Shop Report: London's Kickslove

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Ladies of London unite – there’s a new store in town that’s bringing a little bit of lurve to the local scene. Kickslove is a carefully curated sneaker spot located in the city’s south-east, owned by footwear fanatic Lisa Barlow-Weber. Earning her stripes at Foot Locker as a plucky teen, Lisa’s retail talents would go on to land her a dream job at Nike UK. Now she has returned to her roots to achieve another lifelong goal.

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Where does the Kickslove story begin?
It all started when I was 12 and wanted Nikes more than anything. Eventually my dad caved and bought me the cheapest pair he could find to stop me pestering him. When we went on holidays to the States, I made sure my mum took me to all the best sneaker spots so I could rock the newest pairs when I got back to school.

I listened to a lot of 90s R&B, so this heavily influenced my style as well. As soon as I turned 16, I started working at Foot Locker and that’s when my collection really started to expand. I stayed there for six years then went to work at size? in Bristol. I then landed a job at Nike and worked there for another six years.

How was that?
It was so surreal. I had dreamed of working at Nike and next thing I knew, I was. I looked after sportswear for the UK, so I was surrounded by all the kicks I had loved for so long. Helping to create SMUs for JD and size? was an especially awesome part of my job. I would nag my boss constantly to bring back sneakers from the archives – for ‘research’ purposes of course!

One of my favourite moments was flying out to Nike’s world headquarters in Portland and seeing the Department of Nike Archives. I saw some crazy shit in there. From the very first Air Max 1 right through to a pair of kicks Nike made to fit an elephant! And seeing Steve Prefontaine’s actual desk… no one who works at Nike can say they didn’t feel something when they saw it for the first time.

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Sounds like heaven. Why did you leave?
It was scary as hell leaving Nike to open Kickslove, but I always knew I would open a sneaker store one day. It just felt like the right time to make my dream a reality. Women buying kicks is at an all-time high, so this was also a huge factor in the decision.

The store is aimed at female sneakerheads but we also cater to girls who just like to wear sneakers or learn more about the culture. I wanted to create a relaxed environment – somewhere females can shop for all the latest releases, limited editions colabs and kicks that are a bit different. I’d say that our speciality is sneaker knowledge. I like to have a personal connection with my customers and I love talking about the history of a pair of sneakers.

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What’s your local area like?
We chose Deptford for our location as it reminds me of where I grew up in Bristol. It’s a lost part of London that most people are yet to discover and we love that about it. We also love the edge and the grittiness, and the mix of people – you couldn’t get a more culturally diverse community if you tried! With Goldsmiths, the Trinity Laban Conservatoire and Greenwich University all within walking distance, it creates an inspirational, artistic and vibrant community, which fits with our brand. Deptford represents everything that Kickslove is about – young, fresh, culturally driven and with an independent spirit.

The store definitely reflects that level of creativity.
When it came to designing the store, we wanted to work with people that had a deep connection to the area. Deptford is important within the artistic community as it’s where street artist INSA began his street art career nearly 20 years ago – now his work is collected worldwide. It was an obvious choice to collaborate with him on the store’s design as his world is one where art, product fetishism and graff collide. INSA’s iconic ‘graffiti fetish’ pattern covers the store’s floor as a bespoke art installation. We also collaborated on 50 pairs of leggings that were exclusive to the store.

Sounds like this is only the beginning.
I’ve got big ambitions for Kickslove and I’ll continue to grow awareness of the store, both locally and online. I want the store to become known as a destination for female sneakerheads. We want to start doing colabs with brands using the influence of females from the scene. I’d love to sit down with a footwear designer from Nike or Jordan and design a completely new style that encompasses everything we are about. Eventually I’d like to see Kickslove expand into the USA, maybe somewhere on the West Coast...

Originally published in Sneaker Freaker Issue 39

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