“London is one of the most inspiring cities I know, especially Soho”
Says Max Svärdh, co-founder of Swedish streetwear brand Axel Arigato. “I’ve lived in London since 2006 and Soho has always been my favourite area,” agrees business partner Albin Johanson. “The range of bars, restaurants, nightclubs and shopping – it's very unique. I can’t name any other area in the world that’s its equal.”
When it came to finding the perfect spot for Axel Arigato’s first UK store back in 2016, Broadwick Street was a no-brainer. And what’s more, the forward-thinking brand would join a stellar line-up of international brands making Soho the global destination for streetwear.
With its ever-changing mix of cultures and creatives, Soho has always been the natural home of street style.
From the Italian coffee house and art scene of the ’50s to Swinging London in the ’60s and every style tribe that followed, the area has an iconic history to draw on, making it even more appealing for so many street style brands.
Home to big-name brands such as Supreme, Vans, The North Face, Billionaire Boys Club, PUMA and adidas Originals as well as home-grown street style players such as Palace, reimagined workwear labels like M.C.Overalls and multi-brand destinations such as Wood Wood, The Collection and END. – selling an A to Z of labels from Y-3 and A Bathing Ape to Fear of God, Off-White, Stüssy and everything in between – London’s Soho can safely stake its claim to own streetwear.
“English music and subcultures have always been a huge source of inspiration for us,” says Karl Oskar-Olsen, Creative Director and co-founder of recently opened Danish concept store Wood Wood.
“We felt that Soho was home to some of the best and most intriguing retail spaces and so was a perfect fit for our flagship store.”
“If you work here you get to see the real Soho, and every day is different,” says Stephen Ward, General Manager at The Collection. “The characters – there are a lot of regular faces in the area with unique and interesting stories. The last few years have been massive for streetwear here, but we don’t put ourselves in a box when it comes to brands or items we stock. We sell streetwear, sneakers, artwork – anything people want to collect – at a range of prices from £2 to £20,000.”
So what’s worth collecting right now?
Highlights include Supreme’s fake fur varsity jackets, Tupac Shakur print tees and dollar bill hoodies, Vans’ classic chequerboard vegan canvas slip-ons and Billionaire Boys Club’s Space Check shorts, tees and bowling shirts. Looking for on-the-go storage solutions? Try and bag one of Palace’s oversized jackets or cargo pants weighed down with 3D pockets if you can. For a hit of colour head to M.C.Overalls for brilliant unisex basics in a rainbow of shades, PUMA for primary-coloured PUMA x SONIC RS-X3 trainers, adidas Originals for three-stripe classic Gazelles and retro tracksuits in a multitude of shades. Don’t forget The North Face for hi-tech separates in colour-coordinated brights. Whatever your style, there is a world of innovative streetwear to choose from in Soho’s square mile.
“Streetwear has shifted the entire fashion landscape,” says Axel Arigato’s Albin Johansson, “and there is no going back.”