History

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Underground – sub-culture champion that was born out of a love of renegade style


The story of Underground starts in Manchester in 1981. A Northern city, which at that time, was in industrial decline, but with a defiant relentless creativity and a true melting pot of sub-cultures.

We began as one of a small group of pioneer sellers of rare imported trainers. From a store in the heart of Manchester, Underground reached out to fashion and sportswear brands to acquire stock, only to be shunned or ignored. This rejection provided the perfect motivation for the non-conformist punk-minded Underground. We went to Germany for trainers with stripes, Italy for sportswear and scoured the UK for factories to produce our shoes, jackets and knitwear. The "football casuals" from Manchester and from all around the country became key customers for the brand. But the Casuals were just one of many sub-cultures that shared the city centre and our interest.

Those sub-cultures rarely referred to themselves with group names of Post Punks, Punks, New Romantics, Goths or Casuals. If you were part of one of them then a group label wasn't required. Those that mattered knew. Though they ruled the city centre at night they were real true outsiders especially when it came to fashion. There were few places to find a style that suited them. This void provided Underground with a mission. Underground began to provide the product that no one else could care about. Clothing and footwear for the outsiders - and for all the sub-cultures.

Inspired by the independence and freedom of these movements Underground developed into a unique brand when it went on to create more product, inspired by British music and youth culture.

Looking beyond the post-punk, casual and new wave looks of Manchester, the brand watched the evolution of the movements across the nation, notably in London's neighbourhood of Camden. It was 1987 and the first full collection of Originals was produced. Always inspired by the ferocity of punk and its febrile aftermath, Underground's Originals collection became a mainstay for new romantics, goths and new wavers during the late 1980's.

As post-punk gave way to grunge, Underground's steel cap boots found favour with the scene's plaid-shirted disciples in North America, Europe and Japan.

Throughout the 90's Underground remained true to its roots and later its winklepicker style becoming the shoe of choice for fashion-forward followers of the angular, guitar-driven music that returned at the dawn of the 21st century.

Since 2010 the Original Underground Creeper has asserted itself as an architype. The distinctive silhouette with which the brand is synonymous now finding its way to new products including Jungle and Nox, designs that in themselves, have a lineage right back to the brands' early Manchester days.


Underground remains at the forefront of British subversive style


As movements have splintered and cross pollinated with increasing speed, Underground has no fear of exploring the unknown whilst remaining a touchstone for those for whom style is synonymous with intelligence, independence and rebellious spirit.

As new youth culture is emerging, that challenges all together a society deemed oppressive, notably by breaking the codes of gender, races and cultures. By its history and values, Underground follows that path, its DNA made of a relentless feeling of 'never enough'.

• As true punks, Underground challenges.
• As an unexpected brand, it will do everything but stick to one style.
• Independent, it has the freedom to do according to its will.
• Modern and in sync to the concerns of its consumers, Underground always makes sure it is the first to know.
• Emotional, the brand is never less than 100% committed.

With such a rich cultural history and consistency in serving the needs of those who operate outside of the mainstream, it was, and still is the purpose of Underground to accompany those in their quest for uniqueness and self-expression.


Underground remains at the forefront of British subversive style


Through its history the brand has remained consistent and loyal to its origins. British Sub-culture and Music are at the very heart of the brand. It inspires us and we hope that we inspire those in our universe. From the early Manchester days of Post Punk and New Wave through the years of Madchester and Jungle, to the Indie, New Rave and Grime of now the music soundtrack is always with us.

We march to our own beat. We support the independent labels, the Vinyl stores and the start-up bands. We shout out for the music venues, not just the super venues but the small independent venues, the pubs and the social clubs that give live music a chance. And we shout out for the clubs that are under the threat of being closed down.

Over the years we have always been close to the music that we love and the artists that make it. Our Soundwave programme is our way of linking with the artists that we like and support. The new, the unsigned, the upcoming and the established - all of them share our spirit.