Article and imagery credits: Farah Menswear UK www.farah.co.uk
When Farah menswear contacted us to run a piece on creatives & indie Businesses in Leeds, it did not take long for us to say yes..
At Farah, we believe in creativity and we want to celebrate it. Disguising itself in the way we dress, the way we think and the careers we take, creativity can be found hiding in the backstreets of every town and every city throughout the world – and we’re keen to explore it.
Combining great minds and utilising unique talents, we decided to visit some of the cities that we believe wear their creative hearts on their sleeve. But rather than jetting off to New York, Tokyo or Paris, we wanted to celebrate the great and good that exists a little closer to home, here in the UK.
For our first stop, we headed to Leeds. As a city, Leeds is evolving. As businesses rise in the centre, art galleries, cafes and pop-up shops spring up around just about every corner. These independents form the lifeblood of the town, they are the creative hands currently carving their names into the contemporary landscape – they are the ones we’re here to meet.
Described as a ‘melting pot’ of creative talent, fashion and business, it didn’t take us long before we found the names, faces and trends of those currently contributing to Leeds’ creative movement. From craft beer brewers to fashion-conscious barbers, independent bookstores and backstreet coffee grinders, we want to shine a light on the people who are helping Leeds to recognise its creative place in the north of England.
By shaking the hands of some of the region’s finest talent, we were keen to discover how their creativity was influenced by the city that surrounds them – and how current trends, styles and designs have played their part in each of their individual stories.
In this video, you’ll hear from those we were lucky enough to meet. You’ll see the likes of Northern Monk and their awesome brewery, you’ll see the slick team behind King Koby’s Chop Shop and the delicious coffees sold by La Bottega Milanese. You’ll also see Leeds – a city on the move, a city that’s changing and a city that’s growing. It also just so happens to be the same city that all our creatives call home.
Farah is embarking on a tour to find the creatives that make this great country tick. Starting in Leeds – the home of the Farah-partnered Beacons Metro festival – we trawled the streets of the city to find the businesses at the heart of Leeds’ melting pot of creative talent.
Caffeine – the fuel that drives so many creatives. But what about those who grind, pour and serve our daily blends? Surely they too are worthy of a spot within our burgeoning club of young creatives? Well, if any that you know happen to possess just a mere percentile of the skills, flair and vision held by Leeds’ La Bottega Milanese, then the answer can be a resounding ‘si’.
Coffee houses for the urban addict are hardly in short supply. From high street lattes through to in-house Costas, there’s no denying that if you find yourself in need of a pick-me-up within any city centre, a good old fashioned cup of Joe can be found in two shakes of a sugar packet. So why is it then, that given the sheer number of coffee shops in existence today, it’s so hard to find somewhere you’d want to sit, savour and actually enjoy your next cappuccino? So often it seems that throughout the urban landscape, so many are opting for safety over style, convenience over comfort and the uniform over the unique – and for us here at Farah, that simply won’t do.
Citing “Milanese lifestyle” and “continental café culture” as two of the main factors behind his business, we knew that when we found Alex and La Bottega Milanese, this was a place worth celebrating. Established in 2009, La Bottega Milanese is an Italian espresso bar boasting two awesome outlets in Leeds city centre. Throughout each location, every hanging bulb, white wall and neatly trimmed barista epitomises Alex’s hunger for what he passionately describes as “urban café culture” and “better coffee” across the board. “We bring real heritage and in-situ experience of the Milan Espresso Bar scene,” argues the founder of La Bottega Milanese. “We bring the public a progressive take on something that is part of our national DNA. The appetite for better coffee was clear with the arrival of Starbucks in the UK. We just decided to go one better and anticipate the demand for the real thing.”
When pressed about his company’s style, Alex cites “subtle elegance” alongside words like “classy” and “detailed” – which, given the immaculate appearance of the baristas that man the counters of his creation, feels like a fairly accurate description.
From every latte, macchiato and freshly ground bean, La Bottega Milanese is an espresso bar Leeds can be proud of. Alex’s creation is unique, well-designed and brilliantly bespoke – it is personal, creative and cultured. Simply put, La Bottega Milanese signifies everything the high street, over the past decade, has failed to be.