While Newcastle may not be entirely well known for its style and fashion, End clothing has taken the blank canvas that was in the city, and put its own unique stamp on it. The lack of real presure on the store allowed it to grow and become two unique stores, End and End Hunting Co. End was opened as more of a sneaker and streetwear based store, while End Hunting Co opened to push some of the higher fashion or heritage clothing. It was nice to have the chance to discuss some of the roots of the End brand, as well as the brands they stock and the people involved.
"Their values for the store are simple: to stock the best products with the friendliest and most helpful service."
Interview by Connor Keller
Photography by Simon Lister
To Simon Lister, the team at End Clothing & End Hunting CO.
First off, explain a little bit of the background of End and End Hunting Co? You're located a little off the beaten UK style trail in Newcastle, has that had any sort of notable effect on the evolution of End?
End opened its door in 2005. We are located on High Bridge which is a small cobbled street in the City Centre which runs in between Grey Street (voted the finest street in Britain a few years back) and the Bigg Market (notorious drinking epicentre of the city.) In 2006 we launched the website and in the Autumn of 2009 we open End Hunting Co. which is just 2 doors down from the original End store. The website covers all of our brands, whereas the stores are set up to represent different lines. So in End we stock the sneakers, street wear and high-end sportswear, and End Hunting Co is the more casual, outdoors, fashion brands. There are occasions when it’s difficult to decide which store to represent brands in, but given the stores are right next door to each other we can quickly swap and change things around.
Newcastle isn’t normally mentioned as a style capital, we are normally missed off the standard London/Manchester/Glasgow list in the UK, but we don’t actually mind that. It means we don’t have any pressure to represent or be over the top/flamboyant in what we stock. Instead our buyers simply buy what they like and have a great understanding of what our customer base is into. The stores feature brands we love, brands with history, new brands with great ideas, and brands with great quality. Both stores have been phenomenally popular with the good men of Newcastle. We also have two universities in the city which helps our footfall. I think like everywhere there are pockets of guys into sneakers, others into the heritage stuff or higher end fashion and Newcastle is no different, but undoubtedly over the years our customers have trusted us in where we have taken it.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the men behind End?
The buyers/directors behind End are Christiaan and John. They started the first store pretty much fresh out of University and are still involved in the company every day and are responsible for all of our buying. Neither had a background in fashion, they simply saw a gap in the market for a menswear store through their own frustration with the lack of brands available here in Newcastle. Their values for the store are simple: to stock the best products with the friendliest and most helpful service.
You also have such a varied stocklist, from Streetwear/Running brands like Nike Gyakusou, Asics and New Balance to much more classic workwear lines like Engineered Garments or military/outdoor inspired Nigel Cabourn, is the goal to provide options in pretty much every facet of high-quality menswear possible?
We try and go to all the major tradeshows throughout the year, we listen to what our customers are telling us both in-store or via social media and ultimately everyone that works here is pretty obsessed with menswear so there is never a shortage of new brands to check out and, ideas push things forward. With regards to criteria for stocking brands, our buyers have very much grown up with the stores, so understand our different customer groups. When we first started out it was very much all about the sneakers/street-wear which demographically we see as our younger customer base. Over time these customers generally follow the same journey and start to get into the casual/outerwear brands that we stock in End Hunting Co. Both groups of customers are equally important to us and because of the breadth of brands we stock we see a huge crossover of styles e.g. a guy sporting a Nigel Cabourn jacket with a WTAPS tee, Norse Project chinos and the latest hype Nike or New Balance sneakers.
Do you have a favourite line or brand among the brands you stock?
Ultimately we are passionate about every brand we stock (otherwise we wouldn’t stock it.) A quick straw poll across the office today would reveal Edifice, Neighborhood, WTAPS, New Balance, Our Legacy and Gitman Vintage to be our current favourite brands of the moment. But it is very much a moving target that changes week to week.
Where do you see End heading? Are there any more branches in the works?
As for the future, we just want to keep on representing the best men’s brands that we can. We’ve just started working on some interesting collaborations that you will see in time– watch this space...