Footpatrol Celebrates it’s 20th Anniversary!

21.01.22 General

This year marks our 20th anniversary of our innovative sneaker fraternity here at Footpatrol! With an exciting year approaching us, we thought we would give back to our amazing community that has shown uttermost devotion to us over the years. On that note, we take a look at the undeniable history behind our iconic brand. From our humble beginnings in St.Annes Court to the opening of our first European store in Paris. As a special thanks-we are also giving you an exclusive follow up of our celebratory year ahead. We look to do more than just showcase and talk about footwear, we aim to use this anniversary to reconnect with our community and give back in more ways than just through footwear.

Our authentic sneaker journey started in our original flagship store in St Annes Court, located in Soho. Founded by streetwear pioneers Michael Kopelman, Simon Porter and Fraser Cooke in 2002, who envisioned an independent sneaker store with a realm of exclusive possibilities. Feeding into a consortium programme that was top-level and niche, distributing the most exclusive trainers on the market from a limited handful of brands. 

Unlike the present day, the sneaker scene in 2002 was a much more closed off subculture that wasn’t fully understood by the masses. With minimal resources to find rare pairs, JP exclusives and other oddities, this left collectors down to their own demise. With access being so slim, this allowed Footpatrol to open their doors to capitalise on the market and help fuel the fire that has become present day. 

Taking an inaugural spot as store manager was Wes Tyerman at the time, who became an integral part of our brand’s authentic charm. Sharpening his creative fruition and contributing to some of the most innovative collabs, Wes kept things fresh and inventive, paving the way for eccentric sneaker innovation. Footpatrol became known for specialising in unique drops, top releases and the occasional deadstock pieces – similar to as we know it today!

Boasting a mesh wire cage aesthetic embossed new meanings of a streetwear sneaker space; it was lauded for its remarkable construction that became a well-known trademark across the world. Authentic, unique and simply fluent utilitarian language, Footpatrol was one-of-a-kind; becoming a mecca for sneakerheads not only for London’s growing subcultural sneaker hub, but for those internationally that were deeply ingrained into our community.

After 6 reigning years at St Annes Court, Footpatrol resided into a short departure from the sneaker world. After a 2 year closure, we re-opened our doors in 2010, in the heart of Soho in Berwick street, becoming a standalone member of the JD Group. Signifying new admirable beginnings but also keeping things authentic; we opted for an innovative store change. Swapping our mesh cage aesthetic for a wooden cabin structure that became an iconic translation of our ‘space within a space’ ethos. With our new store fit pushing architectural boundaries, it became a well-renowned space for sneaker enthusiasts across the world. 

Berwick street has become the most coveted home for our flagship store, cherishing the unique and outgoing social hub around it. Inundated with record stores, lively bars and clothiers fuelling the niche and hip market that spends a lot of their disposable income in the area- Soho is notoriously a melting pot for culture. With our original St.Annes residency within walking distance, we believed that Soho would be the best focal point for our store, retaining the same unwilted sneaker identity that is authentic – a true resemblance of our community. 

2018 signified momentous change; with the decision to expand our brand globally, opening our first European store located in the Le Marais district in Paris. The Le Marais District is synonymously known as the fashionable district in Paris boasting an array of bars, boutiques and galleries. Reflecting a unique, culturally diverse community, reflecting the authentic audience we possess in London.

Mirroring the Paris store aesthetic, our London flagship store was undertaking an immense overhaul, replacing  the wood hut exterior into a polished futuristic metal and stone finish that provided an inviting open space fit. The refit was designed by London based architectural design studio, Counterfeit Studio who remains faithful to the same utilitarian charm that underpinned previous store iterations. Oversized benches have replaced the fibreglass sections, with display shelvings and cladding embossed throughout the store, creating a tangible space for both our staff and consumers. 

Taking cues from our Paris store, we also opted for a trademark logo change, with the London store also featuring an infinity gas mask neon, with a white refined colour rendition-designed by artist Marcus Bracey and his team – that compliments the new ingrained change for the new Footpatrol London store. As well as being an integral focal point for us. 

20 years is a long time and within those 20 years Footpatrol has been able to bring a whole host of releases, collaborations, events and much more. In the early days of Footpatrol this was showcased through introductions to artists such as KAWS, co-hosted with Gimmie 5 having him produce a limited run of pieces including a Footpatrol x Kaws Gasmask logo (to this day is used as the @Footpatrol_Ldn profile picture). It didn’t stop their though, collaborations and special SMUs also passed through St.Annes Court with the likes of the Unkle x Nike ‘Dunkle’, Nike ‘London’ Dunk, Footpatrol Air Stab, Footpatrol Air Epic, adidas Campus and one that we feel is sometimes forgotten, the Footpatrol x adidas ZX800 part of the original A-ZX pack. 

Moving forward to our Berwick Street reign we have been able to maintain that momentum initially kick started by Michael Koppleman and Fraser Cooke. Footpatrol have continued to be at the forefront of the London sneaker scene, being a part of projects such as the Consortium 4D Futurecraft, ASICS Gel Lyte III 25th Anniversary with the launch of the ‘Squads’ and even highly limited SMUs with Le Coq Sportif. When you think of footwear and London it’s hard not to think of Footpatrol and some of its memorable events and installations. Things such as Action Bronson’s ‘F*ck Thats Delicious’ book launch, the annually released All Gone book series with Michael Dupouy, Nikes ‘Vote Forward’ campaign where Footpatrol’s very own Alex Hackett showcased her own Airmax iteration and one of our personal favourite moments, the week long Off White x Nike ‘The Ten’ in-store take over! Footpatrol is more than just shoes, it’s a cultural hub based in Soho that has always been there to showcase something new, someone new or offering a platform for you to share your stories and support our community in more ways than one. 

Our platform has been used to help supply access to our community to some of the highest heat releases to drop over the last 20 years. Going forward to aim to continue that, you aim to grow and we aim to offer more support than ever before. Make sure you also have the Footpatrol launches app downloaded to keep up to date with any exclusive draws, releases and content. 

With the platform we have, the community we have created and the loyal enthusiasts that have supported us since day one. We aim to continue our work and help give our community a safe, inclusive and supporting space that makes all feel welcome the moment they step through our doors. There are more ways retailers can help their communities than just giving access to shoes, there are opportunities for us to teach, uplift those who want to work within the industry and haven’t found their way in and learn more as they find their first few pairs to their collections. Most importantly use our platform to raise awareness on topics we feel need focusing on, our community is more than just a customer. It is our foundation that keeps Footpatrol afloat.

So keep your eyes peeled, we got a year packed up with events, talks, collabs and much more! 

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Rimo for our 20th Anniversary | Now Available!

21.01.22 General

Rimo is a Tokyo born designer, illustrator and art director that started his solo career as an artist that had decided to expand in other creative avenues of fashion, advertising, movies, magazines and architecture. Starting his creative journey as one part of the graphic duo “mocrock” has kicked off Rimo’s passion for art illustration. His contemporary illustrative style showcases a cultural narrative and his own idiosyncratic spin on the value of the community within sneaker politics. Using elaborate graphics, retro-style imagery and hues to provide authentic animated artwork. 

Rimo has worked on countless collaborations with iconic trainer brand Reebok, with one of their most prevalent projects being the animative ‘Reebok Certified Network Vol.7 “Kasina in Korea” being the first ample introductions we had with Rimo.This has not been the first time that he has worked with Footpatrol too, boasting a previous collaboration with Footpatrol on a Reebok Workout collection that showcased our Team FP in creative animation concept that focuses on an in-depth insight into our business and the work we do behind the scenes- as an integral focal point of our brand. Rimo has also worked on society-based initiative campaigns, namely the ‘Back to School’ collaboration with North Face.

To commemorate 20 years of Footpatrol we have teamed up with Tokyo born graphic designer/illustrator Rimo on an anniversary- inspired capsule collection. Diversifying our range of streetwear apparel for an exclusive and cultural offering this year. A little give back and admiration to our niche sneaker community. It will be the first collection launching this year that highlights this important landmark.

The elaborate capsule range of apparel will include a 20-year Gas Mask hood and tee that utilises our distinctive Gas Mask logo as part of the numbered design. Featuring the hoodie in a black upper hue with red printed ‘20’ Gas Mask inspired graphic in the centre of the chest. The T-shirt will indulge in the same Gas Mask design but will also come in White. Our bespoke apparel collection will also feature a 20th Anniversary white Tee with bold graphics in pops of blue and red and a dual selection of PRS Store front tees that emulate the outside imagery and identity of both of our London and Paris stores.

What’s more, to celebrate our close ties with the Paris store, we will be introducing a ‘Unity’ black tee that emulates our bond using trademark UK and Paris flag representation in iconic colour hues of red, white and blue. Showcased within a pictorial graphic formed of two gas masked silhouettes holding hands to celebrate the authentic partnership.

The remaining sizes of the Footpatrol x Rimo 20th Anniversary Collection is now available to shop in-store and online here!

Footpatrol: We have had the pleasure of working with you before in a previous collaboration, but for the people who don’t know who you are or are unfamiliar with your work, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Rimo: Hi, my name is Rimo. I am a graphic designer and illustrator based in Tokyo. I also host gallery exhibitions of my own work on an irregular basis. I’ve been involved in sneaker projects for the last few years. I have created the main visuals for sneaker advertisements that have expanded globally, and have been actively producing illustrations, designs, and directions for videos using animation. Occasionally, I focused on the behind-the-scenes work of collaborations between sneaker companies and sneaker shops around the world, using animation.

FP: At what age did you realise that you had a passion for art and illustration?

Rimo: The first thing I was interested in was illustration. My moms’ hobby was making clothes with DIY, and I had a lot of books about sewing at home. Fashion books at the time used a lot of “fashion illustrations” in which model figures were posed and expressed in bold and fine lines, and I was very much influenced by those illustrations. I was first interested in art when I was 14 years old and was influenced by the graffiti art pieces I saw in magazines. At the same time, the relationship between graffiti and music (HIP-HOP) was connected, I was gradually fascinated by various subcultures. I also bought the Fujiwara Hiroshi “Natural Born Dub” EP at a record shop in Harajuku then. The cover of the jacket features a picture of Jean-Michel Basquiat, and the music video uses Mark Gonzalez’s skating scene. Since then, I’ve been very absorbed in music. I often went to “Rough Trade Records” in Harajuku, Tokyo. I was exposed to the affinity between music jackets and art and design, and I became more and more fond of art and design.

FP: Tell me a little bit about your previous graphic duo ‘moncrock’, how did that come about?

Rimo: When I was about 20 years old, I met Yohey Omori through a friend. He drew illustrations and paintings and we hit it off straight away. When I went to his house, he had music, manga, movies, videos and books that I didn’t know, and I was always inspired by him. We hung out every day and often went to club events. At the club, we met a lot of people, dropped by a lot of events and we even ended up making fliers for events. Gradually, various people started to ask us to design stuff. At that time, our friends had signed a contract to release their music from a major record company. Two of us decided to design for them, and the design duo “mocrock” was born. Meeting him in my career was a big turning point.

FP: If there is any, what artist/illustrators or graphic designers are you influenced by and how has it inspired your own art form?

Rimo: I have a lot of favorite artists, illustrators and designers. It’s such a large list that I can’t introduce everything. lol. Recently, GEOFF MCFETRIDGE, Bráulio Amado have been my favorite artists.

Personally, I’m very influenced by people who are not limited to one title and are doing a wide range of creative things regardless of their field. For example, like movie director Mike Mills, he has done jacket designs, graphic designs for posters, magazines, books and even video. I also want to work in a creative direction regardless of the field while developing my own skills such as illustration and design.

FP: How would you describe your design or creative process as a brand/ individual? 

Rimo: My main job is client work and commercial work. I listen to the request of the client and work “to know”. I get various hints and build an image within me. I think it is important not to swallow all the client’s requests, but to leave a “margin” that I misunderstand, in a good way. After that, while sketching, I embody my image.

When the client gives an OK, I continue to make trial and error until I am satisfied. 

Personally, I‘m doing a creative label called ‘Millnote Books‘. I publish the artwork that I have accumulated every day as zine, and produce t-shirts, cassette tapes or other products. This label is purely pursuing how to create my own artwork, and I enjoy running it. I haven’t made many works recently, but I would like to make various works in 2022.

FP: As you know it is our 20th anniversary here at Footpatrol, could you tell us a little bit about the vision you had for our opening anniversary range?  

Rimo: For Footpatrol’s 20th Anniversary, I wanted to make a better product. As a design source, number 20, shops in London and Paris, and the family and community of Footpatrol. Personally, I think for this 20th anniversary by creating products like this it allows us to shake hands with our community and make that connection stronger than before. 

FP: To finish off we would like to thank you so much for the interview… What advice would you give to our viewers that wanted to start out  in illustration and build their own creative brand? Is there anything you would like to share with the Footpatrol friends and family?

Rimo: I don’t know if I’m in a position to give my advice to others. .. .. but remember your passion and gratitude to others, and always create with love. If you continue, you will surely be connected by the dots. Look at me. I live far away in Tokyo, have the opportunity to connect with Footpatrol based in London and Paris and get to work together on projects. Anything is possible. 

Congratulations to Footpatrol on your 20th anniversary. Thank you for appointing me at such an important milestone. I was really happy when you first contacted me. It was a great honor for me to remember that I worked with you before. I am happy to be able to participate in this project with the Footpatrol team while the world is still in this pandemic.

Quick shout out – Thanks to my friend Naoki for connecting us for the first collaboration between us, and creative director Asheeba for the call this time, and everyone on the Footpatrol team. If we have another chance, let’s make something together Someday again.

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