We caught up with one of the kings of footy bootleg products, Joshua Steeples, the founder of 'A Store Like 94', to find out just why he loves the weird and wonderful world of bootleg items. As well as how he aims to convince you they're slowly, turning in to collectables. One mad product release at a time.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery – or something along those lines. And for Josh, he's opening fashionable footy fans minds up to the bootleg world. A world in which you can turn a football god into a cult 90's action figure. Or more simply, create their version of a popular 90's shirt. A Store Like 94 have made the 'bootleg' shirt from the beachside gift shop, well... desirable.
From his home in Deal, the creator, is combining his love for action-figures with that of his other love – football and all it's fashions.
CK: First things first, who do you support?
JS: I am a huge Crystal Palace fan and have been my whole life. I didn't have much choice in the matter as my dad and the whole of my South London based family are.
CK: Tell us a little bit about how you got started in this weird and wonderful space?
JS: Well, I used to have a physical vintage shop but after this didn't quite work out I realised that I was being to broad and thought it might be better to roll everything into a much smaller niche business and then focus on the online market. I had been collecting and selling football shirts since 2001 on small scale and noticed how saturated the vintage shirt market was becoming and also how hard it was to find reliable and affordable contacts out there. So both things were starting to annoy me slightly. Then everything changed when I started focusing my attention on my other huge passion apart from football, 90s toys. I'd noticed within that scene there was an ever evolving bootleg toy trend that was snowballing in popularity and this made me think maybe I could possibly incorporate the same things into the online footballing world. It was a no brainer and suddenly gave me much more of an outlet to be an artist not just a seller and combine a couple of my favourite things in life.