Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Legendary city shop shaped Liverpool’s 80s and 90s fashion

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A legendary Liverpool shop spent 20 years at the forefront of fashion in Liverpool and left a lasting legacy.

This year marks 40 years since Wade Smith first opened in the city centre and it is still remembered for shaping a distinctive Liverpool style. Decades ago, founder Robert Wade Smith, originally from Bradford, was introduced to Liverpool as an apprentice for Adidas, travelling to the city at weekends to stock their concessions.




Spotting a niche in the market, he noticed the city’s love of rare and designer trainers, which inspired him to open his own business. In 2002, he said: “I was stocking shops like Topman and saw the trainers phenomenon which exploded in the late 1970s.

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“In Liverpool it was largely generated by football fans travelling around Europe and bringing back rare trainers. I was keen to start my own business and what better opportunity would there be.”

With £500 cash and a £10,000 overdraft, Robert opened a store at 11 Slater Street in November 1982. Trips to Europe hunting the rarest trainers followed and the shop was soon selling shoes as quickly as they could get them.

Inside Wade Smith in Matthew Street, Liverpool(Image: Trinity Mirror Copyright/Reach Content Archive)

Through the years, a trip to Liverpool city centre wasn’t complete without visiting Wade Smith. For many, it was the first place they bought a pair of trainers or were introduced to popular fashion trends of the 80s and 90s.

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