Creative Living

Unified Goods


We've teamed up with progressive vintage dealer Unified Goods to create an ongoing guest space that will house a library of unique goods, curated by head honcho James Goodhead. Expertly sourced, culture defining, cult status clothing and lifestyle objects from around the globe, featuring artefacts spanning the realms of post-punk, 90's era Warp Records, the halcyon eras of skate culture, iconic Anime or Japanese Street Fashion. We paid a visit to Unified Goods' studio in London Bridge and spoke with James about culture, collecting, and the important of tangible objects.

GOODHOOD: Please describe Unified Goods in 5 words.

JAMES GOODHEAD: Unveiling, Physical, Informative, Personal, Endless

GH: How did you select the items in the Unified Goods Goodhood concession? What did you choose and why?

JG: I’ve followed Goodhood personally since the first site opened, I remember going in there and buying T-Shirts around 2007 and carried on right up to our first collab together back in 2019. Essentially I’ve been a huge fan of Goodhood for an extended period so that makes it feel really close to home. There’s also a smorgasbord of shared influences between UG and GH to make it a straight forward pleasure to cherry pick from, whether its 90’s era Warp Records, the halcyon days of Skate culture, iconic Anime or Japanese Street Fashion, its all in there.

GH: When did you first start buying music t-shirts, and how did that evolve into collecting?

JG: I started buying Music T-Shirts probably early 1994 and in all honesty the collecting has never really stopped, so that’s 3 decades straight. Started heavily with grunge and metal. You’d be happy for a minute with that shirt you just bought and then you’d see your mate at the youth club on Friday night in a new crazy design and you just had to do one better. I suppose once they start piling up, you just want more and more too, its 100% an addiction. The t-shirt climate was crazy back then, a real golden era for graphic t-shirts, something really special was happening. I literally grabbed a couple new finds for myself just last week and was frantically checking the tracking to make sure they were en route, I get very very, possessive over the ones I decide to hold onto.



GH: What was the first band/music t-shirt you got your hands on?

JG: I got my first ever band t-shirt Christmas 1993 age 13, it was at the height of Metallica’s Black Album boom and I remember being desperate to show the world I was part of the clan. My Mum and Dad probably got it from Virgin Megastore in Nottingham - that place was merch nirvana for me. The actual shirt had big front and back prints (Birth, School, Metallica, Death) and two sleeve prints too, they really went all out and maybe that’s where my obsession with multi print products started, it was also way too big for me but I still repped it on non uniform day. After that I was obsessed and saved every penny so I could get at least one T-Shirt a month.

GH: Do you still have it in your collection?

JG: Suffice to say that original shirt has since long gone, could be anywhere, but that’s part of the journey. I actually finally replaced it only last year and now I wear it to bed, that’s the level of comfort it gives me to have it on my skin. There’s a part of me that’s convinced that first lost shirt of mine is actually this recent replacement too, I mean it could be right? Gotta believe in the magic sometimes.

GH: Can you go into the merch work you do for our East London neighbours, NTS Radio?

JG: Been working with those guys for 1.5 years now, its seriously fun to develop exciting ideas and collabs together. Was a dream to work so closely with someone as iconic as Nervous Records and then new super exciting brands such as Always Do What You Should Do, it feels really varied and that anything is possible which is great. There’s also been a common thread of vintage graphic inspiration in a bunch of the in house designs we’ve done, if you look real closely you can see the connection with Unified.



GH: This year you’ve also had involvement merch wise at Marc Jacob’s Heavn store in Soho, and the Turner Contemporary in Margate. Can you go into some detail about both projects?

JG: For Marc Jacobs Heaven we’ve been sourcing objects to sit within the space to compliment the collections in their London Store on Brewer Street. They’ve done some really strong product this last year and we share a lot of late 90’s/Early Y2K touch points such as Deftones, Donnie Darko and Sofia Coppola’s films so it makes complete sense. Hopefully we’re doing the same with their LA door next year too which is exciting. For the Turner Contemporary we worked together closely to curate a considered list of local and exciting brands within the space, to really amplify the feeling of community and all the incredible creative work that’s being done in Margate. We also worked with Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey on the galleries first foray into merch (for his group show exhibition this year) which was a big life box ticked for me personally - I’ve been such a devoted fan of his work for so many years.

GH: What made you establish Unified Goods back in 2018?

JG: After like 16 years I was pretty desperate to get out of salaried retail work, even though I’d worked my way up from a family run vintage store in Nottingham to running Menswear for Dior in London. I knew I had more to give and say in the world. I just felt nobody was taking me seriously enough with my ideas. So being at the helm of my own business was the only realistic way to achieve this. There were some really key people involved on that journey too,  to get where I am now and I’m always eternally grateful for that. I guess essentially though, to work adjacent to these captivating cultural objects and oddities everyday and provide access to them for the world, to share my take on it all, is an incredible privilege.

GH: We’re in a real digital swamp - we can download media instantly, access music the second its uploaded to a streaming platform. Why is a tangible object still so desirable to you?

JG: Right now feels like the last frontier of the cultural media object, especially in music and film. What’s totally crazy to me is that Youth Culture is only really 70 years old, its madly young still given the amount of time we’ve been on the planet, it just feels to me like an incredibly pivotal moment in time, right up there with the Renaissance. It’s interesting to me that the media tend to observe everything in decades so much, for me its all one big exceptional youth driven, creative moment. When we come out of this, and we probably will somehow, then these objects are all gonna be in museums, 100%. We’re just getting in there early.



GH: What item do you have currently have in the Unified Goods studio that in your opinion, is the most interesting?

JG: Most interesting due to how it was sourced maybe, was the best street find of Unified’s lifespan, finding a complete, legit Ligne Roset Corner Sofa set + Poof on the street in Islington a few months back. Just casually pushing my kids around the corner to get home and there it was, stacked high all wrapped in plastic with the iconic Ligne Roset logo staring at me through the London rain. I really believe I was led to it. I got the kids home and then it clicked that I had to salvage these things but couldn’t leave the house because my wife was out of town on business. So I put a vintage SOS out on the Unified Instagram and I literally got messages from people all over the world, it was really invigorating seeing people’s reactions to the find. Not sure we’ve ever had so many DM’s. Someone from NYC was like “go get it now, ill buy it and ship it to the States for me” It was Pandemonium. In the end Alexis from Hot Chip (who’s a huge collector too) and his partner came by and helped me get it safely in the house, was a proper foggy London night too nobody in sight, felt like the most Dickensian/Sherlock moment ever. Anyway, I ended up keeping the poof for the Unified studio and Alexis has the corner set in his studio, we shared the winnings.

GH: In 10 or 15 years time from now, what do you think you’ll be collecting from the early 2020s?

JG: Really good question, I mean we’re already referencing, sourcing and making available things from the last 10 years. Be it Frank Ocean, A24, Death Grips if it makes sense it goes in our canon. I made a conscious decision a while ago that it seemed a bit limiting, elitist maybe to be so picky about the ceiling of “vintage”. When UG started it was like “nothing after 1999, no way”. So yes we’ve widened the parameters and it feels much more inclusive, more free and in doing so we can operate with a wider snapshot of culture to share with everyone, it just feels right.

GH: What does a day in the life look like?

JG: Wake up around 6am, me eldest Lucky jumps into bed with me and my wife Charlene and then Story (our youngest) starts chatting nonsense from upstairs - there’s really no going back from there. Non Stop Breakfast, School and Nursery Run madness. I then get back home and straight back outside and hit a 6k run every morning, get some tunes on and just a minute to myself, if I don’t get out there I’m just on terrible form and my day will just not be as good, I’ve come to terms with that. I'll then head to the Unified Goods Studio in Borough where we’ve been since day dot, take in an obligatory Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market for a booster en route. Soon as I get in I put a VHS on our old Sony Trinitron Monitor maybe Paris, Texas or an old Sonic Youth Doc and it just runs in the background all day its madly comforting somehow. I normally listen to meditative music to work to, early Philip Glass, Eno or Allen Ginsberg spoken word maybe. For Morning work I like to do some sourcing and good chance there will be a collab call, an NTS merch catchup or Noah will pop by to do fulfilment and get the items ready to go online that evening. For lunch I usually head out briefly and get Sushi, afternoon is more of the same really, I’m not an obsessive planner but I do have a daily to do list - else im in trouble. I really love working in the studio it feels like a real home away from home and I’ve worked pretty hard to get it where it is now, just been redecorated, lots of new pictures in frames and plants and scents, a big sanctuary vibe just me and all these objects - I love watching them come and go. I’ll wrap around 5pm and go and see the boys at home for their dinner, bath and bed. Probably my favourite part of the day is reading the two lads a kids book about a cultural icon such as Basquiat or Bowie maybe - always nice to have a bit of creative education before bed and sometimes I even learn something myself which is nice. If we’re staying in it’ll be a nice dinner with Charlene (I’m lucky, she’s a killer cook), maybe 30 mins of TV max, or a record, read for 10 mins and bed for 10pm. If we’re out it’s maybe a local dinner at Westerns Laundry or Xian Impressions with friends. Sometimes I then get back home and do some more sourcing into the wee hours I tend to get better stuff late at night for some reason, it’s an obsession I’m working on it, promise…



GH: What made you start your Margate-based running club?

JG: I ran with an amazing Brooklyn community club whilst living in New York in 2022 called Rage and Release and it was so life affirming, running as a community, that I can say it’s probably one of the single most impactful moments I’ve ever had in my life. Pacing thru Prospect Park, watching the Sunset over Manhattan with a Jazz band playing on the street corner, everyone chatting and spurring each other on. Pure Beauty. I came back to Margate and put the word out and soon enough we got 3 of us together to launch something legit. We used Forts Coffee (the best coffee joint in town) as our acting ‘clubhouse’ every Thursday night after an often glorious 6k by the sea. Margate has the best sunsets. We’ve just been going a year and now hitting 25-40 people a session, developed our own merch line and partnered with 2 global running brands, it’s been one of the highlights of the year for me watching it grow. Love all those guys.

GH: Anything exciting in the works you can share with us?

JG: 2024 is going to be lively, got some really exciting projects coming up but the big news is our upcoming filmed Podcast ‘Six Things’ which launches in Feb hosted by Third Man Records and produced by Ralph. We’re announcing it any minute now and unveiling our first guest, really hyped to get going but gagging for a break come December, it's been a mad one…