What started as an exciting project for Founder Alex Ropes and Editor-in-Chief Euan Smart has turned into a platform that catches the ears of Millennials and Gen Z, and a resource for checking prices. and product authenticity.
“We then developed into a business by working with agencies and brands. We did three Nike shoes, plus three New Balance shoes with more on the way,” Smart said, and they found success thanks to The Basement community.
Ropes and Smart came together after bonding to create something that was representative of young people. Smart was editorial manager at premium street clothing retailer End, and Ropes ran charities for young people and started his own laces business, which was the first external brand to be stocked by Nike.
“It’s a combination of business experience and understanding of sneaker culture combined strongly with a third sector charitable background, which makes The Basement a company that has social missions and ambitions, not just earning money. ‘money and putting out some cool stuff, if that’s not adding value or purpose to our youth community, then we’re not interested either,” Ropes said. That philosophy helped catapult the brand in a tightly knit hub.
As the fashion and media industry moves towards digitalization, The Basement is taking a different approach by revisiting traditional media and launching a magazine.
“We decided it was the right time to move to a different media property to give a voice to people who may traditionally be excluded from having a voice in print or in a traditional media landscape,” Smart said, who still believes that there is a print service that is not available online.
Smart and Ropes consulted with their growing community before starting the project. Their demographic core is that of 16 to 24 years old.
The feedback they received from their members was that they all wanted longer, more traditional content as opposed to 15 second reels and ICT Tac videos.
None of the names in the first issue are recognizable to media insiders – instead, they’re all community members who helped create the bigger than A4 magazine with the brand name in gloss.
The objective of The Basement is to reach young people, but not to dictate new trends. When Smart and Ropes looked at what was missing from the print market, they found that magazine covers were mostly taken by established photographers or their descendants, which they say had a ripple effect on the free work in the fashion industry.
The pair have made it a priority to pay each contributor to the magazine, which has more than 230 pages with two double pages dedicated to young brands who could not afford advertising.
Articles inside the magazine cover topics ranging from colonialism, to spotlighting community members, to interviews with creatives including Cole Buxton of UVU, a young luxury sportswear brand , and Hector Dockrill, the director of the documentary “Runaway” by Post Malone.
The Basement is trying to move away from Facebook and launch its own platform, which is in beta stage.
On Facebookthey have over 150,000 members and count with a firm waiting list.
Joining The Basement is like waiting for a Hermès Birkin bag in the streetwear world – with some users waiting around two years to be accepted, but that’s not because the founders want to be gatekeepers.
Smart and Ropes lists each member and asks them a series of questions before letting them into the community with a strict policy against racism, sexism, homophobia or trolling.
Basement, as the name suggests, wants to stay in place with its target audience – and there’s always room – but the price you pay is patience.