Any young artist who has lived in London will know how distant their dreams can seem. Often, the city seems hellbent on excluding its younger, less established voices from the larger artistic conversation, choosing to pay attention only to the older, more esteemed ones instead.
As such, it can be hard for young creatives to break through, whether they’re designing clothes, making music, or giving us new ways to party. But fresh-faced collective Something to Hate On wants to change that. Founded at the start of 2017, the collective is headed by a trio of guys in their early 20s comprising Dolce & Gabbana model and musician Raff Law (son of actor Jude Law), and nightlife and design impresarios Max Clarke and Dan Mould. Together, they’ve spent the past 18 months gathering a team of their most talented friends to try to reinvigorate the city and give young artists a platform to show what they’re all about.
The Something to Hate On journey started almost accidentally. Having built up a steady if hardly earth-shifting following on Instagram (Mould remembers the collective having roughly 1,000 followers at the time), the boys released a line-up of hoodies emblazoned with the Something to Hate On logo. They sold out within hours. Stories passed from fans to journalists about a young streetwear collective that was conjuring sell-out hype on Instagram almost out of nowhere. In reality, however, that wasn’t the trio’s intention. “It was literally [because] we didn’t have enough money to make any more than 20!” says Mould.
A few months later, and with a little more money in their back pocket, the group threw a party in an abandoned building on Greek Street, just around the corner from London’s Supreme store. “The building was due to get demolished in two weeks,” Mould laughs, looking back on how Something to Hate On — often abbreviated by the guys to SHO — grew out of that one night. “We had 30 or 40 artists come through, [and] by the end, there was no white space left. It was so unrefined, like a mad house party.”
“It’s really refreshing to see a load of young people all striving to produce work and express themselves in their own way,” Law chimes in, commenting on how London’s young creative renaissance is starting to spread, even if it’s still fairly underground. “It’s been a long time since there were so many great collectives, events, or just things to be positive about. People all want to achieve, but now they want to do it together.”
That spirit of open-minded collaboration is what makes SHO so interesting. While Law, Clarke, and Mould are the collective’s spearhead, the group itself is wide-reaching and wildly impressive. New members join for every showcase or streetwear drop.
An upcoming collection titled “Harmacy,” in collaboration with mental health charity MIND, exists to raise awareness about the prescription drug epidemic among young people. While the boys have dealt with the business side of things, up-and-coming designer and illustrator Will Winter has created the images, and model Sonny Hall dons the tees and sweatpants in the lookbook. “SHO brings together and exposes creatives from all walks of life,” Clarke tells me. “We offer the chance to experiment and collaborate, which is sometimes hard to come by in this city.”
I wanted to touch on that idea of collaboration, and how exclusionary art collectives can be. While SHO wants to demolish the idea that young people can’t become part of London’s art scene, now more than ever, there’s an element of privilege that stems from being comfortably able to follow a creative career path in one of the world’s most expensive cities. Many don’t have the kind of social or economic background to support it, and there are people who might instantly dismiss the legitimacy of Something to Hate On’s message based on the background of its founders. Law is, after all, the son of Jude Law and Sadie Frost.
“Our parties are made to attract the people that desire to be there,” Mould responds diplomatically when the idea of SHO being elitist crops up. “We make them as inclusive as possible. We never charge [entry]. Everything costs you something in this city and we try to get drink sponsors because it’s expensive going out. I’d never host a party that I wouldn’t attend. I’d rather just stay in.”
A fair point. While London has more than its share of cliquey creative collectives, Something to Hate On is going out of its way not to be one of them. Instead, there’s a mix of cultures and backgrounds contributing. Talent, drive, and a willingness to collaborate seem to be the most important things to the three leading the group. “Everyone is so selfish because they feel like they need to be,” Clarke says of the unnecessary hostility between competing young creatives. “Creative platforms like ours break that barrier down.”
Having announced themselves as new young leaders in London streetwear and nightlife, the next step is for SHO to champion the musicians around them. It’s here that Law takes center stage. Frustrated at the way major labels toy with the hard work of young musicians — “They take loads of your money, and if [it doesn’t work out] then they leave you in the dirt,” Mould says — the collective has decided to launch its own SHO Records.
“I set [it] up as a way to release my music the way I wanted to, and then to build a community of young musicians,” Law, who released his first single “Support Network” through the label, tells me. “No matter what genre it is, if the artist has a great work ethic and I can appreciate the time they put into their work, I want them involved.” Later this year, the label will launch its first mixtape, SHO Volume One, a collection of tracks from an array of London-based musicians. And, of course, its release will be marked with a killer party.
“We plan to start dropping [them] four times a year, with a really diverse selection of music that represents London’s youth culture as a whole — not missing anyone out,” Law says. “From working on the first [one], it’s been so brilliant seeing people meet and speak about their work. It feels like we’re building this really positive community of talent.”
Away from home, the group has become prolific with its cross-continental link-ups, too. Eager to discover what other cities are up to, Law, Clarke, and Mould have organized parties and pop-ups in Paris, New York, and Tokyo over the last 12 months. These aren’t just examples of how the group can flex the power of SHO, these events play a pivotal part in making the group bigger. Clarke hit New York and came back with a list of young people eager to collaborate on creative projects. Mould will head to L.A. this month and do the same.
At a time when London’s art scene is being overrun by poser-ish, hipster kids with an obscure idea of what creativity should look like, a collective such as Something to Hate On — diverse, proudly positive, and far from disingenuous — is mad refreshing. Cop the drops, listen to the music, and let loose at the parties. You can catch Something to Hate On’s London Fashion Week Men’s showcase on June 10.
Next up; here’s how to break up with someone in the digital age.