“Be the minority” — this is the direction that the folks behind Hooks Avenue have built their business on. Sounds like some idealistic bullshit? But hey, it’s these sort of values that are flying with more people, which includes me.
Is it so much to ask for something that has a little bit of soul in it? Well, if you’re the sort choosing to stray from the main roads, Hooks Avenue is off the beaten path.
With a product gallery in place of what could be a regular retail store, Hooks Avenue is in the business of being different. You can’t just walk into their physical space, it’s by appointment only — or if they happen to be in.
Sounds snooty doesn’t it? However, working on an appointment basis allows the folks behind Hooks Avenue to build a better relationship with their clients, who often become friends.
In the time allocated to you, they’ll tell you about how the brands they’ve curated and the stories behind them. As Keith Foo, one of the founders of Hooks Avenue eagerly told me about niche brands that you may, or may not have heard about like SNRD, the shades from the land of Kims and kimchi (Korea); and Life Behind Bars, a brand geared towards cycling and outdoor culture, hailing from Jakarta.
Small “underground” brands that are a refreshing step away from your big boys. Not that there’s anything wrong with or liking big brands but, the brands Hooks Avenue curate are for — the minority. Besides being something different, the products of these brands often carry highly competitive price tags without sacrificing quality.
Then comes the option for custom work. Now that really gets the juices flowing. Customised work to express the personality of the wearer on a pair of kicks, or for the discerning collector whose prized work of art will never hit the pavements. This is where Hooks Avenue really set themselves apart from being — “just some distributor”.
At Hooks Avenue the brands and products meld together with the work of (generally) free spirited artists. Working with internationally recognised artist Original Punk, who’s also part of the Vans family. And hey, he’s been mentioned by Hypebeast and that’s enough credibility for cool in our books.
Not forgetting local talent, Hooks Avenue brought Edmund Seah on board — a local tattoo artist whose bold Irezumi style while definitely eye-catching, may not convince everyone to have it etched permanently into their skin. The next best option? Wearing his striking work on a pair of sneakers with his art laid into the canvas.
Both Seah and Original Punk take on projects for those looking to add a unique dimension to their shoes. No two pairs are the same as they transfer the tastes and attitude of the individual with every project they undertake.
While Seah renders his striking Irezumi artwork using markers, Original Punk paints his loud and proud punk-inspired work. Two different artists, for the (street) cultured.
Think of Hooks Avenue as the really cool middleman who only brings in brands that tickle the taste of the discerning and those looking to set themselves apart from the legion of jogger pants and NMD wearing boys and girls. Again, not that there’s anything wrong with that. But, not everyone is into that.