Within the ever rising online streetwear/lifestyle community lies Jake Hartwell, a 20 year old who's proven to be a leader within multiple communities, managing the ever popular "Supreme Talk UK/EU" and "The Basement" Facebook Groups.
I got the chance to chop it up with Jake earlier this month via Facebook and ask him a few questions.
COZYMAG: For those who don't know you - Who you are and what you're about?
Jake: My Name's Jake Hartwell and I have just moved to London, originally from Worcestershire. I help manage the two online Facebook groups, The Basement and Supreme Talk UK/EU. SupTalk is the largest Supreme facebook selling group which we constantly monitor to create a safe and enjoyable market place. The Basement was intended to be another marketplace for other streetwear but has proven to become more of a respected online community if anything. The group is constantly called “The Basement Family” and I am truly grateful to be a part of it.
CM: How you got into the scene you're in now, and how you came about SupTalk UK/EU & The Basement?
Jake: Ever since I was a kid I always had a passion for clothing as well as the Hip/Hop music scene, which go hand in hand with eachother. I always wanted to be like Mac Miller when I was like 15-16 and I guess just growing through the music phase I found different artists who I took inspiration from- and here I am today.
I remember going to the Supreme store the first year it opened. I was young and naïve and didn’t really know much about the brand, but as I grew older I researched and found that it was unlike any other clothing brand I had come across.
I can’t even remember how I found Supreme Talk I’ll admit that I'm not an OG member. When I did find it and finally got let in I was instantly hooked. I looked up to the Admins with respect as they deserved it for creating and controlling such a tricky and demanding group. When you think we all live normal lives and all have jobs/university, its hard to keep on top of those people who break the rules and damage/cause trouble on the pages.
The Basement popped up one day and I joined to sell clothes non-supreme wise but then through time and becoming an established member I was asked along to the Admin initiation tests, a trial similar to Takeshi’s Castle.
CM: Where do you see The Basement heading in 2015? Into a permanent physical location or keeping up appearances within the shop event scene?
Again from a young age, the thought of running a store has been a dream of mine. What better job is there than working in a team of people who all share the same interests? Imagine how much fun we would have in a physical store!
For me when it comes to running a store you need a community presence rather than just selling clothes. You need a space where people can come chill and just discuss current trends and what not. Of course business is business and you need to pay the rent, but I feel that with the way the Basement is going- a store could be on the horizon. For now we are planning a Party to celebrate and bring the community together like no one has done before. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the effort from Uncle Dedicated and the OG founder Street Pete, so for that I thank you two.
CM: Having been following your posts over on Instagram, I noticed that you're a freelance photographer. How did you get into photography and what's your current setup?
Jake: You been stalking me? Nah I appreciate that. Although it’s easier to just say to people “yeah I'm a photographer” I wouldn’t class myself as one. I see it as more of a passion and love shooting film. My dad was a photographer when he was younger and I grew up around cameras but never really took much interest into it until I was about 17.
I would try and take a camera or record things on my phone cause I love looking back at times and events. I got my first film camera from a charity shop, a Chinon Genesis and just loved using it. Now I have 7 or 8 of them. I got back from Amsterdam with three rolls that I was excited to develop and found that the camera had somehow messed up and I got about 5 shots and angrily went out and bought a Canon 600D which I use for taking photos at the various drops.
My current film set up is a Practika Nova 2. Film is Life. Shout out Liam Stock.
CM: From photography to streetwear you seem to have a solid knowledge of both. Surrounding your involvement with SupTalk UK/EU and The Basement you've seen the amount of hype around the AW14 Supreme BOGO drop – what was the experience like during the camp and also the morning that they dropped?
Jake: I live and breathe clothing now so through the time I have spent looking into brands I feel that I have a good knowledge and understanding of say, Supreme for example. It’s a shame that so many fakes are made- but people are always going to make money out of the less knowledgeable. Photography wise I usually take the photo and if it’s good it’s good.
Camping is a very surreal experience. When you explain to your Nan what you’re doing it, it dawns on you how mad it actually is. I used to travel down from Birmingham to camp overnight and head back Thursday after drops. Through camping and the groups, I have made a solid set of mates who I hope I grow old and rich with.
In terms of this particular camp it was larger obviously because of the prized drop but as always it was fun and enjoyable to meet people. We get camps that are boring and camps that have something happening every second of the night. Soho is a very strange place, I love it. The nights are always chilled but then it comes to the morning and the lack of sleep and the unfamiliar faces pushing in it can get rowdy.
People go from sitting 1x1 to a line of 5 people in a row and everyone is panicking about whether they will get what they want. If you want something, get there early enough and do not let people you do not know jump in front of you. It’s a dog eat dog world.
CM: Aside from what you're involved with and what you do – What are your top 3 places to sit back and eat in London?
Jake: If you look at photos of me it’s not hard to see that I like a good meal. If I had to pick a top 3, they would be:
Honest Burger, Soho.
The single greatest burger I ever had and I hope everyone tries it. Cheaper than 5 guys and much better and the workers are real good people.
Four Seasons, Chinatown.
The duck is the best in Chinatown. When a Chinese restaurant is full of rich Chinese people eating there you know that you’re getting authentic food.
Icco, Goodge Street.
New York style pizzeria that sells Snapple and is a fiver for a big ass pizza. Can’t beat it.
CM: Finally, to round it off- any last words or shoutouts you wanna give to people?
Jake: Thanks for your hospitality and support man. For all of the Basement boys and girls reading this, I got love for you all and thank you all for your constant support. I want to thank all my fellow admins for the commitment they put in daily that helps us maintain the most popular Streetwear facebook groups in the EU.
You can keep up to date with what the rest of the Basement family are doing by following their Instagram (@BasementApproved), reading their blog (http://thebasement.london)
Or if you'd rather catch Jake's future endeavours you can follow him on Instagram (@jakehartwell_) or Twitter. (@jakehartwell94)
Photo credits to Liam Stock
Words by Kris Jones (@KrisJxnes)