Upstarts: Slam City Skates

Slam City Opens Second Shop in East London

The London skate scene is definitely alive and well, and one of its staples, Slam City Skates,  recently expanded and opened a second set of doors on Bethnal Green in East London. Prior to the opening of their new store they tested the waters with a pop-up shop in the zone to feel out the surrounding area. We caught up with Slam City’s Jacob Sawyer to learn more about the new shop and what’s checking in London.

Why did you decide to open the new spot?

East London has changed a lot in the last ten years. From being a drinking destination to being the area most young Londoners choose to live. Our friends have had retail experiments which stood the test of time and a Palace pop up shop we opened for two weeks last year, further out East, was a success. The store in a really great location, close to transport links and the surrounding area is constantly evolving.

Tell us about the event you threw to kick things off.

It was a really tight knit crew at the opening, friends and family. Many people affiliated with Slam from its early days showed up as well as everyone from the London skateboard community. There were plenty of beers and it was a chance for everyone to see the shop and what it was about before it opened its doors the next day.

Where is it located in the city and what’s the vibe like there? Why did this area make sense?

It’s located in East London on Bethnal Green Road, very close to Brick Lane, which is a tourist and retail attraction in its own right. It’s a great area to have a shop, lots of people pass through there every weekend and as more people are becoming aware of the different brands we carry exclusive to that store, it’s rapidly becoming a destination.

What makes Slam City stand out from other skate shops in London?

Slam City Skates will always stand out from other stores mostly because it is steeped in history. It has supported UK skateboarding and skateboarders for 28 years now and isn’t stopping. It has survived the peaks and troughs, supports a massive team of talent and is integral to the scene as a hub. It will always be a weekend meeting spot. Without Slam City Skates many video premieres would not have happened on such a grand scale and we’re talking about Public Domain all the way through to City Of Rats.

Tell us about the vibe of the shop – looks really clean and sounds like an interesting mix of core skate brands and a broader array of companies like Patagonia and Clarks.

It’s Covent Garden’s older brother, designed to appeal to a slightly older more discerning demographic. Essentially a lot of the new brands the store carries are ones we would shop for ourselves, Clark’s are a case in point. The idea is of a skate shop that also carries well-chosen items our customers would shop for elsewhere and no longer have to.

Slam City Skate's new East London shop.

Slam City Skate’s new East London shop.

What’s going on in the UK skate scene these days? What’s trending for brands, styles, etc.?

As far as London goes it tends to mirror what’s going on in New York. Kids here are far more concerned than ever about what they’re wearing. As a retailer it’s funny watching trends come and go and seeing kids you remember being hungry for triple XL DGK shirts shopping for 30″ waist Dickies a couple of years later. I’m glad we’ve seen the back of the shoelace belt.

What’s going on with Palace? Sounds like they’ve got their own showroom in the basement?

Palace is thriving and the clothing range is expanding. With a much larger variety of products in future drops it made sense to have a showroom in the space downstairs. Most Palace activity down to editing videos will take place over there and the company is happy in it’s new home.

Top three selling brands right now?
Nike SB

Predictions for the rest of 2013:

The scene is growing here and I predict it will continue to do so. KIds are exposed to media instantly now and things like the Grey video, which is due to premiere soon, will influence them and inspire a new generation to explore our City and others. From skating a variety of the local parks regularly it’s evident that there is some new raw talent out there, which will continue to flourish. As for trending I predict that sombrero’s replace bucket hats before SS14...

What else do you have planned for the year as far as events and what not?

We are currently helping raise awareness about the proposed re-location of Southbank –
Please visit the site and sign the petition to preserve a part of our skateboarding history which unlike a lot of land mark spots with integral scenes is still there by the skin of its teeth. There is an event planned this Bank holiday weekend for the cause. It’s been great seeing everybody get behind the movement, different companies supporting one event for the greater good, it will be interesting to see how it develops, it’s very much all hands on deck at the moment. There are Slam and Palace events in the pipeline, so expect to hear more about them soon.

Grand finale quote:

“If it ever gets boring, take an extra push”-Scott Palmer

Slam City 411:

Slam City Skates East
136 Bethnal Green Rd
E2 6DG
Tel: 020 3487 0577
Slam City Skates Covent Garden

Slam City Skates
16 Neals Yard
Covent Garden
Tel: 0207 240 0928