Monthly Archives: August 2016

Behind the Sole: Digital Creative & Graphic Designer

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behind the sole

Our Digital Creative and Graphic Designer used to be an e-sports athlete, is a lover of Zen proverbs and has big ambitions for his career. We caught up with 26-year-old Jack Flaxton to chat about standout moments, biggest challenges and favourite quotes of all time.

Did you go to University and if so, what did you study?

I studied 3D Visualisation and Animation at Bournemouth University and it’s got to be the hardest course I’ve ever taken. It covered everything from Computer Science, Mathematics and Programming Languages to Life Drawing, Animation and Cinematography. A huge stretch between technical and creative that really pushed my understanding of visual art and design.

How did you get this job?

I applied online and was contacted to come say hi! After coming to the Head Office – and liking what I saw – I took the plunge and moved from London to Hemel Hempstead. Six months later I’m settling into the role nicely and feel I’m on my way to realising my full potential as a Graphic Artist.

Did you always want to pursue a career in this field?

My creative sensibilities started to majorly take shape at college in my second year when I was 17. My art and graphics teachers were absolutely fantastic and I feel like they were keys that unlocked me. After college I wanted to go into 3D animation but after university I realised that industry, and the ways into it, did not suit me at all. The first jobs in my career included creating event flyers for local organisers advertising gigs and parties. I had another part time weekend job in a cafe too. A common vein that ran through all my years growing up, even before college, was the software Photoshop and its incredible power to help one realise images. I use it every day in this role! 

What does a typical day involve?

Most days I’m designing emails and banners as well as other tasks like designing the website and posters/flyers to be displayed in the stores. Occasionally I also do some video production/editing and create motion graphics. It’s a real mix of stuff, just how I like it!

What’s your favourite part of the job?

My favourite thing about my role here at SOLETRADER is having the opportunity to create kick-ass visuals in order to promote our great brand and the premium quality shoes we sell. I take great pleasure and pride in my responsibility to render our visual presence both online and off.

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How do you get creative when trying to design to a specific brief?

Just like a magician doesn’t tell how he performs his magic, nor will I! I will give a clue though; Google is an eye-opener to say the least!

What’s the biggest challenge your job role presents you with?

My background before SOLETRADER had been a freelance method of working; I would have a single point of contact within a company to complete a set task over a period of time. My role here is the opposite as I have many points of contact in the office and many tasks. So I guess my biggest challenge right now is juggling everything so everyone, including myself, is happy.

What’s your favourite way to relax after a stressful day?

It used to be a few games of Dota 2 with some buddies online – I could switch off from the world and focus on the hour the game lasts. But my RSI (repetitive strain injury) along my arm/wrist is not taking a turn for the better so I’m considering more social/hands-free pastimes.

Where do you see your career going?

I have big ambitions for my career – I aim for a position like Art Director – relied upon for my vision, and an ability to communicate this vision.

What’s your favourite footwear?

Right now I’m a Chelsea boots kind of guy. Slip on, durable and smart. An all-purpose, one solution kind of deal! 

Describe your style in three words…
Work hard play hard. There’s actually only three different words used there haha. I say this because I dress very smartly at work – I take it very seriously (maybe too seriously) – but at home you’d see me in very casual clothing. I used to blade a lot at skate parks, so you could probably say I dress like a skater sometimes with a cap etc. It depends on the situation and the people.

Where is your OOTD (outfit of the day) from?

H&M: Shirt, tie and slim jeans.
USC: Chelsea boots.

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What’s an interesting or quirky fact about you?

I used to be an e-Sports Athlete! This means taking computer gaming too seriously haha. I was awarded money for winning a few competitions (in UK/Europe) and I nearly signed with the France based team Quantic and their sponsors. This was all in Dota 2 – a game similar to League of Legends.

Tell us about a standout moment in your life…

One of my favourite moments of all time was sitting in an Indian-style cafe on a hill at Glastonbury Festival, shaded from the beaming sun with a group of friends and some great vibes.

Who/what inspires you?

Peter Joseph (a contemporary Philosopher and filmmaker), Buckminster Fuller (wrote Operating Manuel for Spaceship Earth, 1968), Alan Watts (Spiritual Entertainer), Rage Against The Machine (Rock band) and Tim Marrs (Illustrator and Designer). 

What’s your favourite piece of advice/quote?

I guess one quote I’d like to share that means a lot to me is this old Zen Buddhist proverb.

Before enlightenment,

chop wood, carry water,

after enlightenment,

chop wood, carry water.

I love how Zen proverbs make no sense and a lot of sense at the same time. Simple yet complicated ideas.

If you could have a dinner party with three people, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Firstly Nikola Tesla because I think he had more to teach the world than his investors (J.P. Morgan) allowed. Secondly a Croatian/English translator and thirdly, someone who can type on a computer ridiculously fast (do I have a time limit?) to record all his genius. I guess my choices here are a more practical use of summoning the dead, and not everyone’s idea of fun – but it would make general life better for everyone I think!

Behind the Sole features monthly on our blog so make sure you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram where we’ll share our blogs with you on a weekly basis.

Behind the Scenes with Blonde

Another cloudy Thursday morning rolls around which of course isn’t anything new for the UK, but rather than listening to Capital FM en route to the office, pouring a rather large coffee to get us over that final hurdle before Friday and becoming fully immersed in the office conversation topic of choice, this particular Thursday is a little different for us.

After months of planning, weeks of discussions and endless hours trying to tie all the loose ends together, our Social Media and Marketing team ditches Head Office rituals for a morning of casual chats, competitive ping pong and hilariously lad-like stories with Jake Manson and Adam Englefield – better known as UK house music DJ duo Blonde.


Since completely smashing the music scene both by themselves and through collaborating with the likes of Craig David, Sigala and Imani Williams, Adam and Jake are working their way through a heavy summer of festivals. We have the pleasure of meeting with the cheeky chaps ahead of their SW4 set this Bank Holiday weekend in an attempt to get them to dish the dirt.

A complete tardis tucked away just outside of Old Street Station in Shoreditch is Bounce – our chosen location to meet the boys. We may have encountered a slight mishap involving a walkie talkie and the front door, but we’ll save that story for another day. Oh, and the boys are completely diva-free we’ll have you know – a really lovely couple of lads, actually.

While Shoreditch is typically renowned for its industrial heritage, creative roots and urban crowd, Bounce exceeds all of our expectations with its unique mix of vibes all neatly contained within one room. Greeted with a fluorescent and flamboyant steep stairway, we’re amazed at the complete attention to detail which gives the space an extra edge.


The grand dining space is immaculately set up with extravagant silverware while the bar across the far back wall is laden with an eclectic range of spirits and liquors. The side seating area channels that of a traditional working men’s club with deep burgundy leather booths and rich wooden tables – a small yet cosy area which oozes sophistication.

Amongst all the plush interior decor lies the main space, central to the room, which is peppered with ping pong tables, a graffiti feature wall and a decorative abstract wall with broken guitars and wooden chairs protruding from the infrastructure. A bizarre yet intriguing interior which reinforces the raw and gritty nature of Shoreditch.


Perfectly suited to an edgy and carefree yet professional clique, Bounce’s centrepiece is the grafitti-ridden ping pong table, slightly set back from the bar and intentionally placed directly below the UV light hub. A special and intimate addition. The only single thing more personal is the private room with equally urban decor and a private bar, sectioned off by glass doors.

Jake arrives first and has a warm and friendly nature, telling us about his crazy whirlwind 48 hours in Ibiza for Danny Howard’s birthday. A casual yet completely unpretentious name drop – his laid back and open attitude makes us all feel totally relaxed and at ease. I mean, we hear these guys on the radio all the time so it’s a pretty big deal.

If you follow the boys on Snapchat you’ll recall seeing their Ibiza speed boat antics, and Jake tells us how all the boys drove up to a group of girls on a pedalo and told them they could hire the exact same speed boat for 60 euros a day, chuckling as the excited girls ferociously paddled back to shore. Ibiza bants 2k16.


Asking whether we’d prefer him to have facial or no facial hair for the shoot (IMAGINE being let loose on Jake’s beard), we learn that he loves Topshop Jamie jeans, has an uncontrollable obsession with Kinder Choco-Bons and wants to skydive with a shark. We assume he means dive with a shark underwater – either that, or he’s incredibly ambitious.

Adam isn’t far behind and is equally as charming and chatty. After a quick de-brief we get stuck in and set up in the private room to start the interview for our video. Both Adam and Jake answer openly and honestly, with humour and an effortless humble nature at the forefront of the entire chat.


It’s hard to believe the boys first struck up a friendship online, only meeting once they’d produced a number of songs together, as the visible connection and chemistry between them is endearing as they take it in turns to answer our questions. The boys are incredibly sincere and their laid back yet professional demeanour only makes us warm to them even more.

We learn that Adam’s guilty obsession is The Smurfs Go Pop! album, the boys would love to have written and produced Sia ft. Sean Paul – Cheap Thrills and that Craig David is a complete and utter crazy ball of energy in the studio. We’re talking riffs here, there and everywhere. IMAGINE studio and chill with CD.

As the interview comes to an end (you’ll have to watch the video on Twitter or Facebook to find out what they have to say about the highlight of their career, their summer plans and the last person they told they love), we take a quick mid-morning break to take advantage of Deliveroo and sit down over brunch – Vietnamese is their food of choice, if you’re a stalker.


Team SOLETRADER is far too basic for Vietnamese brunch so of course our order consisted of a bacon butty and a little poached eggs with avocado number. Don’t judge. The avo isn’t going to end up on Insta, don’t worry. After a much needed break, we get back to business and let the boys get dressed for the photo shoot. Eye emoji when Jake takes his shirt off mid convo though.

To thank Adam and Jake for their time, we invite them to pick some shoes to keep which they wear for the shoot. To be honest, they are completely deserving and do the shoes justice. Wearing Burberry, Dr Martens and Y3, we can tell the boys are used to standing there looking pretty for the camera as it just doesn’t phase them.


Laughing and joking around, they make their way round the venue to capture the whole vibe, and again we’re really impressed with how well they interact with both the videographer and ourselves, considering we’re complete strangers. But it’s both flattering and humbling to see two successful boys so grounded and well equipped with manners.

Unfortunately Adam has to shoot to catch a flight to Kavos (he ended up getting stranded in Prague, btw) but it’s a pleasure spending the morning with him and Jake. Don’t worry girls, he was performing not reliving a 2k10 holiday – your dreams haven’t all been crushed at once. They both have girlfriends but we thought we’d leave that until the end to save any teary screens.

Jake packs up his stuff while chatting and both the boys leave Bounce in their favourite pair of Y-3 trainers we gifted them. We check that they actually like them and aren’t just being polite, don’t worry. Oh, and we hate to break it to you, but we’re on first name basis, hug goodbyes and invitations to say hi at SW4. All in all? A bloody successful day if you ask us.


You can still get SW4 Sunday day tickets here, book out tables at bounce here (they now do bottomless brunch on a Sunday – how AMAZING) and listen to Blonde’s latest single ‘Don’t Need No Money’  here. A big thank you to Blonde, SW4 and Bounce for all being equally as amazing. Lots of love – Team SOLETRADER.

Disclaimer: We will be attending SW4 on Saturday 26th August (the day the boys are playing) and you will find us fangirling at the barrier desperately hoping they remember who we are. But we are totally on first name basis so it’s cool. Totally cool. We got this. We spent the whole morning with them AND got a picture so…

All shoes featured in the photos and video with Blonde can be found below. For our full range of shoes please visit our website.


Reebok Furylite Trainers

Burberry Dugmar Brogue Shoes

New Balance 999 Trainers

adidas Tubular Radial Trainers


Dr. Martens Oscar Victor Boots

Y3 QR Run Trainers

New Balance 999 Trainers

Y3 Pure Boost ZG Knit Trainers



Say Hello to SOLE

Sometimes it’s nice to be a little different, you know. There’s satisfaction in owning something exclusive that not every Tom, Dick and Harry has. Unless it’s Tom Hardy or Harry Styles, then we definitely want what they have. Or a date – we’re not fussy. Day dreaming and drooling aside, the beauty of an in-house collection means just that – nothing ordinary, purely excellence. SOLE, our in-house range, is exclusive to SOLETRADER and has a firm emphasis on quality materials and fine craftsmanship. Our smart casual range is comprised of traditional classics combined with modern trend-setters, an offering you’ll struggle to resist. We’re talking premium, we’re talking durable and we’re talking your ultimate AW16 BFFs. Lock your eyes on these bad boys…


A classic Chelsea boot is an Autumn/Winter staple, and these Ormond Boots are the answer to your smart casual woes. When you’re working until 6 but have dinner reservations at 7 – that kinda vibe, strictly no outfit change necessary. The sleek black leather is both smart and practical while the slight wooden heel offers a more relaxed feel.


For a formal, versatile and on-trend look, the Osbert brogue styled shoe is the answer. In a quality soft tan leather with intricate stitching, this shoe works perfectly with dark jeans or a sharp work suit. The contrasting dark laces complete this look, alongside the prominent branded tongue tab for an effortlessly exclusive and premium finish.


A quality understated design in the form of the Pitsea ankle boot. In a chocolate brown waxed leather, this style is beautifully completed with brass metal eyelets for a smart, yet slightly grungy vibe. Not just a pretty face, these boots have a rubber lip on the outsole for solid grip and luxury leather lining for optimum comfort.


Oh so suave with suede. The all grey everything works and we’re kinda loving it. With a navy leather heel tab, hand stitch detail and an additional navy lace, it really is the finer details with this particular design. The Watts boots are stylish, wearable and the grey adds another dimension to an otherwise classic shoe. A real winner in our eyes.


Indigo blue jeans, a crisp white shirt and a smart blazer will be outfit goals if you’re adding the Osier boots to your collection. The smooth tan leather creates an understated smart look while remaining sleek and stylish whatever the occasion. The iconic SOLE branding and formal style embodies the core characteristics of a classic that belongs in your AW16 shoedrobe.


Simple, laid back and effortless in a delicious chocolate brown suede for that smart casual balance. The Wades shoes are a prominent silhouette for AW16 and offer a neutral yet sophisticated feel where footwear is concerned. Beautifully crafted, easily worn and perfectly practical in the style stakes, that’s for sure.

For our full range of SOLE shoes, head over to our website. If you’re after the latest styles as and when they drop, like us on Facebook and follow us on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

New Brand on Board: Under Armour

We love having new brands on board and this time, we’re welcoming Under Armour with open arms. A brand comprised of hard work, grit and the will to find a way, Under Armour’s journey started in 1995 with one t-shirt to make all athletes better. Today, innovation is their lifeblood, and their mission is to make all athletes better through passion, design and the relentless pursuit of innovation – a raw and authentic drive which we admire. From the brand that changed the way athletes dress, Under Armour now pride themselves on being the most innovative sports brand with a full line of performance apparel, footwear and accessories. An obsession with being better, stronger and more powerful presents itself as an exceptionally strong ethos, and one which we’re very excited to be working with. Oh, and did we mention that the footwear is pretty damn good too? Considering it’s now 100% cool to be comfy where kicks are concerned, we’re predicting even bigger things for this brand. Available online and in-store now, here’s a little introduction to the cool kid on the block we should all be looking out for.


Say hello to the Under Armour Speedform Fortis 2 Trainers which feature incredible technology and are packed with athletic enhancements. These guys weren’t kidding when they claimed to be the face of innovation – the UA SpeedForm technology delivers an unprecedented precision fit for unrivalled comfort with no distractions. The breathable, three-colour knit mesh locks down your foot and increases ventilation, while the seamless heel counter creates a sleek and lightweight structure. The strategically placed rubber traction covers high-impact zones for greater durability with less weight, not to mention the embedded sock-liner for optimum cushioning, moisture wicking and seamless comfort.


Next up are the Charged Reckless Trainers which are super slick and very instagrammable. The breathable and lightweight mesh is a recurring theme throughout this Under Armour line. This particular pair features synthetic overlays to improve structure and add support around the heel. The dual-layer midsole combines Charged Cushioning on top of Micro G foam for the ultimate blend of cushioned support and explosive responsiveness – a distinct core quality for any athlete. The anatomical rubber outsole ensures natural flex and durability which will allow for optimum performance. The professional yet aesthetically pleasing blend of black, grey and white hues is both practical as well as very easy on the eye.


Another pair of Charged Reckless Trainers, but this time in a predominantly black colourway for a sleek and sophisticated finish. The prominent contrast branding and ombre metallic mid-sole is serious footwear goals. Forget wearing skanky sneakers just because you had to run around the school field for cross country, trainers now have concrete connotations with performance, style and comfort. Under Armour is the epitome of practical, premium and performance-orientated and it seems to us as though their vision is unstoppable. Although our brains might be a little fuzzy with all the complicated tech terms, Under Armour certainly know what they’re talking about and we’re super excited.

For the latest drop of Under Armour products, click here, but be sure to stay tuned for the latest releases. If you fancy taking a peek at our full range of shoes, head over to our website. Or if you’re after the newest styles as and when they drop, like us on Facebook and follow us on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.





Crazy For Colour

As the infamous saying goes, we’ll stop wearing black when they invent a darker colour. But what if black is taking a bit of a backseat? A pop of colour seems to have infiltrated the fashion scene as of late and to be totally honest, we’re obsessed. I mean, we need something to brighten up the dull and drab weather, don’t we? A bold statement hue is capable of turning just about any outfit from boring to bold and faded to fabulous, so there’s nothing not to love. From super standout to perfectly printed, we’ve got a few showstoppers we can’t wait to share with you.

Warhol Converse

As if Converse aren’t cool enough already, the latest Andy Warhol collab oozes a new level of fun and creativity. These high-tops feature insane artwork by the legendary American pop artist Andy Warhol and it’s probably our favourite release yet. The pairing of an iconic artist and an iconic silhouette never made more sense. Why? Because Marilyn Monroe is bae. The mix of bold print and statement colours makes for a unique and quirky design which is set to bring any outfit alive. We love this hot new drop from Converse.

addidas 2

It’s an undeniable fact that adidas are killing it right now. Every new release is utterly on-trend and sends us all heart eye emoji, as if we’re thirteen again and crushing on the new kid in class. Superstars are now a firm shoedrobe classic and the popular primeknit style looks as if it’s here to stay.  This modernised take on the iconic sneaker means the subtle scattered colour is at the heart of a casual and playful design. The micro multi-coloured flecks combined with the distinctive rubber shell toe keep it classic and authentic.


Is there anything more fun than a comfy shoe, a pop of mint and a lilo-esque bow shaped air nozzle? We vote no. In collaboration with iconic American designer Jeremy Scott, Melissa presents the deliciously dainty Space Love Bow ballet flats which are totally adorable. These pumps form a low silhouette with a slip on design and a rounded toe for both simplicity and style. Featuring embossed Jeremy Scott branding to the side and a bubblegum pink bow which wins the cute crown every day of the week, we can’t get enough of them.


Who said washing up was boring? These vibrant high-tops are a BRILLO-ant take on a Converse classic. Another one of Andy Warhol’s ingenious ideas revolves around primary colours and popular cleaning products – what’s not to love? In-keeping with the classic Converse colours, this design follows in the footsteps of using popular supermarket products. We’re talking Coca Cola and Campbell’s Soup – remember that? The iconic silhouette combined with the fun Brillo branding makes these a one of a kind Converse you don’t want to miss out on.


We couldn’t resist throwing in another Melissa + Jeremy Scott design, simply because of how fabulous they are. This time in a royal blue, the patent pumps are at the heart of casual vibes while the hot pink heart air nozzle injects the right amount of fun. The Space Love Heart ballet flats feature the embossed Jeremy Scott branding on the side and the quirky colour palette is both bold and beautiful. The perfect casual flat and ultimate pop of colour all rolled into one – what more could you want?


Pop of colour is an understatement where these Y-3 trainers are concerned, but we have to admit that we’re digging this bold and eccentric addition to the Y-3 family. The equally garish but gorgeous orange is oh so fierce, not to mention the bubble sole which adds an extra slice of innovation. Move over ‘all white everything’ because this crazy colour has stomped its way to stardom and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Serious comfort, serious style and serious Sunny-D vibes.

For our full range of shoes, head over to our website. If you’re after the latest styles as and when they drop, like us on Facebook and follow us on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.