Friday, June 10, 2011

5 Minutes with Mick Hoyle of F-Troupe

F-Troupe is a small, directional footwear brand based in London. Founded by Mick Hoyle in 2003, in a short space of time has established itself internationally and is now available in twenty four countries. F-Troupe loves to use British historical and functional influences to make footwear that is quintessentially British but with an international appeal. Through this the brand strives to give good, original and innovative designs.

Q1. What was the first record you bought and what effect did it have on you?

The first record I bought out of my hard earned paper round money was The Buzzcocks "What do I get". I played it for two days before my Dad snapped it in half! He found the B side “Oh Shit “offensive. This had a major effect on me as it was the first time I realised that my parents were not as supportive in my musical tastes as I would have liked.

Q2. What's the best club you've ever been to and why?

I would say it was the Hacienda. I was living in Manchester in the late '80's and going to the Hacienda most weeks. It was a wonderful time. It was really working class and pure and it just created itself and evolved. It was like the Summer Of Love combined with the punk movement with a sprinkling of the underground New York scene. This was before the moody drug dealers moved in.

Q3. What is or was the most iconic fashion retail store and why?

For me there are two shops that are completely different but stand out. SEX and Comme des Garçons. You can still find many influences and styles that relate back to these shops / brands.

Q4. Where did you find inspiration for your shop?

I have always loved Victorian style and when we obtained a small Victorian shop in Soho it seemed the perfect opportunity to make something interesting from the space. We wanted to show that just because the decor was Victorian it did not need to be dusty and dull. So we brought in great colours such as the stained glass window and glass light fittings. The shop has a variety of unexpected items such as taxidermy animals, sideshow photographs and other 19th century curiosities. We design for both men’s and ladies and needed to reflect this. The store feels a bit like Jack the Ripper meets Lily Langtry!

Q5. Do you think that rapid information exchange via the Internet means that 'brick & mortar' retail is less or more important?

I think bricks and mortar are even more important nowadays. Before the boom in Ecommerce you could restrict where your brand was sold and only work with shops that understood your brand ethos. With online retailing you really do lose that brand image gained with traditional retailing. With your own brand store you can show your brand in the environment you wish it to be retailed in. Even if the customers are not buying directly from your store, there is a point of reference where the brand can be seen in.

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