Of all the things you could associate with Shoreditch – vintage shops, basement bars, gentrification – skiing might not top the list. Located in once-gritty East London, the now-hipster hub is far from the silken Alpine slopes its residents probably dream of.
But Wil Beedle, founder of Shoreditch Ski Club, is well aware that in this urban enclave aprés ski is substituted with overpriced cocktails at a Shoreditch House. He also knows that in fashion today, sportswear is coveted – and that English winters are always freezing. Cosy outerwear will forever be welcomed, and his brand meets the demand for a stylish take on cold-weather necessities. Yet Shoreditch Ski Club celebrates the nonsensical, with an up-front ethos that confesses the contradiction of its existence: “Shoreditch Ski Club makes no sense. It just is.”
But for a brand that apparently makes no sense, there is a definite consistency in its overall aesthetic. Their debut collection, released in October, is versatile and wearable, occupying an organic and monochrome palette with tasteful pops of red and pink. It includes oversized puffa jackets aplenty, high-quality knitwear and shearling-trimmed coats. The addition of D-rings and harnesses bring some edge to the collection, aligning with Beedle’s reference to the “nihilism of punk” as a source of inspiration.
The campaign images and videos are particularly memorable; in part thanks to their star, Ukrainian model-cum-gymnast, Sonja. In short, retro clips reminiscent of VHS tapes, she demonstrates her flexibility through awkward yet oddly impressive posing. On her role in the campaign, Beedle says, “A Ukrainian gymnast in East London — wearing a piece of clothing that has its roots in British bovver boy culture — feels spectacularly incongruous, and therefore exciting for Shoreditch Ski Club.” He feels that the chosen ‘90s camcorder effect further compliments their favourite theme: the non-sensical. “Filming a ballet dancer in a puffa jacket on a cam-corder shouldn’t make much sense at all. But it feels profoundly right for Shoreditch Ski Club.”
Shoreditch Ski Club is as thoughtful as it is ironic. With products made from recycled materials, they view sustainable effort as more of a necessity than a choice — though most multi-national clothing companies still opt for selective blindness, prioritising profit margins over saving the planet. Beedle bemoans this attitude, asserting that “for a clothing brand launching today it would be archaic and strange not to be exploring responsible operations and recycled materials. It feels like a given for our era.”
Shoreditch Ski Club is available exclusively at Selfridges.
All images and video clip courtesy of Shoreditch Ski Club.