The Resident meets Lisa Barlow-Weber, the self-confessed sneakerhead who has brought Kickslove, London’s first women only sneaker store, to Deptford Market Yard
With Shoreditch acknowledged to have reached peak hipster, the insurgent Deptford recently ranked high in Travel Supermarket’s Hip Hang-Out Neighbourhood Index, along with the neighbouring Peckham and New Cross. Once home to the Royal Navy, Deptford boasts a colourful dockyard history – but now, the area has become the locality of choice for a host of eclectic independent boutiques, bars and eateries centred around the new Deptford Market Yard.
It stands to reason that the fashion-forward females in the area should be in need of the right shoes. Enter Lisa Barlow-Weber. The entrepreneur, Blackheath resident and former Bristolian is the brains behind premium street wear boutique Kickslove.
Arch 131 is a fun space in which the most retro, exclusive and limited edition sneakers to ‘drop’ are carefully curated and displayed among apparel and cool swimwear. There’s also a range of Versace-esque printed leggings, the result of a collaboration between Kickslove and celebrated local graffiti artist INSA (who, incidentally, also designed the striking mural on the floor of the boutique).
Families, Goldsmiths’ students, dancers from Trinity Laban, Peckham fashionistas and sneakophiles from further afield come together to browse the shelves to a soundtrack featuring Beyoncé and Kanye West. You’ll also find a vast library of literature on the subject of street wear and sneakerhead culture, as well as the latest editions of Hypebeast – a magazine dedicated to the subject.
‘It covers new, up and coming brands and designers, and they always talk about the latest releases. If you want to know what shoes are dropping, you go to Hypebeast,’ states Barlow-Weber. ‘The female version online is Hypebae, and it’s a great way to check out all the latest looks.’ Girls from Peckham really know their stuff, she tells me, and tend to know exactly what they want.
I realised that there just wasn’t a female sneakerhead destination in London. There’s always been lots for guys – like Foot Patrol – but there wasn’t one for us
So, what sparked Barlow-Weber’s passion for footwear, and led her to set up a store for girls and for girls only? ‘When I was 16, my first job was at Footlocker back in Bristol,’ she says. ‘I always wanted to work at Nike, and I got a job in merchandising there so I was very lucky. I was there for six years, which was a dream. I did a lot of consumer research and I realised that there just wasn’t a female sneakerhead destination in London. There’s always been lots for guys – like Foot Patrol – but there wasn’t one for us.’
The space she has created is one in which she hopes girls will feel comfortable shopping, or even just learning about sneaker culture and chatting about shoes. She defines a fully-fledged sneakerhead as someone who ‘lives and breathes sneakers, all day, every day, knows a bit about the history, has more than an average collection, follows the influencers within the community, and goes along to the events within it’.
When it comes to her own fashion sense, she describes herself as ‘quite a purist’, preferring original styles from the 70s and 80s, to fusions of heritage styles and new technologies. ‘I like Air Max 90, Air Max 1 and Reebok classics. In what I wear, I like to mix high-end pieces with street wear.’ When we catch up, she’s sporting Zara trousers, Air Max 97 and a statement Moschino gold bangle.
Favourite nearby haunts include the popular Little Nan’s Bar just opposite – ‘I always just call it Tristan’s,’ she laughs, referring to Tristan Scutt, the entrepreneur who set up the chain inspired by his grandmother’s belongings. ‘I like The Waiting Room for coffee, and if I’m going to get a tattoo I’ll go to Kids Love Ink on Deptford High Street.’
For girls looking for their first introduction to the wonderful world of sneaker culture, we’d wager that her store is the best place in London to start, while those already initiated are sure to find exactly what they’re looking for.
Arch 131, Deptford High Street SE8 4NS; 020 3259 1053; kickslove.com