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Provenance: Stepney Workers Club

 


Meet the latest men’s sneakers on the block. Although ‘on the block’ doesn’t seem quite right. These are London through and through. Meet the latest men’s sneakers on the field of wheat (street).

 
Stepney Workers Club's Motto painted on a wall

What’s in a Name

Stepney Workers Club takes its name from Stepney Workers’ Sports Club. Founded in the 1920s the aim of the workers’ sports movement around the UK was to promote ‘real’ working class sports to assist workers in their fight against capitalism. The Daily Mail (are we surprised?) put the clubs at the centre of a communist plot. The founders of SWC (the footwear brand, not the sports club) have historic links to the club in Stepney. Their brand message of ‘Freedom Of Sport, Freedom Of Thought’ is a direct lift from the club’s motto and the handshake symbol logo represents the values, liberal thinking and unity that is associated with these anti-fascist groups.

Image reflecting sport from the Stepney Workers Club SS20 campaign
Stepney Workers Club Dellow Canvas Sneakers on a court
Image reflecting sport from the Stepney Workers Club SS20 campaign
Image reflecting sport from the Stepney Workers Club SS20 campaign

Who is SWC?

Founded in 2019 SWC is the collaboration of shoe designer Roger Pereira (erstwhile Paul Smith and Alfred Dunhill) and brand manager Simon See (formerly at Office and Hudson). Having worked in both the luxury market and the brand wholesale and retail business, this is a duo with a complete understanding of footwear. As Roger Pereira said in an interview with Hypebeast:

Having over a decade of experience and knowledge in designing and developing high end footwear prepared us for all the pitfalls and things that can (and usually do) go wrong when you are trying to get trainers made. Trainers are a complicated product to make, with many processes and stages involved.
We considered every single element, from design to the proportions, to the fabrics and use of traditional manufacturing techniques. We had to really push for all these elements to come together to be exactly how we wanted them to be. We didn’t compromise.

What’s in a Shoe?

The Dellow (the low top) and the Varden (the high top) are a reimagining of a timeless, genreless, vulcanised classic. Pereira and See researched original 1950s and 60s footwear construction techniques, which modern brands have largely moved away from, and adopted this traditional manufacture whilst introducing their own signature proportions, shape and sole foxing (foxing is the strip of material, separate from the sole and upper, that secures the joint where the upper and sole meet, usually attached by a vulcanization process. This may be in the exam, make sure you know it).

Who Wears SWC?

Simon See, GQ:

We looked back into the history of what canvas vulcanized footwear was, and what it's done over the years, and how essentially it's this all-inclusive product that can be worn by all walks of life. Whether it be punks or a greaser, all manner of people can buy into this product.

Stepney Workers Club (in keeping with its namesake) is intended as a democratic product. The canvas sneaker (see the history of Converse and Vans) has been worn by the widest cross section of people: across ages, genders, incomes, careers. The SWC sneaker is a wardrobe staple. Rob, The Hambledon's menswear buyer, loves it because it leans a little more into fashion than some of the other canvas brands. “As much at home on the catwalk as the court’ as he puts it.

Stepney Workers Club Dellow Canvas Sneakers in Ecru with their

The Hambledon’s SWC

Get involved in the Dellow (ecru and black) and the Varden (ecru). No need to be of any particular political persuasion. These are democratic sneakers.