MYcity Series – Leeds

We all have our favourite places close to home, but what if you could go beyond your own city and see what others love about theirs? Our MYcity series gives you the inside scoop, revealing the hidden gems of each city through the eyes of our very own Offspring Community members.

Next up on our MYcity Series, Community member @dan_squire chats through what the city of Leeds means to him.


Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Dan and MyCity is Leeds. Born and raised in the best city in the UK and ‘God’s own county’ or the ‘Texas of Britain’ Yorkshire. I have been into sneakers since being a kid, but I’d say I’ve been a collector (although I don’t like that word) for about 20 years now.


What was it like growing up in Leeds?

Leeds as a kid, especially a teenager was great. There was always a good music scene in Leeds, obviously Leeds festival being on our doorstep was great but the local scene in Leeds was massive, still is to this day.


Being into football especially as a kid was great in Leeds, Euro ’96 fixtures at Elland Road and in the early 2000’s the likes of Real Madrid and A.C. Milan in the champions league.


What do you remember about fashion and culture growing up in Leeds as a young kid?

One of my first memories of being into anything fashion related was my best mate in primary school turning up on the first day of term in a pair of Air Max 96… the first-time seeing air going right to the front of the sole unit. That was it. I was into trainers from then, even though I don’t think he really cared about them himself. After that it was probably being about 14/15 years old and discovering Hip, back in the day by far one of the best independent streetwear stores in the UK. The influence that Hip had on the culture in Leeds can’t really be put into a few sentences.


Where did you hang out back then, did it spark up an interest for you? Has it changed?

As a teen it was all about football, music and skating in Leeds and that really dictated where you would hang out and who you were surrounded by. The football as much as I loved it never really influenced my style, but music and skate played a huge part. Even though I was never any good on a board.

If we were hanging out in the city centre it would often be around the Corn Exchange, home of a lot of independent stores in Leeds but mainly back then we’d be there because it housed Exit, Leeds’ best skate shop and Wisdom was just around the corner, another good skate spot. These stores and people definitely influenced my interest in that particular style, and to this day it’s not changed. I actually work for an independent brand in the Corn Exchange now and also spent time managing Hip which was the other store in Leeds which really sparked my interest in streetwear as a teen.


What’s the sneaker scene like in Leeds? How has it developed

Like most major cities these days you can walk down the high-street any time of any day and see sneakers on feet, but it wasn’t always like that. Leeds back in the day has a real community feel, you had a few spots like Exit for your Nike SB. Size? Had opened in the early 2000’s then Hip and Chimp had the tier 1 accounts for those real gems. We also had a little store called Sneakerville which was ahead of its time really for Leeds. They used to get a lot of the US or Asia exclusive Nike product and it was a tiny store hidden upstairs above another unit, a real ‘if you know, you know’ kind of spot. So, when you saw someone else with some heat on foot in the city you had that instant connection, that common interest.


What brands are people wearing on their feet up there?

Everything. Leeds has a pretty diverse sneaker scene. When you go to a local music show you might see a lot of TN’s and 95’s. The lads at the football will be in their adidas terrace style shoes, maybe some Spezials if they’re in the know. Go to Hyde Park and you’ll see a lot more skate shoes. On the high-street you’ll find more of the on-trend shoes at the minute like an adidas Samba or hit up some of the streetwear stores in Leeds and you’ll see more New balance 990/992’s and Asics Gel Kayano. We’re a pretty diverse city.


When it comes to culture and the fashion industry, how has your city developed into what it is today?

Leeds is very diverse in its people, and it’s the different communities that make Leeds what it is today. The fashion industry in Leeds has also definitely changed over the years, now it is the home of its own brands such as MKI Miyuki Zoku which started in Leeds and is still based in the city.


Culture in Leeds is very art driven, where this be music, film or TV. Whatever it is you do or you’re into there’s a space or a scene for it in Leeds.


Where do you like to shop nowadays?

As my style hasn’t really changed, neither has where you’ll find me shopping in the city. As I work in fashion myself with MKI you’ll find me in that 5 days a week and other than that I always make sure to check out what’s going on in Hip and Welcome.

What is the food like in Leeds, what are your favourite local restaurants or food spots?

Where to start??… Leeds is home to some great local spots, but I’ll keep this to the city centre. Stuzzi for Italian style tapas. Noodle house is a hidden gem with ‘roasties’ that are out of this world. Empire cafe does amazing food cooked on an open fire. Street food in Leeds such as Sweet Saeeda in Kirkgate Market or find Chez Joel for a French taco.


What is your perfect itinerary for a weekend getaway?

Well, if you’re coming to Leeds… breakfast at Mrs Athas, if you’re into sneakers you’ll spend your morning with good coffee, great food and no doubt talking trainers with the owner. Then some shopping, hit up MKI Miyuki Zoku, Hip, Welcome and Best for sure. For a snack, grab a slice from Belgrave then maybe a pint on the roof.

Explore the art gallery or the royal armouries in the afternoon for a bit of culture before dinner at Empire cafe. Then get down to Boom if there’s a show on followed by Santiago at night. If dive bars aren’t your thing, then Call Lane is a guaranteed good night out in Leeds. Shake off the hangover with an iced coffee at Sonder then Sunday in Leeds it’s all about a good roast so get to the Turk’s head (next to Whitelocks which is Leeds’ oldest pub) or Stuzzi for their porchetta roast.

Or if it’s my weekend getaway, get me to Barcelona. I need some sun!


What is your favourite hidden gem in the city and why?

Lupe’s cantina. Just outside of the city centre, the best Mexican food in the north. This place is a true gem. Doesn’t look like much from the outside but trust me, if you get the chance then you need to go. But a few others that deserve a shoutout… Shokupan, La Piola and La Bottega.


How does Leeds differ from other major cities in the UK?

Leeds is quite a compact city; you can really walk anywhere and its within ten minutes which makes Leeds a great place to explore if you’re new or visiting. There’s plenty to do, see, eat and drink and you’ll always be only a street away from the next place you’ll want to visit. You’re also never too far from some green space or countryside in Leeds so it’s easy to escape the city if you want that peace.

Is there one thing that really defines your city and makes it unique?

The people.


Our MYcity Series aims to highlight various cities within the UK, imparting knowledge about its history, culture, fashion, art, food, and everything in between. If you would like to get involved and represent your city, contact:


9 May 2024


30 April 2024