What Influences British Streetwear Culture - Mike Cooke
We spoke to Mike Cooke, a 23-year-old streetwear and sneaker enthusiast about what it's like living in Manchester. We cover the ins and outs of the city and find out what Manchester means to him.
We also delve into some of his go-to streetwear and sneaker stores in the urban district.
What was it like growing up in your city/town?
There's a lot of reasons why I love Manchester.
For starters, The music industry is crazy here; there is always events and parties going on around every corner. For example, WAREHOUSE PROJECT is the place to be if you are into hip hop, RnB, house, dance, etc.. warehouse has got it all its a real dope night out.
Another reason why I love Manchester is the vibe of the people and the community. Everyone is friendly, relaxed, outgoing and comfortable to talk to. Manchester is a slow yet smooth city; I love it as its not too big, yet not too small.
When you compare Manchester to a big city like London, you get a different vibe. In London, you have to be on your feet all the time! I mean if you are in London you're always in a hurry to get places I would hate that.
Another reason why I love Manchester so much is the food scene. Manchester's got every type of food you can think of: pizza, Thai food, chicken, steak, pasta, Indian whatever you're into Manchester has got it all.
There are a few restaurants in Manchester that only do vegan food, and they taste amazing. There is a place call V REV diner it's in the northern quarter that place does great burgers all-vegan, no meat.
I love all types of food and will eat anything, but my favourite place is thaikun in Spinningfields. The joint does fresh amazing Thai dishes like padthai, tom yum soup, mango dessert with ice cream it's all beautiful. I would recommend this place if you love Thai food.
There is nothing to hate about Manchester. Well actually, the only thing I hate about Manchester is it rains a lot! But you can't control the weather that's just the north for you.
What would you say your city Is known for? And what makes it unique?
For me, Manchester is all about the music industry. I love going out with my friends to different parties, events and venues and seeing various DJs and artists.
I love to go on a mad one and enjoy life by attending raves like warehouse project, soup kitchen and hidden.
I love the underground scene. The first time I went to the Warehouse project was to watch a DJ called solard; this was about 3 or 4 years ago it was so exciting, I didn't expect it. When I got there, the place was crazy! LED lights everywhere.
Everyone was hyped up with mad energy; the venue was in an old car park which had been turned into three rooms. Each room had a stage for DJs; it was crazy, I've never seen anything like it. It was probably one of the best nights of my life. I think places like that you can go, be yourself and enjoy it.
What's the streetwear/sneaker scene like in your city?
I like to do my own thing; however, typically, Manchester's fashion culture is generally based on a sportswear urban aesthetic.
What are your go-to sneaker/streetwear stores in your town?
I have a few places I like to shop for sneakers and streetwear in Manchester; the first is SIZE. They do some real decent sneakers. Another would have to be sneaker63 its a small store in Chinatown you walk downstairs to get into the place its a cool store exclusively for sneakerheads.
Sneaker63 has got some madly designed sneakers; you need to know your size before you go there because you can't try the shoes on as they are wrapped up.
For streetwear, I usually go to blue rinse and wearecow. I prefer vintage stores because you can find some great old school OG pieces. I like to cop jackets, tops, jumpers with a retro-style then mix it up with what works right now. For example, if you find a one of a kind bomber jacket, you can mix it up with a clean pair of white airforce1's.
It's all about finding things that people are unlikely to wear, standing out in a crowd, and adding that individuality to your fits. That's what streetwear is about.
I mean, why would you want to be caught out wearing what everyone else is wearing, that's the beauty of streetwear, the individuality.
Who are your favourite Artists?
Right now my favourite artists are Krept and Konan, I think they are just amazing. They seem very humble, and I love their music. There sound is different because most rappers now all rap about money and girls but Krept /Konan they rap about life and what it took to make it to where they are now.
They also rap about self-energy and what drives them to push on and reach their goals. ( track -brothers )
Next time they are in manchester I've got to go and see them.
Do you have a favourite pair of sneakers?
My favourite pair of sneakers were my first Nikes. I got the white and blue air Jordan 1's about 5 years ago. I used to wear these kicks everywhere I went. They were the first expensive sneakers I bought, so I was cautious not to get them dirty. I even purchased a cleaning bag to keep 'em clean.
The colours went well with a lot of my outfits, that was the main reason I purchased them. That and the trainers are comfy.
What's it like being a streetwear creator?
I don't think about what I post it's all-natural and organic. The content you may see on my Instagram is just what I wear on a day to day basis.
I love mixing different styles like modern streetstyle with a classic vintage style; it allows me to create content that's different to everyone else. That's my style if people like my look even better.
Don't be afraid of what you can or can't wear. Just try anything with everything.
What is it you love most about streetwear/sneakers?
I love to wear sneakers everywhere I go. I don't care about looking good or trying to impress anyone; I want them to be comfy to get around in.
Another reason why I love wearing sneakers is the vibrant colours. So many different brands have different shades; it makes it easier to mix and match your sneakers and to blend them with different outfits.
I often wear white Nike air force; they are comfy and easy to walk about in. They go well with most of my looks.
What is something you think most people don't realise about being a sneaker/streetwear influencer?
People don't realise that it's not about having the most expensive clothes, shoes, bags etc.. just because the item is branded with a big name it doesn't make it dope.
It's more about the substance of the brand; I like to think about what the brands represent and the people that they speak for.
I don't get why people love to have ridiculously expensive things so they can show off their money and impress others. For example, Balenciaga sneakers cost £600 -£700.
I honestly don't rate them all the time. People get them just for the name.
What would your advice be to someone thinking about becoming a streetwear/sneaker influencer?
My main advice is, don't be afraid to be unique! If you like something, go for it. You will regret not trying.