In Conversation With Stepney Workers Club
No one could have predicted the upheaval the world would experience in the rise of a global pandemic which has upset the balance of schools, business, and even just spending time with those we love. But these things haven’t come to complete standstill, instead, we have adapted and devised new ways of being – zoom has become our new friend, parents have become the new educators and while some businesses and the industries we love have come up against some immeasurable challenges, some are pushing ahead, building on what they had already achieved and hoping for a time when we will emerge from this lockdown situation with new ideas and goals and a fresh perspective on what is truly important.
Stepney Workers Club launched in 2018 with the confidence of few, and the appeal of many, bringing to a crowded sneaker market a product so inclusive, so pleasing, and so comfortable that it quickly became a favourite on the feet of everyone and anyone who quite simply, appreciates good quality sneakers.
We caught up with Simon See, brand manager of Stepney Workers Club and picked his brain on the ethos of SWC, where the brand goes from here, and while we are all confined to our homes… how do we pass the time?
Was there a certain time or event that sparked an interest in sneakers and in particular vulcanized classics?
Many years ago, I worked for a sports footwear store which stocked all the familiar big brands. It was at this point I realised I had very little interest in the hyped-up technical innovations and advancements of what was happening in this field, but more of an interest in the simplistic vulc classics that had so much history and sub-cultures attached to them. These brands seemed to be almost preserved and protected from the consistently changing trends, and remained true to what they set out to do.
You’ve developed one of the most popular shoes of the last few years, appealing to a wide and varied audience - what do you think the secret has been?
Apart from all the careful work that went into putting the shoes together, it was important to myself and Roger how we presented the brand to an audience - that people could resonate with the brand’s core message and values. We also felt it was key that the shoes were authentically priced as to what Vulc should cost. This allows for a wide and varied audience to buy into the brand.
With sneaker drops happening every other week with the latest hyped styles, why is simplicity important to SWC?
I’m a great believer that simplicity doesn’t have to mean something is uninspiring or soulless. So much footwear has become over-thought and quite frankly, a little gross over the years - with the ‘who shouts loudest’ winning the sales. These trends have a limited shelf-life, and not something that that we ever want to be part of. Ultimately, we wanted to create a trendless and timeless product that can within itself stand the fickle world we now live in.
How does ‘Freedom of Sport, Freedom of Thought’ still carry relevance today?
I’ve always believed in the freedom and power of thought, and what this can represent in the individual. It’s a free thinking, forward thinking mindset which allows new ideas to enter the mind, to help push our society into other ways of being. The sport element represents the varied and diverse world of amateur sport that encourages inclusiveness and community gatherings that remain important to our societies today.
Since launching in 2018, SWC has achieved more than some brands do in a lifetime. Where do you go from here?
Not to over complicate things. Explore, collaborate, create, and push our message further globally.
What have you been doing in self-isolation?
Apart from dealing with the complications that have come with this crisis, I've been spending some much-needed time with the family, more exercise than I've ever done in my entire life and exploring the world of natural wine.
What are you listening to right now?
Music wise - I'm a big advocate of everything ambient or electronic so the following tracks have been on repeat: