Classic Footwear with A Signature S***R Twist
British Footwear Label Founded by Jose Neves and Jorge Sampaio in 1996
View Swear London Footwear collections on London Fashion Review Blog
An Introduction to the Swear London Shoe Brand
The Swear story began in 1996 when founder of the SIX showroom (who manages a portfolio of licences including, bStore, Opening Ceremony, Swear and Ksubi) Jose Neves and brand manager Jorge Sampaio opened their first Swear store in London’s Covent Garden. Back then, Japanese Manga cartoons and the Ministry of Sound rave scene were big influences on the London fashion scene. Swear footwear reflected these influences, producing eccentric collections of shoes including metal heeled women’s shoes and platform boots up to 10 inches high.
In 2000 Swear split its operations into two – Swear London and Swear Alternative, with Swear Alternative producing the more ‘outrageous’ shoes and Swear London producing the more ‘classic’ shoes. In 2001, the company decided to cease production of Swear Alternative as its niche ethos and link to subcultures meant that the customer base was too small for the brand to be commercially viable. The company decided to proceed operations with just Swear London, which was re-launched as S***R, with a store on London’s Carnaby Street (now closed).
The Provocative Logo of the Swear London Footwear Brand
With the re-launch, Jose and Jorge wanted to create a crossover shoe for a crossover generation. When attending gigs they would consistently see young guys wearing either converse trainers or vintage boots. Seeing a gap in the market for young fashionable males, they set out to create to create a sneaker-classic shoe hybrid collection of footwear that would look good with the slim fit jeans that were popular at the time. Their idea for a new type of footwear became instantly popular with both the young and fashion forward youth, as well as with stars of the music world. Musicians seen wearing Swear footwear include Radiohead, Franz Ferdinand, Kings of Leon, Muse, and Queens of the Stone Age.
The ‘Duke 9′ in Yellow Leather from the Men’s Spring/Summer 2011 Footwear Collection.
Since its re-launch, the Swear London brand has gone from strength to strength and is available in boutiques throughout the world including LA’s Fred Segal, Montreal’s Reborn, Reykjavik’s Kron Kron as well as many others.
A Footwear Icon: The Dean
The first Swear design, the ‘Dean’ was to become an instant icon and the signature ‘Swear’ look. The ‘Dean’, inspired by actor James Dean, is a pointed shoe with distinctive rubber sole and the ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ graphic outsole. The show was worn by many a famous face, helping cement it’s iconic status. Since the ‘Dean’s’ creation, more than 100 styles and over 1000 different colour-ways have been designed by the label. However, the ‘Dean’ soon became the footwear of choice for an entire subculture of music and fashion lovers and over the years, over 1 million pairs have been sold worldwide.
An Example of the Iconic ‘Dean’ Shoe from the Swear London Brand.
Collaborations of Swear
Collaborations are an integral part of the design processes and collections of Swear London. In recent years the footwear label has collaborated with a varied selection of brands, some for just a single season and some for over many seasons.
Collaborations have included:
2007 saw the first collaboration between Swear London and British youth and sportswear label, Fred Perry. The collaboration saw the creation of a small capsule collection of boots and shoes with the trademark Swear sneaker sole and dress upper. In June of 2007, Fred Perry and Swear released a limited edition bowling shoe, of which only 120 pairs were produced for distribution worldwide. With such a limited run, the shoes were sold in some of the world’s finest boutiques, including Paris’ Collette, London’s Dover Street Market and New York’s Opening Ceremony.
Swear London’s 2007 Collaboration with Sport’s Brand Fred Perry
Further collaboration with Fred Perry came in 2008 for the Autumn/Winter season with the creation of two variations on the classic Oxford shoe: Oxford Leather Low and Oxford Leather High. Again perfectly combining the signatures of both brands, the slim silhouettes were kept simple in either white or red/white colour-ways. Both brand logos featured in neat stitching on the side of each shoe.
In 2005, Swear London collaborated with clothing brand D.I.E (Denim is Everything) for the first time. The collaboration proved successful and persisted for 5 seasons into the 2008 Autumn/Winter season. For the Autumn/Winter 2008 season, the duo produced a capsule collection of both low-top and high-top sneakers in four colour-ways. The capsule collection combined the dark and gothic prints of D.I.E and the simple style and slim silhouettes of Swear London.
Swear London Collaborated with Clothing Brand D.I.E for 5 Seasons
In 2008, Swear London teamed up with alternative and eccentric clothing brand Cassette Play to produce a limited edition capsule collection. The collaboration consists of two styles of shoe – a monochrome sneaker style shoe and a version of Jimmy Jazz shoe, which is basically an oxford classic shoe with a 2 inch platform. The collaboration combined the simple style and class of Swear shoes and the eccentricity of Cassette Playa perfectly.
Swear London’s 2008 Collaboration with Alternative Clothing Brand, Cassetta Playa
In 2008, Swear London collaborated with Danish sports brand Hummel to create a limited edition footwear line. The capsule collection consisted of six styles based on Hummel’s team handball classics and Swear’s signature pointed-toe design. The chevron logo of Hummel was embossed on both sides of the shoes, which were available in solid black, white, red, navy and grey or in colour blocks with metallic detailing in gold, silver or light blue.
Swear London’s 2008 Collaboration with Danish Sport’s Brand Hummel.
Visit the official Swear website here