasured piece would be my original Jordan 1’s or my Edifice trench coat from a few seasons back when the brand was a Liberty exclusive.
Are there any other boutiques which you find inspiring? Why?
There are plenty of great stores out there, a personal favourite would be Tres Bien in Sweden.
What do you believe makes a quality article of clothing?
It has to be well thought out and manufactured to a high standard. Whether that be a jacket with the inclusion of a pocket inside a pocket for your iPhone or a detail which makes the piece individual. An example would be our long standing relationship with British shoemakers Tricker’s. It is our sixth collaborative ‘special make ups’ with the brand and showcases why the Northampton-based craftsmen are so highly regarded. Our latest styles are modelled on two of Tricker’s more celebrated profiles; the Bourton Derby Brogue and the Stow Brogue Derby Boot. Both are supremely constructed using Goodyear welting, with carefully considered materials – such as cavalier and calf leather – and finished luxuriously with outdoor-inspired lacing, metal eyelets and a lugged commando sole for maximum grip in bad weather. Each shoe features a cotton twill heel tab in either red, white or blue, in recognition of Tricker’s place as a true British institution.
Trickers for End Hunting Co, Bourton Derby Brogue, Dark Brown Cavalier Leather.
Trickers For End Hunting Co, Bourton Derby Brogue, Lollipop Red Cavalier Leather.
Trickers For End Hunting Co, Stow Brogue Derby Boot, Parisian Blue Leather.
Trickers For End Hunting Co, Stow Brogue Derby Boot, Waxy Burgundy Leather.
Is there anywhere in the world which you personally consider to have an inspiring style? Does this then influence what appears in your store?
In the age of the internet I don’t think there is any one place. Information is so freely available that everyone is now connected to whatever micro scene they are into. When the store first started out it was very much all about the sneakers / street-wear which demographically we see as our younger customer base. Overtime these customers generally follow the same journey and start to get into the casual / Japanese / outwear brands that we stock in End Hunting Co. Both groups of customers are equally important to us and because of the breadth of brands we stock we see a huge crossover of styles e.g. a guy sporting a Nigel Cabourn jacket with a WTAPS tee, Norse Project chinos and the latest hype Nike or Balance sneakers.
This winter you have the White Mountaineering x Saucony collaboration along with the Bape x Adidas x UNDFTD, but over the years what has been your most memorable collaboration the store has received?
Sneakers are seeing a real revival at the moment. One from this year that generated and unbelievable amount of hype was the Nike Air Yeezy, which was part designed by Kayne West. Any New Balance collaboration always go down well and the recently revived Ewing 33 Hi’s have gone down well (www.endclothing.co.uk/brands/ewing-athletics).
You have a very sophisticated web service, at what point did you realise there was a huge market there?
The web is hugely important to us. Not just the website but also the social media platforms that we interact on. Being able to directly interact wth customers across the world so quickly is hugely important to us.
Obviously other creative industries are linked with fashion, how do music, film and art influence your business?
The design / creative world is incredibly interlinked now. I mean who’d have thought Nike would ever do a full trainer with Kayne West or that Pharrell would end up producing a hardback book to document all his creative pursuits; clothing lines, jewellery, and accessories designs for Louis Vuitton, furniture and other product design – including limited-edition toys, graphic designs, skate graphics, and collaborations with Moncler, Marc Jacobs, the artist KAWS, and with architects Zaha Hadid and Masamichi Katayama/Wonderwall.
Stocking the Neighborhood Be@rbrick, what importance do you place on offering customers collectable art toys?
It’s not something we feature heavily but every now and again objects come along in collections that we feel are important to offer customers. Neighborhood are a great example of a brand that mix great clothing and interesting items into the collection like their incense (neighborhood-x-kuumba-long-incense) and incense trays (neighborhood-plate-incense-tray) and also the great collaboration they recently did with Globe-Trotter which is the ultimate in decadent travel luggage (neighborhood-x-globe-trotter-medium-travel-case).
Finally, where do you see End going in the future?
We are always working to evolve and improve both our product range and service. Our quest to source new brands from every corner of the globe continues and we have a few pretty special new additions due to land with us in the New Year. We would love to work on a new concept store in Newcastle to create something really special here in the north of England. Aside from that our website will be evolving in early 2013.