Priding itself as the first menswear shop on Bristol’s hipster cool North Street, Recreo’s urban vintage style store sits comfortably on the popular Bedmo strip, offering high quality functional streetwear with a vintage, workwear edge.
Recreo founders James Batten and Duncan Wilmott are local boys with links to North Street. The brand started up in 2012 with a successful men’s lifestyle online shop, before the boys branched out and opened their first physical store on their home turf in Bedminster.
With brands ranging from big names like Carhartt and Brixton, next to lesser-known Cheap Monday and skaters’ favourite Dickies, it’s certainly a stylistic mix. Recreo also have their own label, which they are slowly starting to expand.
“It’s more brand awareness at the moment – we give our clothes to ambassadors so we can get the name out there,” says James. “We also have collabs in the pipeline with other Bristol events,” continues shop manager Jay Jennings. “We do stuff with DJs and the Flatline BMX guys.” James jumps back in – “Yeah, we do a lot of stuff with Matti Hemmings [the Bristolian extreme sports event organiser and Guinness world record holder] too.”
Recreo are up for keeping it local and supporting Bristol, which is something that Bristol brands do really well. They are also up for promoting Bristol’s independent fashion brands and artists, giving them a chance to showcase their work in a display at the front of the shop. Plans for the future also include a rotating art gallery in store, where local artists can display their work.
The shop’s urban pipework interior adds to the industrial, workwear feel of the store. “We are influenced by the American and European streetwear: a bit more up-market and with a cleaner cut. It’s a slightly higher price but you are paying for the quality,” James explains.
Given that they have quite a clear style, what do Recreo think of the Bristol style? “It’s quite diverse, it depends what part of Bristol you are in, I think,” says Jay. “Here in Bedminster, a lot of the clothes we sell are what suits the street, but on Gloucester Road and Stokes Croft it’s a bit more year-round festival wear; it’s for people who never really leave the festival season.” “In mind and in clothing!” laughs James. “I think North Street suits us better.”
As the Recreo boys stock the rails (they have a shop to run after all), it’s clear from the range of clothing they have in that they are a little different from other shops supplying well-known streetwear brands in Bristol. “It’s all about the brands,” James says. “You are always going to have have hundreds of streetwear brands, but we have chosen this custom range of everything from camping brands to camo. It’s so diverse – our customers get a selection of brands that nobody else has got.”
Recreo, 73 North Street, Bedminster, BS3 1ES
All photography by Emma Gorton-Ellicott
Read more: Fashion on the front line