New Dr. Martens! This time the Triumph 1914 boot, with the plaid flannel lining and the satin ribbon laces. There’s three sets of rivets on this thing and about a million options when it comes to lacing. Still playing around with it. Looking forward to getting some wear onto these, they’re made of a nice soft leather so breaking in is easy.
Wearing it with a new skirt that I got from Jude. I’ve been looking for a knee length wool flared skirt with a lining, and this one fit the bill. It has stars screen printed on it, which would normally be a deal-breaker for me, except the pleating breaks them up into something tolerably abstract. Who is Jude? Here’s the story.
It was a beautiful day in London at the beginning of last week. Things were beginning to look up in a lot of ways – not the least is that my tenancy situation got resolved in my favour. I was cleaning the flat but the sun was too gorgeous to stay inside, so I stepped out, thinking I’d get a hipster coffee and hang out on Brick Lane for a bit.
Feeling good, I was walking tall on top of a wall, and this man yells out to me, “you’re the tallest girl in the world!” We struck up a conversation as we walked down Cheshire street and I gathered he was in the fashion business. Impulsively, he asked me if I wanted to walk with him, and impulsively I did. His name is Jude, he is a total character, and he is like a key that unlocks East London. In just a couple hours, he introduced me to like 30 people – a ton of scenes in quick succession – a basement where his leather workers sew his bags, gossip about rents on Brick Lane, a tattoo parlour where we watched gang members get branded with their area code, a Gypsy-caravan style coffee shop lovingly decorated with mismatched furniture and objects (procuring unique decor is one of Jude’s businesses), and finally, the logical conclusion, an empty alcove with dumpsters in it.
Jude explained that he had convinced the owner of this alcove to rent it to him on the weekends – giving him an impromptu storefront on the ritzier side of Shoreditch, Redchurch Street. He sells his own bags, fine vintage menswear (procured from his connections on Savile Row) and also designer samples for women. So I returned on the weekend, and bought my skirt.
That weekday walk is for Jude what Final Fashion is to me – its a critical part of being entrepreneurial. Its not on the clock, but the practice of doing it keeps possibilities open, makes face time routine and keeps a million loose connections alive. He doesn’t have business cards or a sign. I really dig the informality of his method, and the open quality of it. He is a great example of what Gladwell called a “super connector”. As someone who is working on developing connections in a new city, starting from zero, I’m grateful for the serendipity, and also aware that it really isn’t all that accidental.
If you’re in London, you can visit Jude yourself – he is here on the weekends: