Business
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Aesop

Words & Photography Kirk Truman “Everything is driven by the product itself and the quest for superior quality…” Even on a crowded London high street, there’s a certain store that stands out from the crowd. There aren’t many brands that have successfully mixed aesthetically pleasing design with high quality skincare products, but Aesop has done exactly that, and much, much more. It all started in Melbourne in 1987, when hairdresser Dennis Paphitis launched a small range…
People
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Lesley Lewis

 in People
Words Kirk Truman Portraits Etienne Gilfillan “It’s an institution, but I’ve made it my own institution with time… I do with it what I feel is the right thing to do with it.” When you walk into 49 Dean Street, it looks as though every inch of the walls is decorated with pictures evoking the memories and characters of the Soho of yesteryear. You soon realise, though, that it’s not just the walls here that tell a…
Business
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Bao

Words & Photography Kirk Truman “Initially, we weren’t set on it having any longevity…” I am anything but patient, but to get into Bao I waited for 20 minutes with a can of Taiwanese lager in my hand. I’ve been watching the ever-expanding queue outside for a year now as I’ve gone up and down Soho’s Lexington Street, and wondering: what makes all these people stand in line for a restaurant that only seats 15 people…
Editorial
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A Soho Squat

Words & Photography Bob Aylott “These are iconic images from this period in London’s history” By trade, I’m a press photographer. I discovered in my attic some months ago this vintage collection of vintage black and white images, hidden away for some years. It’s unusual to find original wet prints of contemporary historical importance. This project was a labour of love that I’d put on the shelf. I knew I had one set of exhibition prints,…
People
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The Smoking Guns

 in People
Words Kirk Truman Photography Etienne Gilfillan   “We started something together that we were wholly in control of – it was the beginning of a new adventure.” A transatlantic duo blazing their way through Soho’s music venues, clubs and bars, spinning Northern Soul, 60s rhythm & blues and old school rock-n-roll, Iraina Mancini and Samantha Michelle are an unlikely success story in an often male-dominated world. I talked to them about how The Smoking Guns got…
Editorial
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A Soho Office

 in Editorial
Words Griff Rhys Jones Photography Archives Some time ago, in the very early Eighties, Melvyn Kenneth Smith and I decided to go into business together. We had no idea what we were doing. Or what business to go into. We liked the idea of an office. Not the Nine O’Clock News had, I think, an audience of 18 million in one set of repeats. It was a pop phenomenon, like being a band. We were…
People
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Oliver Spencer

 in People
Words & Photography Kirk Truman “I wanted to open on Berwick Street. I really believed it was the high street of the neighbourhood.” Farringdon, Portobello, Lambeth: familiar names of London districts, but also those of a range of garments designed by Oliver Spencer, whose clothes, full of stylish accents and practical details, have earned a reputation for distinction, comfort and sheer cool. Designing and making handcrafted garments for modern men and women, Bloomsbury-based Spencer has…
Business
Stripper Julia Mendez, 'The Snake Girl', takes the head of a snake in her mouth during her act at the Raymond Revuebar in Soho, London, December 1960. The following year, this part of her act contributed to club owner Paul Raymond being fined £5,000 for keeping a disorderly house, with the chairman of the London Sessions calling his show 'filthy, disgusting and beastly'. (Photo by Whittington/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Raymond Revuebar

 in Business
Words Kirk Truman Photography Getty Images/Hulton Archive Behind its ever-changing façade, Soho’s streets still hold secrets; dig beneath the surface and you can find yourself transported back to a different time. Make your way through the daytime crowds of Berwick Street, head towards the seedy Walkers Court, and stick around until nightfall, when the infamous doors to The Box Soho are open wide. Step inside this relic of Soho’s not-so-distant past and you’re in what was…
Business
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Filson

 in Business
Words & Photography Kirk Truman “There’s an endless amount of inspiration within the Filson brand given that we’re over a century old…” Filson is a brand that was born out of necessity: it arrived in the right place and at the right time, and with a sense of purpose that has kept it on course ever since. Thousands of fortune hunters were stampeding through Seattle, heading north. Born in 1850 and inheriting his fathers pioneer…
People
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Bernie Katz

 in People
Words Kirk Truman Portraits Edu Torres “…Soho is a place of many emotions, a place of ghosts. A place you shouldn’t stay for too long… get in and get out.” Bernie Katz lights a cigarette handed to him by Madness’s own Chas Smash as we chat in the smoking area of the Groucho Club where Katz has reigned as gatekeeper and host for almost a quarter of a century. Connected, intellectual and brilliantly eccentric, he’s inarguably one…
Business
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Sunspel

 in Business
Words Kirk Truman Photography Etienne Gilfillan “…many of the distinctive fabrics used were originally developed and created by the company; these continue to be used for our designs today.” Among the maze of Soho’s historic streets it’s hard to single out one that could be termed the area’s epicentre: would it be Carnaby Street? Brewer Street, perhaps? Wardour Street has a good claim. But arguably Old Compton Street remains the quintessential heart of the neighbourhood; and in…
Business
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Shinola

 in Business
Words Kirk Truman Photography Jamie McGregor Smith “Soho is a vibrant and culturally significant area… an ideal location for our first store outside of the US” Curiosity got the better of me some months ago, and I entered a specialist emporium in the centre of Soho, above which hangs an eye-catching and distinctively branded timepiece. Inside, I found watches, leather goods, journals and bicycles. Priding itself on selling lovingly crafted products made in the USA, Shinola is…