Luke Taylor is the founder of RC Magazine, one of the UK’s most respected sneaker and streetwear magazines.
Set up 5 years ago, RC has become one of the “go to” platforms for the latest streetwear and sneakers news. Based in the UK and set up by Luke Taylor in 2013, RC now boasts a readership all over the world from Manhattan to Manchester. We caught up with Luke to see where his journey into the streetwear industry started and how he got to where he is today.
Tell us more about RC and how it all came about?
I actually had my own independent store at the time. The store was really growing in terms of its online presence and with that came big invoices that needed paying on time. I had always been interested in trainers and street culture from about the age of 9 so I started what was more of a blog back then, focusing on new collaborations (which weren’t every day in 2013!) and drops for some extra funds to support the store. I started selling links to independent stores at £100, within 2 weeks I had already made £2000. It has taken me a good few years to master a style of writing that not only shares my knowledge and experience but also translates back to the end reader. In the beginning my experience was more from a retail/business background so building up marketing contacts and relationships with some of the biggest stores and streetwear brands has really being key to the success of the business. We now have writers based in Milan, New York, London and Amsterdam with a readership all over the world, and more recently, a growing following in the States. It’s a really exciting time to be involved in the streetwear industry but it hasn’t come without its fair share of stress and hurdles. Building a digital magazine from nothing is extremely difficult, but not impossible. The workload I have put in and still put into RC has been something like 12-14 hour days, 6-7 days a week. Although I do genuinely enjoy what I do and its always great to hear from avid readers of the site or people who are just interested in the scene.
What were you doing before RC?
I’ve always had an interest in business from a young age, I use to sell second hand bikes and Playstation games etc in the local papers and second hand shops, this then grew to selling on ebay at around 16, whether it was old football boots or buying and selling whatever I could get my hands on. I tried the 9-5 thing for a few years in my early 20’s but it really wasn’t for me. I hated the fact you had no control over your future but only if you were part of the managers little cliquey group of friends. It wasn’t my scene, the freedom of working for yourself was what I wanted and opening my own retail website was my first venture into the world of full time business. My business skills, education and street knowledge have given me a unique set of skills that only a few people can say they have and I am very honoured. I have been closely involved with the graffiti scene, rave culture, skateboarding, terrace culture and sneaker culture for the last 20 years so my background is pretty extensive.
What would your advice be to people starting out in the streetwear industry now looking for jobs etc?
Its a tough world out there, and without sounding like something too much out of a Guy Ritchie film, “dog eat dog”. It really is, you need to have something special from everyone else that stands out, you need to have a combination of skills. I don’t think some people really realise the commitment and dedication that goes into working your way up the ladder. I know its not for everyone but it certainly doesn’t come over night. My advice would be to first of all make the contacts, get to the events, make your name known, show your eagerness and be prepared to work for minimum wage if needs be. To get to where you want to be you need to have a fighters mentality and be willing to sacrifice things you probably wouldn’t want to. If you have ever seen the last fight scenes from the Rocky films, it really is like that in real life, which no business or fashion qualification can really set you up for. Learn as much as you can along your journey, try to enjoy the journey and be the best you can be physically and mentally. Ditch any negative aspects that may influence your progression, there will always be those who are jealous of you but don’t have the minerals to do something for themselves. Leave them behind and set your sail for a new adventure.
Above: RC’s Luke Taylor featured in Vice Sports talking about casual culture and why it is still relevant in football and fashion.
“It’s a really exciting time to be involved in the streetwear industry but it hasn’t come without its fair share of stress and hurdles.”
Luke Taylor – RC Magazine
Where do you want to take RC over the next 5 years?
The question should be “where don’t I want to take RC over the next 5 years” haha. Basically I want to take RC to the very top and won’t allow anything to stand in my way to do it. I’ve been through a lot of tough times growing up that have always driven me to want to succeed in anything I do. Over the next 5 years I want to drop trainer collaborations, hit a million views on one article, grow our wholesale side of the business and potentially re-locate our offices to New York. There’s a lot in the pipeline but obviously you can’t do everything at once, but as far it goes now we are growing at a rapid rate and this will hopefully continue over the next 5 years.
Who are you favourite brands and designers etc?
To be honest I have never considered myself a mad on fashion person, strangely enough. I like brands that connect with street culture that aren’t necessarily doing catwalks at fashion shows. At the moment I’m big into Stone Island (don’t think that will ever change), Air Max sneakers and anything with a military influence, ripstop fabrics etc. I love the techwear aesthetic but some of it can be a bit full on for me. Designer wise, you can’t really go wrong with Carlo Rivetti at Stone Island and Errolson Hugh at Acronym.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Down time is very limited for me at the moment but its very important if you want to hit your goals. I follow Manchester United, like to explore new places, try and workout every day, DJ, learn new languages and read about history and subcultures.