I’ve known the Dukes boys for some years now. Back in the early days of Basement when I would wonder Soho I would always check the stall and see what they had. I’ve got quite a few bits from them over the years. Ned and Milo began selling vintage together on Berwick Street in 2012. Fast forward 7 years they have just opened their second store, moving from the space on Green’s Court to the new shop on Ingestre Place. They are our go- to for vintage and the knowledge and database they have built from doing this is by far the most impressive in the UK.
I went down to check out the new store today, ask the boys a few questions and grab a few photos. Be sure to pop in and pass on your congratulations – it’s not easy to open a store in Soho and I know how much effort these boys have put in.
Dukes Cupboard started out on Berwick Street Market. How has the market changed since you were originally there?
Milo: A lot of people have left Berwick Street. Pizza Pilgrims started there, on the Berwick Street in a little van. They used to do us pizzas for a pound!
Ned: The Endurance, the pub that Lance used to live above, is gone. The fish and chip shop next to the Mediterranean cafe, that went. The record stores, William Hill, gone too. It’s changed a lot, Berwick Street.
How did you two get to know each other?
Ned: I started out selling vintage on Portobello Market in West London and Milo started here in Soho, on Berwick.
Milo: Ned walked past one day and we swapped jackets. He had a jacket on that I wanted, and I had one he wanted for his stall. I can’t really remember exactly how, but we got chatting and decided to do it together. We started on Portobello together and I was still doing Berwick on my own at the same time. After a while, we decided to just put everything into Berwick.
When did you guys start taking this seriously?
Milo: We both had other jobs before this, I used to work in my dad’s shop here in Soho.
Ned: I used to work in a fruit and veg shop in Chiswick.
Milo: I think we started taking it seriously after that Kurupt FM job when we first made our good bit of P’s.
What did you do with Kurupt FM?
Milo: We helped style their first series.
Ned: We went over there with a Gucci suitcase full of vintage Tommy, Polo, Versace, Moschino and they just spent P’s. Before that I was thinking about getting trying to get a job styling at a magazine or something, do you know what I mean? Something secure. After the Kurupt work, I was like fuck it, you know what man, keep at it.
Dukes Cupboard always has a great selection of stock, so it’s no wonder Kurupt FM hit you up. How do you find your stock for the store?
Ned: We go to Car Boots every Sunday. But we get phone-calls, we got mates who do building work and they tell us when they do house clearances and we go and sift through a thousand pieces and there might be ten good bits.
Milo: Obviously we do a lot of buying in the Dukes store. People bring their bits in. We buy stuff online, too. It’s definitely becoming more scarce and more expensive.
Even with it being harder to source bits, looks like it was been going in the right direction because you opened a spot on Greens Court. How was it going from market stall to bricks and mortar space?
Milo: It’s a big jump mate I’ll tell you that going from a market stall to a store! Things got very official, very quickly.
Ned: We originally contacted Joe (the landlord) about that space because Round Two wanted to do a pop up with us, and saw the number in the window and gave it a call. When we spoke, he was like “I know who you boys are, I’m going to come see you later and you’ll recognise me”. He turned up and we were like ahh this guy, we’d seen him for years. After that, he looked after us man, he put us in there. He let us do the pop up for four or five days with the Round Two lads. When it was over, he asked us if we just wanna move in?
Milo: We took it for three months initially. The pop up did really well and then the initial three months did really well too. We ended up staying there for another 18 months on top, so just over two years in total, but that was never the plan. It was never ours that shop, it was great but it was always like treading on eggshells.
Ned: Like when we would do events and parties we would have to apologise to the neighbours.
Milo: But it was a good man, it really showed us we can do this and succeed. Because getting a shop in W1, well, getting a shop anywhere, but getting a shop in W1 is madness. Joe gave us this chance, we were lucky.
I see you lot have been to the US a few times for Dukes. How did the trips to America come about?
Milo: We are constantly looking to improve what we offer in store. For certain brands, the US is a lot better than the UK to source pieces.
Ned: The American brands like Northy and Polo circulate much more over there than here. All the interesting art tees and music tees, they circulate in America more than the UK. Some of its impossible to find here.
It’s not just to source stock for Dukes Cupboard that you guys have been abroad. You’ve done pop ups abroad as well. How have you found it doing pop ups overseas?
Ned: The New York one was a big thing man, it was a serious trip. It’s good to see people queue up. You can never be sure that it’s going to work out when you’re away, so it’s always a relief and a buzz when people turn up and queue outside before you’ve even opened the doors.
Milo: Even last night for the launch party for the new store on Ingestre Place, people coming that I’ve never met before and just rated the store and what were doing. There’s not a better feeling really. It keeps us going. This last 6 weeks hasn’t been easy man, it’s been non-stop. We’re exhausted. But we feel good man.
You had a launch party last night for the new store? How did it go?
Milo: We shut the street down man and we didn’t really get any complaints. We had one complaint, but she was bless and bought us doughnuts this morning. She was real sweet. We’re keen to do more things like that because now we can. But yeah, we had bare people come through.
Ned: It was a good vibe. It’s mad to be able to have a space where we can bring people together, properly. We are going to do a lot more like it.
Now that Dukes Cupboard has a proper permanent space, how do you see it evolving?
Milo: Well we have the basement downstairs. We never had a space downstairs before. It really gives us a chance to focus on our webstore, our creativity. We can get busy designing Dukes merch and we’re going to have an archive down there, cause we’ve come across so many things we don’t wanna sell, so it will be nice to be able to display all that somewhere.
Milo: We need to finish downstairs and do this appointment only thing we’ve got cooking. We’ve got the stock for it, we just need it finished off so we can display it down there. But we’re just settling in for now.
Ned: We want to sit down there with brands and do creative work like the stuff we’ve done with Nike and Ralph. We want to approach the brands we love, and work with them more. Having that space enables that. It’s going to be nice to have a space to just sit and talk ideas.
Milo: This street has smartened up. I didn’t even know this street had shops on it. It’s not really a famous name, you got Berwick Street, Brewer Street and Lexington Street. This street is right in the middle of it all, but the name isn’t famous. I guess our aim is to make Ingestre Place famous, bruv.
Dukes Cupboard is now open on 4 Ingestre Place, Soho, London W1F 0JQ. Open from Monday to Saturday from 11-7PM and Sundays from 12-6PM