Archie Hewlett is the founder of the London footwear label, Duke + Dexter – a brand that breaks with tradition, and challenges industry expectations of what a British shoe company can, and should be, by striking a balance between progressive style and familiar British charm.
Having initially started out with a £9,000 pound loan, the original concept for the brand saw Archie selling slippers out of his bedroom before diversifying into sneakers, loafers, boots and sliders over the course of the past six years.
Duke & Dexter | Handmade in England
In 2016, Hewlett moved production of all shoes to the brand’s factory in England, where each D+D pair is handmade. Known for sustainably sourcing all materials and releasing their styles in very limited runs, D+D has been able to ensure they eliminate almost all wastage.
The multi-million pound brand, which sells to over 120 countries worldwide, is partnered with retailers including Harrods, Selfridges, Nordstrom, Levels and Tsum, and counts celebrities including Justin Timberlake, Ryan Reynolds, Eddie Redmayne and Jonah Hill as brand ambassadors.
We caught up with Archie Hewlett for the latest edition of our ‘My London’ interview series.
Hackney – where our new design studio is. Such a buzz, so many great independent cafés, bars and genuinely distinct stores that are full of all sorts of weird and wonderful things… which we end up buying to decorate our studio with. Gives it a real madhouse feel.
Favourite place for brunch:
Riding House Café – great for a bit of brunch when you’ve missed breakfast. So many good classics, but also specials like pancakes with toasted marshmallows, white chocolate and bananas… real healthy too. It’s very popular though, so you often need to book early.
Best coffee in London:
Monmouth Coffee – which is next to our old Covent Garden store. It has queues every single day, and I’m not really one to fuss too much over the perfect bouji coffee, but this coffee is worth the faff. No buzzed headaches, shakes or crippling bursts of anxiety here.
Favourite gallery or museum:
Science Museum, no doubt. It’s the most fascinating spot in London and brings out my inner child and curiosity every time I go. You’ll learn more there, than you will anywhere else! If you want to really go wild, head over on the last Wednesday of each month, when they have the night time slot… for adults only, obviously.
Tell us a secret:
Head to The Dolphin in Hackney in the early hours of the morning and you’ll learn plenty of secrets. I’ll say no more.
Favourite place to shop:
It has to be Soho at the moment. I never previously shopped round there, but the whole place has come alive with some of the best brands right now. It has a real buzz. I also know that one of the most exciting NY brands is going to be opening, right in the heart of Soho very soon…
Favourite place to find inspiration:
I get most of my inspiration from other stores – seeing brands personify themselves in how they build their spaces and communities is so interesting to me. So for that reason, again, I’d have to say Soho.
Best London destination for a date:
The Coral Room in Bloomsbury. It has such a beautiful interior – high ceilings and an amazing bar. The staff are so lovely, and it’s the kind of place you can head to from 5pm through to 1am, and never want to leave. So it’s perfect if a date is going well and time just flies by.
Richmond Park – I don’t get out there anywhere near enough, but in terms of properly escaping London (within London) and taking some down time, it’s amazing. The views back across London are breath-taking; a great reflection point.
Favourite food market:
Broadway Market is my favourite spot to pick up a proper weekend feast… cheese, sausages, fresh veggies and a bit more cheese. The atmosphere there is always jolly, and I love how passionate the market traders are – it’s what a food market is all about!
Your sanctuary in the city:
The Sushi Eatery on Frith St, in Soho. As the name suggests, this is the most unassuming place in London, and it doesn’t get any more exciting when you arrive at the entrance. But, I promise you, this is some of the best sushi in London, for around £25 all in. It’s a family run business and a great low-key spot to escape to.
What inspires you?
Building something special with like-minded, passionate and energetic people who are all working towards the same goal. There is something so magical about being part of a team that are all so genuinely excited, and heavily invested in the same challenge.
This season I’m loving:
Anything old school – 70s retro vibes, mid-century tones and anything that’s got a feel of escapism and togetherness after we’ve been apart for so long! Watch this space on that…
For more information on Duke + Dexter visit their official website here.