We present to you a long standing member of Shoreditch’s creative hub and hipster scenes. Jaguar Shoes collective have been going in the area for over a decade, long before the explosion of cafes, cocktail bars and pop-up stores, predating the opening of the Overground and the arrivals of the bigger West End stores. Jaguar Shoes is a collective which is made up of a group of creatively motivated businesses and individuals working in art, film, fashion, music, publishing and design. They seek to provide a multitude of platforms for creative talent; from exhibitions and events, to collaborative products and retail opportunities. The ethos of the collective is to motivate positive change through creative output.
So where do we start… There’s the wonderful product line, the varying exhibitions and the creative way they put them on, the record label, their publication and two great venues both with a cafe and a bar.
Well we decided the best way to start would be to sit down with coffee with Jaguar Shoes Creative Director Vickie Hayward. Sat in the store part of the Old Shoreditch Station venue the first thing I feel the need to put to Vickie looking across the product range and seeing quite a limited selection of shoes is why the name? Well upon setting up the business the collective started out at their other venue further up Kingsland Road and struggling for a name for the project they plumped for calling it after the already existing names above the shop. So Jaguar Shoes were born and the flagship venue is still called Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes (named after both existing shop signs, as seen below). Vickie said it worked at the time really well for the business, back then being unusual for a business to name itself after what was already there, as she says ‘it became memorable almost because it was so unmemorable’.
So how does a brand that does so much stay succinct, and how does an artist collective end up running two bars? Well staying succinct is something they try and do everyday but the overarching goal of working with and profiling young talent pulls the whole operation together. Having the shop allows them to show and sell the more ‘product’ based items (see below) such as the clothes, shoes and homeware and the exhibition space shows off the more installation based work such as illustration.
Taking a look round the store the products are unique, they do a lot of collaborations, inventive and of exceptional quality. The scarf above is a collaboration with rising designer Lucy Jay, their website describes the concept, “The design of the ‘Kingsland’ scarf came from the JaguarShoes philosophy; creative ideas through collaboration. Combined with the inimitable patterns of Lucy Jay, the colour palate reflects the vintage wholesaler signs that hang above “DreamBags JaguarShoes” the renowned exhibition space and bar; and the original namesake of the entire enterprise. The idea for the silk scarf sparked earlier this year when Lucy Jay launched her new collection with a solo exhibition at JaguarShoes venue, the Old Shoreditch Station and was inspired by the Art Deco style lighting features of the venue” You find that level of care and detail across the range, making it a pleasure to grab a coffee in the store and just enjoy browsing.
And the bar? Well when setting up the first venue the goal was to profile a group of young talented artists, but without need the sales from a gallery to commercially support the venture. So a bar seemed a sensible idea, a concept that flowed through into the second venue down the road. For me it also creates a fantastic feeling of life in the two venues, as opposed to a lot of art galleries which often can feel slightly desolate. Pop in late afternoon to the Old Shoreditch Station and you see lots of young creative people sat round on their Macs with a coffee or a beer. It brings another dimension to this creative hub.
Campari recently set up shop in the Old Shoreditch station roasting oranges as they went, the cocktail list has developed, often themed around what else is going on in the venue. Rooted in the community as they are supporting local designers and artists this ethos carries through into cafe and bar, the coffee is roasted down on Redchurch Street, the food is made by two local independent stores, the Food Hall opposite The Old Shoreditch Station and the Sicilian next door to Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes doing pizzas for that venue.
And I’ve hardly had any time to delve into the publication and the record label such is the creative reach of Jaguar Shoes. But I hope I’ve given you a taste of what this dynamic collective is all about. I suggest heading on over and checking out both venues and seeing whats going on. Companies like these rooted in the community and supporting local creative talent in such a varied way are rare and should be celebrated.