Retro-mod and limited-edition kicks are part of every young gent's uniform these days, so it comes as no surprise that a special sneaker store has just emerged on Philadelphia's ultra posh shopping strip, Walnut Street. While exclusive shoe stores may seem like second hat, Ubiq's owner, John Lee, has used the design of his store as a means of highlighting only the best styles and clothes out there. "In Philadelphia, most of the stores are mumsy and traditional," says Lee's designer, Rafael de Cardenas. "We wanted to stand away from that."
With a plethora of already successful designs under his belt like aNYthing in New York, de Cardenas was interested in making the store [as] "optically contrasting as possible." The front part with its black-and-white patterns, light, and reflective surfaces is "buzzy and disorienting." The back of the store houses the clothing and was made more intimate and warm, to mimic the feeling of stepping into an old Upper East Side living room (de Cardenas built around the existing fireplace). To make a special home for each shoe, he designed individual cubbies with a mirrored back and distinct lighting so each piece can be satisfactorily ogled. And many of the items are unavailable anywhere else in Philly or the East Coast, including Ubiq's eponymous line of kicks.
While the men's and women's vintage sneakers are exemplary, a collection which Lee has amassed from his other store, Kicks USA, the store also carries a selection of men's clothing and accessories. Standouts include Answer, a line of graphic T-shirts founded by UK's Emmett Keane, Stussy Deluxe, a high-end line of menswear, featuring slimmer cuts and smarter fits, and GoodenoughUK, a fusion of London's Gimme5 empire and Hiroshi Fujiwaras GoodEnough, resulting in masterfully printed T-shirts. In addition to the two main sections of the store, customers should be sure to check out Ubiq's upper level, which is home to a gallery space, where Ubiq hosts temporary pop-up shops for different brands. Currently, a Van's concept store is up now, but you can expect loads of other collaborations to come.
Ubiq, 1509 Walnut St., Philadelphia, 215-988-0194
A new sneaker-style shop on Walnut Street takes a big step in the right direction.