Thursday, 15 August 2013

#ESPspotlight REVIEW: FRESH LACES AT HARVEY NICHOLS, 20 JULY


You might recall I was quite impressed by the first Fresh Laces Sneaker and Lifestyle Fair that I attended at the Dray Walk Gallery, off Brick Lane back in May. It was an enlightening view into an unfamiliar world, and a good chance to see what the 'Sneakerhead Phenomenon' was all about.

Imagine my surprise then, when a matter of weeks later, an invitation to the next fair arrives in my inbox, set to be held in none other than swish and swanky Harvey Nick's; where the Fresh Laces team would be taking over almost the entire Lower Ground Floor of Menswear! Having met co-founders Nathan Massiah and Louis Daniel at the last event, and had a few brief conversations since, I was genuinely excited to see what the friendly, entrepreneurial pair had planned this time around. Kensington-bound a few balmy Saturday's back; it didn't take long for me to realise that compared with what I thought these events were all about after my first visit, this here, was an entirely different kettle of fish...


Co-Founders Llwelyn Daniel and Nathan Massiah with the one and only
JadaKISS. Photo courtesy of Fresh Laces
Keeping a close eye on the brand's social media as I made my way South West; my first shock of the day came, when I saw some excited status updates that sent me to the Fresh Laces Instagram account. All became clear, as I saw the cucumber cool two, plus multi-platinum selling, The LOX Rapper, JadaKISS, make an ice cold three...

The sheer force of my will gave my wings more speed than any can of Red Bull, enabling my arrival less than 10 minutes later (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). Alas, my Yonkers, NY-native had left the building, leaving me to greet my hosts, and lament over the heartbroken injustice of my Sliding Doors moment. Thankfully, the sight of a very charming and gracious Kano cheered me up just enough to slap on a smile and take a pic; followed swiftly by Professor Green. Also in attendance throughout the day, were the Uber-stylish Henry Holland, Aluna George and Charlie Sloth.

Available from MrSneaker.com
Once the excitement of celeb-spotting died down, I had the chance to take in my surroundings and make my way around the stands to a DJ Manny Norte soundtrack. Recognising a few of the brands from Brick Lane, including the custom, Fresh Laces mural by LA graffiti artist Mute One; it was a real pleasure to talk with some of the exhibitors in-depth on what they do, and what their brands are all about...as well as get literally schooled on this 'Sneakerhead life' that I realised, more than ever, I knew absolutely nothing about. The education was a serious one, and whilst I'll always covet more Fendi than Fila; my talks with some of the sellers better helped me to understand why the term 'Sneakerhead' is rightly, and justifiably referred to as a 'Cultural' way of life.

In addition to two ping pong tables provided by sponsors from food and drink bar Ping! Live entertainment came in the form of beatbox sets from The Bass 6, Alyusha and MC Zani (the latter having recently returned from touring with Jay Sean). After three sets from the trio throughout the afternoon, the live 'Scratch Competition' between them and the very talented and approachable DJs The Dixon Brothers of Kiss FM fame, ensured the ante was well and truly upped - M.O.P style, with Laces Freshed.




In addition to the Dixon Brothers, who followed the hilarious Manny Norte, was Lloyd Nwagboso. Each kept the energy high, and contagious with everything from hot and current chart toppers, to Old School Hip Hop, to touches of House, from Mr Nwagboso as I headed out the door, still buzzing from the day's excitement.

With the next event already in the planning, one can only imagine what this lot have got up the sleeves of their brand new 'FL' pocket tees. If you keep a close eye on their social media though, you'll have a good idea of who they're planning to collaborate with in the near future...

GroundbreakingHistory-making. And well worthy of one heck of a lot of praise.




Fresh Laces are clearly destined for even greater things before the year's end. I suggest you start paying attention to this lot from now; quite frankly, the way things are looking, soon you're not going to have much in the way of choice anyway - this is what you call, A Takeover...




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For a look at each brand and what they had on offer, visit the event photo album on the ESP Facebook Page or, just plain share your thoughts in the Comments Box below.

TTFN...
ES ;)