Back in June of 2005, I ventured into a cool, slightly "off the grid" shop that featured an interesting selection of American and Japanese streetwear brands. Making my way over to a Undefeated Pete Rose shirt that caught my eye, I momentarily paused next to what, to my knowledge at the time, looked like an amazing pair of Native American footwear. For the next half hour, the owner of the store, an eccentric, moustached dude with a (I guessed) British accent schooled me on the quality workmanship of Hiroki Nakamura and Visvim, along with his additional thoughts on the streetwear world as a whole. His thoughts on the store itself were short and direct. "It's very simple," he told me, "Leilow, Hawaii."
The shoes were FBTs, and the moustached guy was none other than Jules Gayton, British pro-skater, DJ, Stussy Tribe OG, and owner of Leilow.
The "Visvim Master" himself (R)
I was already a casual observer of streetwear culture...I had my shoe collection and my stash of shirts, etc...but the 300+ days a year I had spent in a baseball uniform seemed to keep me from full immersion. My experience that day led to my eventual fanatacism, which led to gouged pockets, hours as a blog zombie, bloody-blister full-day trips around metropolitan Tokyo by foot (I even enrolled in college classes in Tokyo just to spend more time in Harajuku), heavy boozing, uncontrollable rage, restless legs, and more gouged pockets. Thanks, Jules. It also led to a retail venture of my own, and finally to this blog.
In addition to running one of the dopest stores on the planet, Jules and store manager/friend of the shop Sam have produced one of the better, more original limited lines in the industry. I still get ice grilled over my "The Mixed Shall Inherit the Earth" tee. I am especially proud to be working with Leilow today, nearly four years after my first experience at the store. Leilow tees and hoodies (below) are available at Lucky Lefty's.
Aloha and mahalo