In 1943, British troops returned from fighting in North Africa to London’s rain-slicked streets. Dusty and battle-weary, the soldiers sought release. The caroused in the insalubrious nightspots of King Cross and Soho, where the crepe-soled desert boots they wore became known as brothel creepers.
Inspired by the shoes’ suede upper and hardwearing sole, local cobbler adapted and refined the style until they were adopted – in radically streamlined form – by emergent Teddy Boys. Channelling Edwardian dandyism while cocking a snook at the conservatism of post- Britain, the Teds were young, free and looking for a good time – an attitude reflected in the birth of rock ‘n’ roll.
The rebellious rise of punk saw creepers returns on the feet of some of the scene’s most independent – minded individual, and they stayed popular as new wave took hold. By the early 1980’s, the shoe had fallen out of favour with all but the diehard wearers. Underground in its early years adopted the Creeper as one of the British subculture styles that it would champion. Almost unwanted and barely available, especially for girls, this was a shoe that Underground would take hold of and take care of. Underground Creepers first produced in the early 1980’s and sold in our Underground store in Manchester. In 1987, we included it in our first seasonal collection for distribution internationally. It has remained in our collection for every subsequent season.
Through the years of Brit-pop when the style was still being shunned, it emerged in the early 2000s being picked up for catwalks in New York, London and Paris. By 2010, the Underground Creeper had set itself as the go to shoe for the fashion blogger generation and worn by Rihanna, Rita Ora, Beyonce and Kiko Mizuhara. Now it is the favourite of a new generation of bands from the UK and around the world.
The Original Underground Creeper – Algender since the 80’s.